It’s week three of the NFL season and kicking it off will be the Florida interstate battle of the (1-1) Jacksonville Jaguars and (0-2) Miami Dolphins (8.20pm ET Thursday on NFL Network).
Both are in the midst of seasons of low expectations and find themselves in a stage of rebuilding. This tends to mean teams with not a lot of wins, but it also means squads with players to watch for. If they hope to pick up the win on Thursday night, they will need some of their building blocks of the future, to be building blocks of the present.
Read on for our Miami Dolphins vs Jacksonville Jaguars predictions, picks and full NFL preview.
The Legend Becomes the Reality
The legend of Gardner Minshew grew last year when the Jacksonville rookie become almost a folk hero, for any number of reasons. Now, that folk hero is showing that he also is a very talented QB. As a rookie, Minshew came in to replace the injured Nick Foles and played well enough that when Foles began to struggle, the Jaguars popped Minshew back in the starting role. Minshew enjoyed a strong year last year and in the offseason, with Foles shipped out to the Chicago Bears, Minshew entered his first season as the starter.
And while two games is a small sample size, the 24-year-old QB has looked great so far. In game one, Minshew was nearly perfect. He threw 20 passes, completing 19 of them. Add in three touchdowns and Minshew had done something no other player ever had. Minshew played very well in game two as well, hitting over 300 yards passing and three touchdowns. He also had two interceptions during the Jaguars’ tough to swallow 30-33 loss to the Tennessee Titans. Minshew is seeming like he can be a good NFL quarterback no doubt and he could be a big piece of their rebuild. Against the Dolphins, Jaguars fans should like the matchup as Miami doesn’t bring much to the table defensively. Minshew has a great opportunity to have a great game and for Jacksonville, that’s the key from their young signal-caller.
Getting Offense & Defense on Same Page
The Dolphins have a problem this year. In games where their defense has played well, their offense has struggled with turnovers and four-and-outs. In games where the offense has looked crisp, their defense has fallen apart allowing big plays. It is for this reason that the Dolphins, despite playing well this year against two playoff contenders, are 0-2 against the Buffalo Bills and New England Patriots.
Part of this has been Ryan Fitzpatrick’s inconsistency. Fitzpatrick is not the future of the Dolphins, the rookie Tua Tagovailoa is. The Dolphins determined that Tua would stay on the bench to start the season in favor of the journeyman veteran, Fitzpatrick. Thus far, Fitzpatrick hasn’t quite made that decision look favorable. It also hasn’t made it look unfavorable, specifically after the gem he put in last week. Fitzpatrick’s efforts weren’t rewarded as the defense laid the proverbial egg. In game one, it was Fitzpatrick’s three interceptions that sunk what otherwise was a decent defensive effort.
It can’t be enough for the Dolphins to play 50/50 games like that because they aren’t good enough on either side to make up for the other’s shortcomings. Miami will need both their units to get on the same page sooner rather than later if they hope to salvage this season. It won’t matter if Tua or Fitzpatrick is under center if the defense can’t hold their own.
Our Preview’s Miami Dolphins vs Jacksonville Jaguars Predictions & Picks Final Verdict
As mentioned in this preview, both the Jaguars and Dolphins are in various stages of rebuilding. In that regard, it is somewhat of an interesting choice that this game is receiving national televised coverage. Florida isn’t exactly the NFL’s biggest market. As such, Jacksonville and Miami will look to pick up the win in this interstate battle. Not just because the game is under the Thursday Night lights but also to show the other who is closer to the beginning of the rebuild and which team is closer to the end.
Miami and Jacksonville will look to prove that they are in a better position with a win on Thursday night. The Jaguars still have a chance at the playoffs in the AFC South so a win will be huge for Jacksonville and they should get it.
So, in terms of having a wager at one of the trustworthy bookies’ websites, these are our Miami Dolphins vs Jacksonville Jaguars predictions:
- Back the Jaguars as Minshew should continue his rise. Bet Jacksonville -3pts @ best odds of -103 with Bookmaker. It is -105 with Bovada and Intertops.
- As for the total, neither of these teams is particularly lockdown on offense or defense. The total is set at 48 points and our pick is for the final to be under 48 @ best odds of -115 with Bovada, Bookmaker or Intertops.
Marilee writes on NFL, MLB, NBA & tennis for USA Betting. Another area of her sporting journalistic expertise is pro wrestling. A native of Philadelphia and a big Eagles fan, she has been a sports writer for many major websites including Bleacher Report and Rant Sports. She started her journalistic career early, as sports editor for her college newspaper.