NFL 2017 Week 11: Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs Miami Doplhins preview and prediction

This game was scheduled for Week 1, but Hurricane Irma pushed it back. Who will win the battle of Florida?


Tampa Bay took to the field last week against the Jets without quarterback Jameis Winston, who re-injured his shoulder in Week 9. As a result, Ryan Fitzpatrick was under center and the Bucs offense was a mess. Neither team found the endzone until the fourth quarter, and Fitzpatrick threw for less than 200 yards as the Bucs won a snoozefest 15-10.

Miami were on the receiving end of yet another blowout in Week 10, falling 45-21 to the Carolina Panthers for their third straight loss. The game was relatively even early on, but a touchdown just before the half opened up a ten point lead for the Panthers, and that was it. Carolina scored another two in the third quarter before Kenyan Drake was able to break a run, but more Panthers points followed in what was another embarrassing prime time outing for the Dolphins.

Hot seats

Both these teams came into 2017 with playoff expectations. Miami had made the wildcard round last year, and despite losing Ryan Tannehill in preseason they were confident of returning, while Tampa made big investment in the aim of turning their offense into a juggernaut. None of it worked. These two have been deeply disappointing this season, and Miami’s playoff hopes are only alive because the AFC wildcard race is a mess. both Adam Gase and Dirk Koetter are starting to feel the pressure of their failures, and a win this week would certainly ease the heat.

Fitzmagic

Winston will once again be missing, leaving the Bucs offense in the hands of Ryan Fitzpatrick. The journeyman quarterback is one of the strangest enigmas in football, a brilliant wizard of escapism one week, a train wreck the next. Tampa got the bad version last week, they need the Fitzmagic this weekend.

Decide on one back

Miami came into Week 10 wanting to to settle on a new lead running back. Unfortunately, neither Kenyan Drake or Damien Williams were able to do much. Drake broke off a 66-yard touchdown run, but outside of that was held to six carries for 16 yards, Williams had nine runs for 19 yards. Drake’s big play potential should make him the man for Miami, but Adam Gase needs to just pick one and give them 15+ carries a game, or neither will turn into anything.

Matchup to Watch: Cameron Wake vs Demar Dotson

Wake is a marvel. Despite being 35 years old he is leading the Dolphins in sacks (6) and tackles for loss (8). He’s among the league leaders QB hits (15) and has been a continuous menace on the offenses right side. Facing him all day will be Demar Dotson, who has struggled with rushers all year. The Bucs need their right tackle to have a good day.

Fantasy Tip: Dolphins WR Jarvis Landry

Tampa Bay have struggled against slot receivers, and while Landry’s yards per catch are barely better than most running backs, he is a favorite target of Jay Cutler. There ought to be plenty of opportunities against a defense that is among the worst against inside receivers.

Betting Tip: Stay away

These two teams are wildly inconsistent, and with Miami just a one-point favorite there is little to be had in betting either way. Steer clear of this one.

Prediction: Dolphins 14 – 13 Buccaneers

I’ll give the Dolphins the win due to them being at home, but there is little to pick between these two sides. Both have pick-happy quarterbacks who can make occasional magic, both have playmakers on the outside that will be frustrated. It’s not going to be a pretty game and neutrals shouldn’t give it a second glance.

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Toby Durant

Deputy Editor at RealSport. A life-long gamer, I have been with RealSport since 2016 and spent time covering the world of Formula 1, NFL, and football for the site before expanding into esports.

 

I lead the site's coverage of motorsport titles with a particular focus on Formula 1. I also lead RealSport's Madden content while occasionally dipping my toe into Football Manager and esports coverage of Gfinity Series events.

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