Facebook Pixel

    Houston Texans vs. Miami Dolphins: Matchups, prediction for showdown of last-place teams

    The trade deadline has passed, and Tua Tagovailoa is still the Miami Dolphins' QB. He faces a healthy Tyrod Taylor and the Houston Texans.

    Coming Sunday at 1 PM ET: The Houston Texans vs. the Miami Dolphins. On paper, this matchup of 1-7 teams isn’t just the worst game of the week — it’s one of the worst matchups of the year. But there’s reason to watch. Really! The Dolphins have already played one of the stinkers already — when they faced off against the Jacksonville Jaguars in London in Week 6 — and the game was quite competitive and pretty entertaining. Will Dolphins-Texans be high art? Probably not. But it might just be fun.

    Update: ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported that Tua Tagovailoa will not be the starter today due to a fractured finger on his throwing hand. Jacoby Brissett will be the starter for the Dolphins with Tua serving as his backup. 

    Houston Texans vs. Miami Dolphins storylines

    This game has zero playoff implications, but there is a ton on the line. Jobs are at stake. And the No. 1 pick in April’s NFL Draft might be too. The bad news for the Dolphins? They could lose every game left on their schedule and still won’t pick first.

    [bet-promo id=”160605″ ]

    That’s because their first-rounder belongs to the Philadelphia Eagles due to the pre-draft trade that ultimately resulted in Miami taking Jaylen Waddle, who is eighth in the NFL with 48 catches but 40th in receiving yards (413).

    How is Tua Tagovailoa’s psyche?

    It’s hard to remember a top-five quarterback given less institutional support than Tua Tagovailoa, who was benched twice as a rookie, and then could do nothing but suck it up as the Dolphins pursued Deshaun Watson in the eight months since. As recently as this past Monday night, the Dolphins still held out hope of swinging a trade for the disgraced Texans starter but couldn’t swing a deal ahead of Tuesday’s 4 PM deadline.

    Tagovailoa, for his part, has played relatively well since returning from broken ribs. But he’s still a statistically mediocre quarterback in his career. And there’s no way his confidence is anywhere close to where it needs to be.

    “If a player is available around the league that is viewed as being one of the top players in the league at any position, I think you look at it and go for it or try to go for it,” Dolphins general manager Chris Grier explained. “Investigating a player at any position, whether it’s wide receiver, D-line, O-line, linebacker – if it’s a good player, we’re going to investigate it and look at it and do it.

    “We’re very happy with Tua. We think he’s developing well. Brian (Flores) has been very consistent in his message, and we have been as well. He’s working hard, he’s showing a lot of improvement, and we think he’ll continue to develop and be the player we think he can be.”

    UPDATE: Tua Tagovailoa has a fracture in the middle finger of his throwing hand and will not play Sunday, ESPN first reported. Jacoby Brissett will start for the fourth time of the season.

    Tyrod Taylor Time!

    The Texans are unspeakably bad — last in point differential (minus-15.3 per game) and yard differential (an insane minus-120.3). But they have been a better team when Tyrod Taylor is on the field. And that’s where he will be Sunday for the first time since injuring his hamstring in Week 2.

    Before his injury, Taylor had completed 70.5% of his passes for 416 yards (at a 9.4 yards per attempt clip) and a passer rating of 122.9. His backup, Davis Mills, has been both careless with the ball (his interception rate is an awful 3.8%) and inefficient (6.5 yards per pass). That’s a bad combo. Taylor — who is 1-1 as a Texans starter — gives Houston a chance to win in a way that Mills — 0-6 — has not.

    Can Brian Flores keep his job?

    Dolphins coach Brian Flores has to know he’s on thin ice. 40 games into his time in Miami,  Flores is 16-24 — four games worse than Adam Gase, who was fired after his third season.

    Related | NFL Picks, Predictions Week 9: Will the Packers or Chiefs prevail in Kansas City?

    If the Dolphins’ second half of the season is as bad as the first, the odds are very high team owner Stephen Ross blows it up. There are only so many winnable games left on the schedule, and this weekend is at the top of that list. A loss to the Texans and Jaguars in the same season would probably be a bridge too far for even the most understanding a boss.

    Texans vs. Dolphins betting line and game prediction

    For as bad as the Dolphins have been this year — they’re 27th in Football Outsiders’ DVOA — the Texans have been substantially worse. There’s too much talent on Miami’s roster to lose this one. We think they win comfortably.

    Texans vs. Dolphins Prediction: Dolphins 21, Texans 10

    Listen to the PFN Dolphins Podcast

    Listen to the PFN Dolphins Podcast! Click the embedded player below to listen, or you can find the PFN Dolphins Podcast on iTunes, Spotify, and all major podcast platforms.  Be sure to subscribe and leave us a five-star review! Rather watch instead? Check out the PFN Dolphins Podcast on our NFL YouTube channel.

    Related Articles