The Miami Dolphins and Jacksonville Jaguars have just one win between them heading into Week Three of the NFL season but the Florida-based pair should be able to put on an entertaining contest on Thursday night.
Jacksonville have already exceeded the pre-season expectations of many people by getting a win on the board in the opening game against fancied Indianapolis, quickly putting paid to the notion that they were candidates to go winless all season.
And while Miami are 0-2 and joint-bottom of the AFC East, they have been more competitive than some expected in losing to New England and Buffalo in their first two games.
The Jaguars are 2.5-point handicap favourites as they bid to secure their second success of the season at TIAA Bank Field.
Jaguars Look More Competitive Than Expected After Losses
Jacksonville appeared candidates to struggle after allowing running back Leonard Fournette to leave and trading away some of their most talented players, with defensive end Yannick Ngakoue and safety Ronnie Harrison departing this summer.
But they defied the odds as heavy home underdogs to beat Indianapolis 27-20. That game also suggested they may not miss Fournette as much as expected as undrafted rookie running back James Robinson made a strong first impression with 62 rushing yards and he added 102 more and a touchdown against Tennessee.
With maverick quarterback Gardner Minshew still able to look for talented wide receiver DJ Chark, the Jaguars were able to outgain the Titans by 480 yards to 354 despite their narrow defeat.
Dolphins Could Appreciate Easier Challenge in Third Game
Miami are 0-2 – and only eight of the last 99 teams to lose their first two games in the NFL have reached the playoffs – but it’s no surprise that bookmakers give them a chance of getting their first win when they make the relatively short trip to Jacksonville.
The Dolphins have already faced New England, the team who have won the AFC East for the last 11 seasons, and Buffalo, who are quietly fancied by many to end the Patriots’ streak this season.
Stopping the run has to be a major concern for Miami head coach Brian Flores, who has won only five of his first 18 games in charge of the Dolphins. New England recorded 217 rushing yards against them and while Buffalo did most of their damage through the air, they were still gaining 4.5 yards per carry when they ran.
Running back Jordan Howard has scored a touchdown in both his games for Miami since joining from Philadelphia but Myles Gaskin and Matt Breida both had more carries against the Bills.
High-Scoring Game is Expected
While both teams have turned in performances better than many expected, neither side have shown much in terms of defensive ability, with Buffalo racking up 524 yards on offence against Miami last week while the Jaguars were playing their part in a 63-point shootout.
Over 48 points is on offer at
50/51 and that looks the way to go with gunslinging quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick of Miami set for a duel with the home side’s Minshew.
Both teams should be able to keep the ball moving and a high total is likely.
*All odds correct at time of writing