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Could the Dolphins frustrate Peyton Manning enough for an upset?
2:18 | NFL
Could the Dolphins frustrate Peyton Manning enough for an upset?
Thursday November 20th, 2014

There are four NFL games on Sunday afternoon that pit teams at .500 or better against each other as they battle for postseason spots. The most intriguing matchup has the Miami Dolphins visiting the Denver Broncos as seven-point underdogs. The Dolphins (6-4) sit two games behind the New England Patriots in the AFC East and are currently out of the playoff picture while the Broncos (7-3) are tied for the lead in the AFC West with the Kansas City Chiefs following a 22-7 loss to the St. Louis Rams last week.

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Denver’s offense sputtered against a tough St. Louis defense, and the team failed to come through for bettors as eight-point road favorites, per sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com. The Broncos were limited offensively without any semblance of a running game, putting enormous pressure on quarterback Peyton Manning to put points up on the scoreboard. While that is not usually an issue, Manning lost two of his top targets to injuries during the game, as tight end Julius Thomas hurt his ankle and wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders suffered a concussion on a brutal hit. That duo has combined to score 19 of Manning’s 30 touchdowns through the air this year.

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Miami is coming off a dominant defensive effort, a 22-9 win against the Buffalo Bills last Thursday night, after the closing NFL betting lines showed them as four-point home chalk. The Dolphins have one of the best defenses in the league this season and hope to duplicate what the Rams were able to do against the Broncos, albeit on the road. They have won four of their last five games both straight-up and against the spread, limiting opponents to an average of just 11.2 points during that stretch with the UNDER cashing each time.

Another game that could be a defensive battle will take place in Foxboro when the AFC East-leading Patriots (8-2) host the NFC North-leading Detroit Lions (7-3). New England routed the Indianapolis Colts 42-20 last Sunday night as a three-point road underdog, extending its winning streak to an NFL-best six games, and the team is a consensus seven-point home favorite in Week 12. The Lions lost a low-scoring game (14-6) last week to the Arizona Cardinals as one-point road chalk to snap their four-game winning streak.

The Cardinals (9-1) also own a six-game winning streak and visit the defending Super Bowl champion Seattle Seahawks (6-4) as 6.5-point underdogs on Sunday afternoon in a key NFC West matchup. Arizona has gone 3-1 SU and ATS in its past four road games against divisional opponents, according to the OddsShark NFL Database, but Seattle is 12-2 versus the line in its previous 14 meetings with NFC West foes at home. The Seahawks lost to the Chiefs last week 24-20 as one-point road dogs.

Two teams that pulled off upsets on the road last week will meet in Houston as the Texans (5-5) host the Cincinnati Bengals (6-3-1). Houston is just one game back of the AFC South-leading Colts following a 23-7 win over the Cleveland Browns as four-point underdogs. The Bengals took back the lead in the AFC North over the Browns with a surprising 27-10 victory against the New Orleans Saints as 7.5-point dogs one week after falling at home to Cleveland in an embarrassing 24-3 loss as six-point favorites.

 

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