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Free NFL Picks: Playoff Push Enters Final Stages of Regular Season

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Oskeim Sports previews Sunday’s NFL game between the Jacksonville Jaguars and Miami Dolphins.  Oskeim recommends taking the points with the Jaguars as one of his free NFL picks for Sunday, December 23.

Oskeim also provides free NFL picks in the Minnesota/Detroit game.  Oskeim suggests taking the Lions as one of his free NFL picks on Sunday.  Be sure to visit Oskeim’s Blog on a daily basis for more free NFL picks!

The public is backing the Dolphins in this game because they find themselves in a “must-win” situation to keep their playoff hopes alive. However, if teams were any good they would not find themselves in such precarious circumstances and my power rankings actually have Jacksonville as the favorite in this game.

Miami is being outyarded by 134 yards per game in the second half of the season and has lost seven of its last 11 games after starting the season 3-0.

Despite playing one of the easiest schedules in the league this season, the Dolphins are being outscored by 5.6 points per game. By comparison, Jacksonville is being outscored by 4.5 points per game despite playing a substantially more difficult schedule. Variance has also played a role in how the betting public perceives these teams.

Miami is an incredible 7-1 SU in games decided by eight points or fewer this season. In contrast, the Jaguars are just 3-6 SU in games decided by eight points or fewer. Let’s also note that Jacksonville possesses a better point differential (minus-64) compared to the Dolphins (minus-79).

NFL teams that have at least two more wins on the season than their opponent despite owning a worse point differential are just 62-88-2 ATS. The Dolphins enter off a 41-17 loss to Minnesota in a game that they never led, which is significant in that Miami is 0-18 ATS as a home favorite following a loss in which it never possessed a lead.

The Dolphins are 7-19-1 ATS after allowing 31+ points in their previous affair, 7-16 ATS in their last 23 December contests and 19-46-3 ATS at home versus teams with a losing road record.

Jacksonville is 4-0 ATS in its previous four road trips and applies to a very strong 48-19 ATS (71.6%) system that invests against certain home favorites that allowed 30+ points in their previous game.

NFL favorites that allowed 37 or more points in their previous game and scored fewer than 20 points are 75-106-3 ATS. The Dolphins are 0-18 ATS since November 16, 2003 as favorites off a road game in which they gained fewer than sixteen first downs (Miami had 12 total first downs vs. Minnesota last week).

Miami is 0-12 ATS since January 13, 2002 as a favorite versus an opponent that allowed fewer than 250 total yards in their last game.

In short, Jacksonville is the better team and will win this game with its superior defense and special teams. The Jaguars are No. 1 in the league in defensive pressure rate (34.4%), whereas Miami ranks 28th in offensive pressure rate (35.0%).

When Miami quarterback Ryan Tannehill is under pressure, his completion rate drops from 76.1 percent to 32.8 percent. His yards per attempt decline from 8.71 to 4.60 when under duress.

Finally, Jacksonville cornerback Jalen Ramsey will have success limiting Miami’s most efficient wide receiver (Kenny Stills). Indeed, the Jaguars are ranked fifth covering opposing team’s No. 1 receivers and Ramsey will have that responsibility Sunday afternoon.

With Jacksonville standing at a perfect 10-0 ATS (since November 19, 2000) as a road underdog of more than three points following a game as a favorite of more than three points in which it scored less than expected, grab the inflated number with the Jaguars as one of Oskeim’s free NFL picks for Sunday, December 23.

Oskeim Sports’ Free NFL Picks for Sunday, December 23:

  • Jacksonville Jaguars (+4) (-110) over Miami Dolphins
  • Detroit Lions (+6.5) (-110) over Minnesota Vikings