By HCR Staff | September 24, 2020
Brian Flores and his Dolphin team visit the Jaguars tonight in an early must-win game. A loss would leave the Dolphins 0-3, and while we don’t see any AFC East team running away with the division, 0-3 is certainly a tough mental hole to climb out of.
The Dolphins haven’t played badly early season; yes, they’ve made mistakes, but nothing we would call egregious. Their two losses happened to come against divisional foes, the Patriots and Bills, and both opponents have rugged defenses. They were physical games – most divisional games are – but the Dolphins were in both until the end.
The Jaguars have played well too, and have surprised observers with their tenacity. It’s a young team, but one that appears far more cohesive. And head coach Doug Marrone simply looks more relaxed. He’s out from under the Tom Coughlin shadow and he clearly is the person in charge now.
In this matchup, we expect Dolphins QB Ryan Fitzpatrick to play exceptionally well. The Jaguars don’t mix it up much on defense, preferring instead to rely on speed and athleticism. While they have young promising players in DE Josh Allen, DT Taven Bryan and LB Myles Jack, they’re still far from where they hope to be. Fitzpatrick has had flashes in weeks 1 and 2 – both good and bad – but last week’s effective 4th quarter drive to pull the Dolphins ahead of the Bills showed us the rust is coming off his 2020 season.
Finally, while the Dolphins are the road team, it’s obviously a short trip without any time zone or turf change. Flores, based on our prior HCR ratings, has been a slightly superior game manager than Marrone as well.
Consensus lines have the Dolphins +3. We like that, but we also think the Dolphins win outright.
Conclusion: Miami Dolphins 27 – Jacksonville Jaguars 24.