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Tough to trust a rookie QB, even one as good as Tua, and especially facing quarterback Kyler Murray, who seems to have the offensive weapons to win this one if their subpar defense can rise to the challenge.
Cardinals -4.5 (-110)
|Dolphins vs Cardinals Information|
|What||Miami Dolphins vs Arizona Cardinals|
|Where||State Farm Stadium in Glendale, AZ|
|When||Sun, November 8, 2020; 4:25 PM ET|
|How to watch||CBS|
Last week, Miami Dolphins inexplicably benched their starting QB and gave their rookie hotshot, Tua Tagovailoa, a chance to start under center, and he led the team to a win thanks to a strong defense and special teams showing.
The Cardinals are well-rested after taking their bye in Week 8, and they are still riding high after taking care of the favored Seattle Seahawks in Week 7, so look for these talented Cardinals to come out swinging and stretching the field for the get-go as they pursue their fifth regular-season win.
The two cross-conference rivals have met each other 12 times, with the Arizona Cardinals winning 3 of those matchups and the Miami Dolphins winning 9 of them.
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The Dolphins benched Ryan Fitzpatrick last week and gave the start under center to their rookie sensation, Tua Tagovailoa, who wowed the college world two seasons ago with Alabama but then sat out most of his final college year healing from a serious hip dislocation.
In that outing, Tua posted 12-of-22 completions for 93 yards and 1 touchdown, and 0 interceptions, averaging 4.23 yards per pass and having a passer rating of 80.3, plus he was sacked just once.
Now the Cardinals have had some NFL film to watch and will game plan around Tagovailoa’s tendencies and weaknesses, so this will be a good test to see if he is indeed ready and able to play at an NFL level.
The Arizona Cardinals have the most productive offense in the league right now, averaging almost 420 yards of offense per game and putting up about 29 points every time they play somebody.
That’s the result of QB Kyler Murray taking charge in his third season under center in Arizona, not to mention the various high-level targets he’s been given, including receivers DeAndre Hopkins and Larry Fitzgerald plus tight end Darrell Daniels.
The team has had a week off to rest what ails them, so now they have to come back together and perform at the same level they did in Week 7 when they took care of the favored Seattle Seahawks by a final score of 37-34 in overtime.
For Dolphins rookie QB to be at all successful, he has to be confident, and nothing makes a young NFL hurler more confident than having a tight end with soft, reliable hands to check down to, and that is exactly where Mike Gesicki comes into the picture for Miami.
Gesicki, a third-year player in the NFL, has had a decent year of production so far, having been targeted 32 times for 19 completions and 289 yards with 2 touchdowns, averaging 15.2 yards per catch and 41.3 yards per game.
Having a rookie playing QB is a risky business, but having a tight end like Gesicki running solid routes across the middle of the field and catching almost 60 percent of what is thrown his way is something that could become a key to a Week 9 win on Sunday.
If you want to beat a rookie QB, then scare the sack out of him, and that is exactly why Cardinals DE Jordan Phillips and his other D-linemen will be an important key to winning this one against the Dolphins.
Phillips has had a productive 2020 so far, with 2 sacks, 3 quarterback hits, a pass defended, 2 forced fumbles, a fumble recovery plus 10 tackles, with one of those being for a loss.
If Arizona wants to win, they have to bring a ferocious pass rush that ‘welcomes’ the new kid Tua into a league of brutal men, and Phillips should have the chance to play a big part in that if he just does what he is good at and rushes hard.
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Mike Lukas is a retired standup comedian turned freelance writer now living in Dallas, Texas, originally from Cleveland, Ohio. His love for the game of football and all things Cleveland Browns turned Mike into a pro blogger years ago. Now Mike enjoys writing about all thirty-two NFL teams, hoping to help football gamblers gain a slight edge in their pursuit of the perfect wager. Email: [email protected]More info on Mike Lukas
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