In what has become a rarity over the last few years, NFL fans get to see a quality matchup on Monday Night Football as the Dolphins travel to New Orleans to take on the Saints.

Miami Dolphins (3-0) at New Orleans Saints (3-0)
8:30 pm ET on ESPN
Mike Tirico (play by play), Jon Gruden (ball washer), Lisa Salters (sideline eye candy)
Westwood One Radio: Kevin Harlan, Dan Fouts, Darren Sharper
Sirius: 88 (WW1), 92 (Dolphins), 86 (Saints)
XM: 88 (WW1), 225 (Dolphins), 86 (Saints)
Line: Saints -6½; over/under 47½

 

The Saints are simply so difficult to defeat at home in the dome, it’s tough to pick against them here – especially with their passionate crowd that will be even more fired up for a nationally televised night game. The New Orleans offense (15th in points scored, with 23.3; 20th in Red Zone touchdowns, with 4) has not been as explosive as in previous seasons but more importantly their defense is vastly improved (28.4 ppg in 2012; 12.7 ppg this year). Miami is limping into New Orleans with injuries to DE Cameron Wake (knee), DT Paul Soliai (knee), LB Koa Misi (shoulder) and CB Dimitri Patterson (groin) all ailing, which truly minimizes their chances for a victory. Without Wake and Soliai Miami will be challenged to effectively get pressure on Drew Brees, which is typically disastrous for opposing defenses. The New Orleans offense however has uncharacteristically struggled with pass protection; after being sacked just 26 times last season, Brees has already been sacked ten times in just three games this year, part of what has caused the drop in offensive production.


NFL Week 4 wraps up with the Saints and Dolphins meeting Monday night in a battle of undefeated teams

Offensively the addition of Lamar Miller has not ignited the running game quite as much as had been hoped (the Dolphins rank 26th with 3.2 yards per carry and are 28th with 70 yards rushing per game), and although QB Ryan Tannehill has stepped up and made some big plays he has also fumbled the ball five times already this season. Big money WR Mike Wallace has been inconsistent (two games with a total of 37 yards receiving; one game with 9 receptions for 115 yards and a TD), but WR Brian Hartline (18 receptions, 238 yards, 2 TD) and TE Charles Clay (14 receptions, 203 yards) have been solid. The Miami defense has struggled against the run (4.7 yards per carry) and with their tackling in general thus far this season; that won’t cut it against the Saints’ offense.

 

Stats

Penalty Yards per Game: Miami 30.0 (2nd); New Orleans 40.7 (8th)
Opponent Penalty Yards per Game: Miami 43.0 (28th); New Orleans 51.7 (19th)
Turnover Differential: both teams are +2 (T-9th)
DVOA: Miami 17.3% (8th); New Orleans 21.1% (5th)

Miami Offense
Points: 24.7 (11th)
Yards: 319 (26th)
Giveaways: 4 (T-6th)
DVOA: 10.3% (8th)
Yards per Point: 12.9 (5th)
Red Zone TD: 87.5% (1st)
Third Down Conversion: 50.0% (3rd)
Starting Field Position: 28.1 (9th)
Net Yards per Punt: 44.5 (25th)

Rushing Yards per Game: 70.3 (28th)
Rushing Yards per Carry: 3.2 (26th)

Passing Yards per Game: 249 (14th)
Yards per Attempt: 7.7 (11th)
Yards per Completion: 10.5 (18th)
Completion Percentage: 66.4% (10th)
Passer Rating: 94.3 (9th)
Interceptions: 2 (T-8th)
Sacked: 14 (T-30th)
Yards Lost on Sacks: 80 (30th)
Completions per Game: 23.7 (T-13th)
Incomplete Passes per Game: 12.0 (T-9th)

New Orleans Offense
Points: 23.3 (T-15th)
Yards: 404 (6th)
Giveaways: 4 (T-6th)
DVOA: 4.3% (15th)
Yards per Point: 17.3 (21st)
Red Zone TD: 33.3% (31st)
Third Down Conversion: 45.0% (7th)
Starting Field Position: 27.6 (13th)
Net Yards per Punt: 39.6 (7th)

Rushing Yards per Game: 85.7 (24th)
Rushing Yards per Carry: 3.5 (24th)

Passing Yards per Game: 319 (4th)
Yards per Attempt: 8.0 (6th)
Yards per Completion: 11.8 (9th)
Completion Percentage: 63.8% (13th)
Passer Rating: 91.4 (15th)
Interceptions: 4 (T-22nd)
Sacked: 10 (T-21st)
Yards Lost on Sacks: 65 (22nd)
Completions per Game: 27.0 (T-5th)
Incomplete Passes per Game: 15.3 (22nd)

Miami Defense
Points: 17.7 (8th)
Yards: 372 (21st)
Takeaways: 6 (T-9th)
DVOA: 0.0% (18th)
Yards per Point: 21.1 (7th)
Red Zone TD: 45.5% (11th)
Third Down Conversion: 32.5% (8th)
Starting Field Position: 26.5 (15th)
Net Yards per Punt: 45.1 (5th)

Rushing Yards per Game: 108.7 (18th)
Rushing Yards per Carry: 4.7 (27th)

Passing Yards per Game: 263 (21st)
Yards per Attempt: 5.9 (11th)
Yards per Completion: 10.7 (14th)
Completion Percentage: 55.2% (7th)
Passer Rating: 68.7 (5th)
Interceptions: 5 (T-3rd)
Sacks: 9 (T-10th)
Yards Lost on Sacks: 51 (T-18th)
Completions per Game: 24.7 (T-20th)
Incompletions per Game: 20.0 (1st)

New Orleans Defense
Points: 12.7 (5th)
Yards: 296 (4th)
Takeaways: 6 (T-9th)
DVOA: -15.9% (5th)
Yards per Point: 23.3 (5th)
Red Zone TD: 57.1% (16th)
Third Down Conversion: 35.1% (13th)
Starting Field Position: 25.1 (12th)
Net Yards per Punt: 44.1 (9th)

Rushing Yards per Game: 111.3 (20th)
Rushing Yards per Carry: 5.3 (31st)

Passing Yards per Game: 184 (4th)
Yards per Attempt: 5.8 (8th)
Yards per Completion: 10.6 (12th)
Completion Percentage: 54.7% (5th)
Passer Rating: 67.7 (4th)
Interceptions: 4 (T-7th)
Sacks: 8 (T-16th)
Yards Lost on Sacks: 63 (T-10th)
Completions per Game: 17.3 (4th)
Incompletions per Game: 14.3 (T-13th)

 

Pick • Saints 31, Dolphins 17
Saints -6½ (two units)
Over 47½

 

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