NFL Thursday Night Football: Dolphins/Jaguars Preview

by Alec McMordie

Week 3 of the NFL season kicks off on Thursday between two teams looking to rebound from losses on Sunday. 

Miami fell to 0-2 this season after losing at home to Buffalo by a 31-28 score. The Dolphins did cover the +5.5 point spread as the underdog in that game. They were let down by their defense that gave up 524 yards to the Bills with 413 yards of those yards in the air. 

After losing in the opening week to the New England Patriots by a 21-11 score, not only is second-year Brian Flores’ team 0-2 to start the season but both of those losses are to AFC East rivals. 

The pressure will be amping up for Flores to give the keys to the Dolphins’ offense over to Tua Tagovailoa sooner rather than later. Joe Burrow looks like a veteran already for the Cincinnati Bengals and Justin Herbert appears more than ready to take the starting quarterback job for the Los Angeles Chargers. Ryan Fitzpatrick has been inconsistent this season as the Miami quarterback. He threw for only 191 yards against the Patriots with three interceptions. However, the veteran responded on Sunday by completing 31 of his 47 passes for 328 yards with two touchdown passes and no interceptions. It is hard to decipher which version of Fitzmagic will show up on Thursday night. Tagovailoa will be waiting in the wings.

Jacksonville comes off a narrow 33-30 loss at Tennessee where they were 7-point underdogs on Sunday. The Jaguars outgained the Titans by +126 yards but were held back by a -2 turnover margin due to two Gardner Minshew interceptions. 

Minshew has been one of the surprises of the league this season after his masterfully efficient 19 of 20 passing effort in Week 1 to lead the Jaguars to a 27-20 victory at Indianapolis. Through the first two games of the season, Minshew has completed 49 of 65 passes for a 75.3% completion percentage. He has thrown for 512 yards with six touchdown passes and just those two interceptions last week. 

The other surprise is in the Jacksonville backfield where it has become apparent why the team released Leonard Fournette with the emergence of undrafted rookie James Robinson. The former Illinois State running back rushed for 102 yards in 16 carries last week. Robinson has tallied 164 rushing yards so far this season on 32 carries. 

Not many people would have expected the Jaguars to be tied with the Kansas City Chiefs after two weeks with a 28.5 points per game scoring average. Hosting the Dolphins is enticing for them this week considering that the Miami defense is giving up 164 rushing yards per game this season. They are also allowing 10.24 yards per pass attempt which is the highest in the league. However, the Jags may be without Minshew’s favorite target in wide receiver D.J. Chark who is listed as questionable with a chest injury. 

BookMaker has Jacksonville as a 3-point home favorite with the total set at 48.  The Jaguars are allowed to seat fans up to 25% of stadium capacity given the state regulations in Florida. This should result in a crowd of 15,000 to 20,000 for this game. This game will broadcast on the NFL Network with kickoff slated for 8:20 PM ET on Thursday. 

All photographic images used for editorial content have been licensed from the Associated Press.

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