Free NFL Pick: Detroit at Miami 12-26-2010

December 25, 2010

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Detroit Lions at Miami Dolphins

Sunday December 26th, 2010 1:00 PM EST

Line: Miami -4

Overview:

The Detroit Lions have come away with two huge upsets in the past two weeks. While they are not a juggernaut football team by any means, they are playing much better of late. Beating the Bucs on the road last week is a huge confidence boost going into this week’s game. Finishing the season strong could hurt their draft status, but would give them a sense of improvement going forward.

The Miami Dolphins stumble into this game after dropping a home game against the Buffalo Bills last week. The Dolphins are no longer in the playoff hunt, but their season ticket holders who have only seen one win at home this season have to be the concern of the organization. Having a team that is great on the road and miserable at home is bad for the fan experience. It’s a problem that has plagued the Dolphins this season and needs to be addressed heading into next season.

Keys to the Game:

  • How good/bad can Chad Henne be? Although the Dolphins are trying to be a complete offense, they simply aren’t. Henne has looked average at best over the past few weeks and has turned Brandon Marshall into a slightly above average receiving threat. The Dolphins have a solid offensive line and a good running back tandem. If they revert to their 2009 offense and run the ball, they are going to have the best chance at winning. The quarterback situation needs to be addressed, though Henne cannot be faulted for the Dolphins temporarily ignoring the quarterback position in the off-season.
  • Ndamukong Suh didn’t record a sack last week, but he still made his presence felt recording two quarterback hits last Sunday. He faces a Dolphins offensive line who has the strength of their offense on the outside of their line. If Suh can take advantage of the Dolphins’ interior line, Suh is on the longest streak of his career without a sack, but he should be able to break that streak in the near future, as he is still pressuring the quarterback on  a consistent basis.

Key Matchup

Calvin Johnson Vs. Vontae Davis

  • Calvin Johnson had ten catches on only twelve targets for 152 yards last week. He has the potential to completely take over and dominate a football given his combination of size, speed and hands. If Johnson is ever left in single coverage and the opposition does not have Darrelle Revis, the edge automatically goes to Johnson. Imagine what would happen if he actually had a legitimate quarterback threat for an entire year.
  • Vontae Davis could be one of the most underrated cornerbacks in the league. He is fast enough to stay with Johnson and athletic enough to defend him regularly. While Johnson dominates him in the size department, Davis isn’t going to roll over and allow Johnson to go for 150 yards again. He will also be seeing safety help on a consistent basis.

Wrap Up:

The Lions are playing well. They have won by playing outstanding defense against the Packers and in an offensive shootout last week. They are on the orad, but the Dolphins are miserable at home this season. The Dolphins are struggling and the team is in disarray. The Lions might not win this one outright, but they should be able to cover in a narrow loss.

Free NFL Pick: Detroit +4


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