Raiders try to stay alive against Dolphins

LEFT: Salvon Ahmed #26 of the Miami Dolphins runs with the ball against the Los Angeles Chargers at Hard Rock Stadium on November 15, 2020 in Miami Gardens, Florida. (Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images) RIGHT: Quarterback Marcus Mariota #8 of the Las V

With a tiebreaker in hand over the Baltimore Ravens, the Miami Dolphins are two wins away from their first playoff berth since 2016.

Ahead of schedule in their rebuilding process, the Dolphins will again go with quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, who will be making his eighth start of the year as the Dolphins try to hold off the Ravens with wins this week and against the AFC East champion Bills in Buffalo next week.

Despite some success earlier this season, the Las Vegas Raiders have struggled over the last few weeks and are clinging to the slimmest of playoff hopes. For Jon Gruden’s squad to reach the playoffs for the first time since 2016, they’ll need two wins, two Miami losses and two more by Baltimore to reach the tournament.

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The sports betting information

On Sportsbook, the Dolphins are 3-point road favorites with a money line of -154. (A $154 bet would pay out $100.) The Raiders are +135 (a $100 bet pays $135) with the over-under of 47 ½ points.  Against the number this year, the Dolphins are 11-3, which could be a good sign against a Raiders franchise that has lost two in a row after a last second win over the hapless New York Jets. The Raiders at 7-7 may just be desperate enough to preserve a playoff spot to create havoc for the Dolphins.

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The history

The Dolphins have owned the Raiders in recent years as they have won 9-of-11 including a 28-20 win in Miami early in the 2018 season. The Raiders still maintain a 20-18-1 in all meetings but the two are 17-17-1 in regular season contests.

The storylines to watch

A week ago, the Dolphins leaned heavily on running back Salvon Ahmed, who rushed for 122 of the Dolphins 25 yards via the ground in a 22-12 win over the Patriots. Ahmed, fresh off missing three games due to a shoulder injury, saw the ball more as Myles Gaskin, who leads the team with 477 yards, remained out due to Covid-19 protocol as of Monday night. With Gaskin’s status unknown and the receiving corps limited at best - the top three targets in DeVante Parker, Jakeem Grant and Mike Gesicki are all questionable to play- the production that the Dolphins can get from Ahmed this week could be huge.

The Raiders meanwhile are now facing a fanbase eager to change quarterbacks after Marcus Mariota threw for 226 yards and a touchdown and ran for another 88 yards and a score in place of Derek Carr, who left last week’s loss to the Chargers with a groin injury. The former first round pick of the Titans will most likely start and now in his fifth seasons, may very well be auditioning for a starting position either with Las Vegas or someone else.

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