Matchup: Miami Dolphins at Las Vegas Raiders
When: Sunday, September 26, 2021; 4:05 PM EDT/3:05 PM CDT/9:05 PM BST
Where: Allegiant Stadium, Paradise, Nevada
How to Watch: CBS or NFL Game Pass (NFL Game Pass live games are £147.99/season or £14.99/week in UK with Pro subscription) **NFL Game Pass does not offer live games in US markets, only full games after played for $100/season**
Point Spread: Raiders are a 4 point favorite over Dolphins
Miami Dolphins Head Coach: Brian Flores (1-1 record 2021 record) Miami Dolphins Starting QB: Jacoby Brissett (0-0 2021 record, 169 yards, 0 TDs, 1 INT)
Las Vegas Raiders Head Coach: Jon Gruden (2-0 2021 record) Buffalo Bills Starting QB: Derek Carr (2-0 2021 record, 817 yards, 4 TDs, 1 INT)
As the Miami Dolphins face the Las Vegas Raiders Sunday, they will have to do it without their starting quarterback, Tua Tagovailoa. However, the Dolphins will see for the first time ever wide receiver Will Fuller playing as a Dolphins. Miami is coming off an embarrassing defeat by the Buffalo Bills of a score of 35-0 while the Raiders are hoping to start their season 3-0 if they defeat the Dolphins for their second straight loss. However, Miami is hoping to improve from last week’s defeat and go 2-1 to start their own season.
Without Miami’s quarterback Tua Tagovailoa Sunday, backup quarterback Jacoby Brissett will get the start under center. Tagovailoa suffered fractured ribs in last Sunday’s game against the Buffalo Bills and is still yet to be determined when he will be able to return. Brissett will get his first NFL start since 2019 when he was the starting quarterback for the Indianapolis Colts. Brissett entered last Sunday’s game against the Bills after Tagovailoa’s injury, completing 60 percent of his passes (24/40) for 169 yards with no touchdowns and 1 interception.
The Dolphins will face Derek Carr who seems to be getting better each of his last four years. With a performance last week against the Steelers of 382 yards, 2 TDs, and a 126.2 quarterback rating, if the Dolphins secondary doesn’t do their job then it will be another long day for the Dolphins team.
The biggest threat the Dolphins will face in the secondary is Henry Ruggs, whom is averaging 22.7 yards per reception this season and is one of the fastest players in the NFL. However, the Dolphins have their own answer to Ruggs in rookie Jaylen Waddle who finished with a tie to Ruggs at Alabama in a foot race and lost by one step to Ruggs in a second foot race. Both Ruggs and Waddle were two of the elite 4 wide receiving corps at Alabama with Devonta Smith and Jerry Jeudy being the other two.
Despite the receiving threats, the Raiders biggest danger may come in the form of the running game if they can get it going. Just like the Dolphins, the Raiders have struggled in the run game with Josh Jacobs having the highest rushing totals of the year for only 34 yards despite having three good running backs on their team in Josh Jacobs, Peyton Barber, and former Miami Dolphins Kenyan Drake. Miami will hope to get the run game going with Myles Gaskin this week as well. With Brissett getting the start, there may be more to the run game than what has been shown the first two games for the Dolphins.
Defensively it appears that Miami will have the edge on the Dolphins with Xavien Howard in the seconday and Emmanuel Ogbah on the front. Both have done well their first two games of the season and it doesn’t appear it will change for the Raiders game.
The key to this matchup for the Dolphins will be slowing Carr and Ruggs down and getting the ball into the hands of Will Fuller, Jaylen Waddle and DeVante Parker. If the Dolphins don’t improve on their blocking on the offensive line since last week, then the run game nor Brissett’s ability to get the ball into the hands of the Dolphins best receivers may not be effective enough for a win. However, if Fuller’s presence can open up the passing game for other receivers to become more involved, then the Dolphins have a strong chance of leaving Las Vegas winners.