Sunday, November 8, 2020, State Farm Stadium, Glendale, Arizona, 4:25 p.m. ET
Dolphins at Cardinals Betting Preview: Cardinals (-5.5/-106), Dolphins (+5.5/-114)
A rough start for Tua Tagovailoa turned out to be a win for the Dolphins in Week 8. Tagovailoa was hit and fumbled as the Dolphins fell behind the Rams last week, but the Miami defense helped keep Los Angeles and Jared Goff off balance. Miami forced four turnovers and overcame a nondescript opening outing from Tagovailoa, the fifth overall pick in the 2020 draft.
Tagovailoa won his debut while being asked to limit the damage in a vanilla game plan that more than did the trick. The Dolphins (4-3) might need more this week as the Cardinals turn loose their blitz packages to create havoc. Tagovailoa completed 12 of 23 passes for 93 yards and a touchdown in a 28-17 victory over the Rams, and rarely pushed the ball downfield.
He’ll be contending with a few Swiss Army-knife role players for the Cardinals, who tricked MVP frontrunner Russell Wilson into a couple of guess throws that wound up in the hands of Arizona’s defense. Defensive coordinator Vance Joseph has alternated coverage and attack mode against young quarterbacks in the past and didn’t send extra bodies at Wilson until overtime. The Cardinals have seven takeaways in the past two games.
A return from the bye week started on a sour note for the Cardinals with the announcement on Monday from coach Kliff Kingsbury that the team is dealing with a COVID-19 challenge.
But Kyler Murray, who can certainly relate to Tagovailoa’s predicament, is ready to roll and could get Kenyan Drake back as soon as Sunday. Indications are Drake could miss Week 9 with an ankle issue, but he’s pushing to play. Drake has 512 rushing yards with four touchdowns and is averaging 4.3 yards per carry, but he was hurt in Week 7. Without him, the Cardinals would turn to Chase Edmonds as the lead ballcarrier.
But Murray’s mobility is also a plus, and the Dolphins have had their struggles against mobile quarterbacks. Arizona leads the NFL with 419 yards per game because of his consistent pattern of making the right decision. The slim edge for the visitors is in the secondary, where Miami stocked up on cornerbacks in free agency and the draft for matchups such as this one vs. DeAndre Hopkins and Larry Fitzgerald.
Dolphins at Cardinals Betting Pick for Week 9
Murray is playing with the maturity and poise of a grizzled veteran in Year Two while Tagovailoa being asked to win against a playoff-caliber opponent in Game Two as a starter sets up as a mismatch. The Dolphins cover-zero defense might be good for a takeaway or two, but the inability to generate points based on the refusal to take some risks makes this a failed mission for Miami.
Dolphins at Cardinals Betting Pick:
Cardinals 25, Dolphins 16
Dolphins at Cardinals at Best Bet for Week 9
The all-out effort to preserve Tagovailoa is evident, and the rookie won’t likely be turned loose in a road game against an increasingly rabid defense. Arizona should be in control from start to finish.
Dolphins at Cardinals Best Bet: UNDER 47.5 total points (-110)