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Dublin: 7°C Tuesday 11 May 2021

London calling for Dolphins and Raiders - Week 4 NFL preview

We look ahead to today’s televised games.

NFL on Regent Street Just in case you didn't realise there was a game in London this weekend. Source: David Parry

Miami Dolphins @ Oakland Raiders – London


Wembley stadium hosts the first of a record three regular season games this evening but the teams taking part are hardly ideal with the 0-3 Oakland Raiders ‘hosting’ the (1-2) Miami Dolphins.

Miami’s season started well enough with an upset win over their divisional rivals – the New England Patriots – but the ‘Fins are coming off back-to-back 19-point losses and a rumbling quarterback controversy.

At the start of this week, head coach Joe Philbin refused to confirm whether or not third-year quarterback Ryan Tannehill would be his side’s starting quarterback despite the former first round pick leading Miami to 15 wins across his first two seasons in the NFL.

However, the Dolphins’ offence has struggled to get going over the last two weeks scoring just 25 points. Luckily, they face a Raiders side managing just 12.3 points per game so far this season. Little wonder they are one of three teams yet to find a win.

While the Raiders have done a good job of keeping their rookie quarterback Derek Carr upright, the lack of a supporting run game has killed any meaningful attacking threat Oakland may have offered on paper.

Their time-zone struggles have also been well documented – losing 15 straight on the east coast of the US – so how will a trip to London help? Spoiler: It won’t.

Line: On neutral ground, the Dolphins are four point favourites.

Best bet: The over/under (10/11) is 41 points…It’ll almost certainly be under.

Fantasy advice: Just hope you’re not forced to start anyone on either of these two teams because of bye weeks.

Verdict: As bad as the Dolphins have been this season, the Raiders have been worse. Miami by 6+

Philadelphia Eagles at San Francisco 49ers – 9.25pm

Source: Rick Scuteri

The Eagles are 3-0 but could easily be 0-3. The 49ers are 1-2 and should probably be 3-0. That’s why  - on the field at least – the NFL remains so enthralling. The saying stays true, on an given Sunday, any team can beat any other team (unless you’re the Jags).

This is nothing new for the 49ers mind, they started last season 1-2 and reached the NFC Championship game but the nature of their defeats – spectacular second half collapses – makes this an intriguing encounter.

While San Francisco have conceded 52 second half points (compared to three scored) their opponents tonight have scored 74 in the final two quarters through three games. If the trends are to continue, expect the 49ers to lead at half time before Philadelphia come back to claim the win in a second half rout.

It’s hard to put your finger on where it’s all going wrong for San Francisco but the absence of Aldon Smith on defence hurts, as does their inability to get their run game going. The 49ers ran the ball 25 times in their week one win over Dallas but nine times against the Cardinals in last week’s loss.

The Eagles continue to have one of the most dynamic offences in the league despite having ground game struggles of their own. Le Sean McCoy’s 1.2 yards per carry against Washington last week was the worst of his career.

The run game is not helped by a serious of injuries and suspensions on the offensive line and the loss to Jason Kelce for eight weeks is not ideal for a unit already missing Lane Johnson, Allen Barbre and Evan Mathis.

Line: The 49ers are five point favourites.

Best bet: You can get 49ers half time, Eagles full time at 9/1.

Fantasy advice: Shady has to come good at some stage doesn’t he?

Verdict: I’m not convinced by either team but Philly by 4+

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About the author:

Steve O'Rourke

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