Ajayi took a step back last week

Dolphins To Bounce Back Against Saints

The second match of the 2017 International Series takes place on Sunday between the Miami Dolphins and the New Orleans Saints at Wembley Stadium.

Miami suffered a setback in their defeat to the New York Jets. The Dolphins beat the Los Angeles Chargers in the opening week of the campaign. However, Jay Cutler and the offense took a step back against the Jets, mustering just six points at MetLife Stadium.

The Saints avoided dropping to 0-3 for the third season on the bounce by claiming their first win of the term against the Carolina Panthers. Drew Brees’ sparked his side enough on offense to deliver the victory, easing the pressure on head coach Sean Payton.

Both teams now have the challenge of adjusting to a new timezone for the crucial match. The contest could be more important for the Saints than Adam Gase’s men. In the NFC South, the Atlanta Falcons have been fast out of the traps, putting pressure on the rest of the division.

New Orleans cannot afford to fall further off the pace of their rivals. Therefore Drew Brees and company must sustain their form from their win over the Panthers.

Cutler has come in for criticism for his performance. His display against the Jets was the sort that Dolphins’ fans would have been fearful of after his signing. The 34-year-old played well against the Chargers and needs to find his rhythm once again.

We’ll now dissect both teams further and look at the betting odds for the showdown at Wembley.

Miami Dolphins

Ajayi took a step back last week

The Dolphins have endured a tumultuous start to the season. Their opening game of the season was rescheduled to Hurricane Irma, losing their bye week in the process. Their next contest was on the west coast against the Chargers, while they travelled cross country to face the Jets.

Gase’s men now have travel again to London to take on the Saints as they aim to bounce back. Miami were impressive in their week one win over the Chargers. Cutler was able to connect with his receivers, especially DeVante Parker, to deliver the victory.

Running back Jay Ajayi was crucial in their opener, rushing for 122 yards on the ground. He eased the pressure on Cutler to help his offense put 24 points on the board. However, the 24-year-old was held in check against the Jets. The back amassed just 16 yards on 11 carries as his side struggled immensely against an inferior side.

Ajayi now returns to his hometown of London where he will be desperate to impress. The Saints have a suspect defense and he along with the offensive line will have the opportunity to bounce back. The back holds the key to the Dolphins’ offense and another 100-yard outing could be the driving force in a potential victory on his homecoming.

Defensively there were also concerns Miami allowed 20 points to the Jets. They allowed Josh McCown to complete 18 of his 23 passes for 249 yards and a touchdown. Cameron Wake, Ndamukong Suh and company have to improve this week otherwise Brees will tear them apart.

Lawrence Timmons was reinstated following his bizarre suspension. His presence in the middle of defense could solidify the unit by easing the pressure on other players in the line-up.

New Orleans Saints

Brees was on form last week

Credit: Getty Images

New Orleans were hammered in their opening two matches of the campaign. The Minnesota Vikings moved up and down the field on Payton’s men with relative ease to claim their comfortable win.

The New England Patriots found life just as simple as the Vikings as Tom Brady cut open the defense. Bill Belichick’s men were able to canter to their victory, with only a late touchdown from Coby Fleener bringing respectability to the scoreline.

Payton’s men were then faced with a tough trip on the road against the Panthers. However, they found life and a slight bit of fortune as the home team were without Greg Olsen. Cam Newton then lost Kelvin Benjamin from his receiving corps, resulting a in three-interception performance.

However, the Saints still capitalised as Brees was outstanding throwing for 220 yards and three touchdowns. Alvin Kamara highlighted his promise with a 25-yard touchdown run, while Michael Thomas continued to enhance his reputation with another solid outing.

The offense has to maintain that level of form throughout the season. For once the Saints’ defense was on song, but that level of display has been a rarity.

Thomas, Kamara and Brees hold the key for New Orleans this season and another round of impressive performances will be needed against Miami.

Perhaps the most pleasing aspect of the Saints’ win was the quality of their defensive display. The defense has been the club’s Achilles heel for too long now and they showed signs of being able to carry their weight against the Panthers.

Hau’oli Kikana, Cameron Jordan and Trey Hendrickson all notched sacks. Kenny Vaccaro, PJ Williams and Marcus Williams intercepted Newton. That playmaking ability must continue throughout the term to ensure that they support Brees and company.

Betting Options

The Dolphins are not as bad as their performance against the Jets suggested. New Orleans are not as good as their win over the Panthers may have insinuated. Therefore the contest at Wembley should be a close one as both sides have their flaws.

Miami have the talent to bounce back from their disappointing defeat. Gase will ensure that his team are fired up and ready for the contest, while Ajayi will want to shine on home soil. The Saints have to stop him and force the game into the hands of Cutler. Should they achieve that – Payton’s men have a solid chance of securing the victory.

Wake and Suh have to dominate the line of scrimmage against a weakened Saints’ offensive line. Should they disrupt Brees and his offense’s timing – then the Dolphins can claim the victory.

It promises to be a close match, but Miami should be able to bounce back with a win due to the talent of Ajayi and their receiving corps. The Saints have allowed too much space in their secondary and even Cutler is capable of hitting wide-open wideouts.

Back the Dolphins at odds of +130   to claim the victory with TopBet sportsbook, while take Gase’s men to cover the +2.5 spread at odds of +105   with BetFred.

The Saints’ offense looked good against the Panthers, but back the Dolphins to keep them in check. At odds of +110   to score under 26 points with Ladbrokes is a solid punt.

Ajayi will be the favourite to score a touchdown, but back his team-mate Parker to find the endzone. There’s good value at +120   with William Hill for him to score anytime at Wembley.

Tips Summary

Miami Dolphins To Beat New Orleans Saints
Sunday 1st October 2017 9:30 ET (14:30 BST)
Odds: +130

Miami Dolphins To Cover +2.5 Spread
Sunday 1st October 2017 9:30 ET (14:30 BST)
Odds: +105

New Orleans Saints To Score Under 26 Points
Sunday 1st October 2017 9:30 ET (14:30 BST)
Odds: +110

DeVante Parker To Score Anytime Touchdown
Sunday 1st October 2017 9:30 ET (14:30 BST)
Odds: +120

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