Dolphins quarterback Jay Cutler (ribs) is expected to return after a one-game absence, according to coach Adam Gase. Cutler’s return might not spark what Gase called “the worst offense in football.” Cutler has thrown for seven touchdowns with five interceptions and a 78.8 passer rating that ranks 28th in the NFL. The Raiders’ Derek Carr also has issues with the offense.
The Dolphins traded their top running back, Jay Ajayi, to the Eagles on Tuesday. Kenyan Drake and Damien Williams are expected to carry the load. Drake’s speed is capable of providing big plays. The Raiders get Marshawn Lynch back after a one-game suspension. They missed his ball security a week ago.
On paper, the Raiders should win the receiver matchup every week. But Amari Cooper disappeared again last week. Cooper and Michael Crabtree need to step up to ignite the Raiders’ lackluster offense. The Dolphins’ Jarvis Landry made it through the trade deadline without being moved. Landry and Kenny Stills provide speed. DeVante Parker is a big-body target for Cutler.
The Dolphins’ offensive line might be to blame for the decision to trade Ajayi. The bruising back rarely saw openings for big gains. The Raiders’ once stout offensive line continues to underperform.
Miami’s fierce defensive line is led by Ndamukong Suh and Cameron Wake. Suh is finally earning his massive contract, and Wake is back to his dominant self. The same old story for the Raiders’ defensive line. It’s Khalil Mack and others. Oakland hardly applied pressure on Tyrod Taylor in a Week 8 loss.
The Dolphins’ Kiko Alonso won’t be suspended after his vicious hit on Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco. Alonso is joined by Rey Maualuga and Lawrence Timmons. Miami is ranked sixth in rushing defense, allowing 95.4 yards per game. The Dolphins are fifth in total defense.
The Dolphins don’t have the stars in the secondary, but the no-name cast is getting the job done. Miami is ranked seventh against the pass, allowing 211 passing yards per game. The Raiders’ banged-up secondary is ranked 24th against the pass (237 yards per game) and has yet to record an interception through eight games.
The Raiders’ Cordarrelle Patterson is arguably the best kick returner in the NFL. The Dolphins have Jakeem Grant as their kickoff and punt returner.
The Dolphins have a five-game winning streak against the Raiders. The last time the Raiders beat the Dolphins was in 2007. Miami and Oakland haven’t met since 2014.
Micah Roberts (Sportsline.com): Dolphins 16, Raiders 13 — Who is the team with the winning record here? By the way the public has been betting it, you would think it was the Raiders (3-5), but it’s the Dolphins (4-3). Sharp money even laid minus-2½ with Oakland to push the number to minus-3. The good news for Oakland bettors is that the team trained all week in Sarasota, Florida, after its loss to Buffalo to avoid another long East Coast trip. The bad news is the offense still is having issues, which has been the case in five of the past six weeks (1-5 ATS). I’m looking for a low-scoring game with an edge given to Miami. Under is 44 is the top play.