Miami Dolphins (+3.5) @ Carolina Panthers Week 11 Free Pick: John Fox, here’s to hoping you blow it again! This week’s Thursday Night Football game on NFL Network pits two of last seasons’ most impressive teams against each-other for a game that promises to have some serious running back action. Ronnie Brown is out for the Dolphins, but don’t think they won’t keep their attack rush-centric, they still have Ricky Williams (who has been awesome this year) as well as running QB Pat White. But I’m thinking this injury might make them more balanced. week in and week out, the Dolphins run more than they pass, and that’s probably the right thing to do (John Fox, pay attention you dope), but Chad Henne has shown me he can throw the ball all over the field. Against a Panther team that is probably getting ready to see the Dolphins carry the ball 40 times, Henne might just be able to hurt them with his arm.
The Dolphins are set up well to hold the Panthers out of the end zone. They give up big passing plays, but are stout against the run, and have made big plays on defense when quarterbacks get fidgety with the ball. Jake Delhomme loves to play around with the pig skin. Both teams have won 4 of their last 6, but Carolina has been beaten in every game they’ve been out-rushed in. I like Miami’s D to allow that to happen.
If the Panthers came out and ran the ball 40 times, I would give them the cover here, but John Fox has repeatedly tried to break defenses at their weakest point, managed to ignore his own running game for long portions of winnable games, and generally has a dumb look on his face the entire time. I think Miami’s the better team, this game should be close, 3.5 points is good enough for me!