It’s time to reveal my prediction for Monday night’s game between the Miami Dolphins and Tampa Bay Buccaneers. I’ve included picks from experts in the media as well, and I encourage each reader to post their prediction for the game in the comments section.
ESPN: 10 of 13 picked Buccaneers
NFL Playbook: 2 of 3 picked Dolphins
CBS Sports: 6 of 8 picked Buccaneers
Fox Sports: 4 of 4 picked Dolphins
I don’t think there’s any doubt about who the better team is heading into Monday night’s game. The Dolphins are a .500 team with impressive wins over the Indianapolis Colts and Cincinnati Bengals. The Buccaneers, meanwhile, remain win-less halfway through the season and have had a tumultuous year at the game’s most important position which has led to rookie Mike Glennon taking over under center.
But the Dolphins are far from an overwhelming favorite in this game. One could even argue that they’ve become the underdog considering the majority of “experts” are picking Tampa Bay to get its first win of the season.
Many are undoubtedly expecting a locker room controversy that has attracted negative national attention to tear the Dolphins apart. It could very well lead to the demise of head coach Joe Philbin and GM Jeff Ireland, but on the field Miami appears to be a united team.
With an “us vs. the world” mentality I don’t see the Dolphins overlooking the Buccaneers, despite Tampa Bay being the only team in the NFL yet to win a game. And I think that aspect is working in the Dolphins’ favor the most. Any chance that they were gong to take the Buccaneers lightly or play down to their competition went out the window when numerous pundits questioned the team’s leadership structure in light of the Jonathan Martin/Richie Incognito fiasco.
I’m expecting the Dolphins to play hungry. I’m expecting the Dolphins to play angry. And I’m expecting them to play that way for 60 minutes.
Looking beyond the emotional element of this game, the Dolphins are just clearly the better team. Tampa Bay is capable of playing well, which was on display when it jumped out to a 21-0 lead on the Seattle Seahawks in Week 9.
The Buccaneers’ inexperience at the quarterback position and a defense that has some talent but also some gaping holes, however, have been the biggest reasons why they’ve lost every game. I see both factors playing a large role on Monday night, with Glennon struggling to deal with the Dolphins’ pressure and solid coverage while Ryan Tannehill and Miami’s offense put together a few impressive drives.
At the end of the night, the Dolphins will be 5-4 and tied with the New York Jets for the AFC’s final playoff spot.
THE PICK: Miami 24, Tampa Bay 13