Miami Dolphins (1-3) at San Francisco 49ers (2-2)
The 49ers are a tough team to evaluate. They’re just 2-2, but they rank 4th in the NFL with a +5.32% first down rate differential, with their two wins coming in blowout fashion and their two losses being close. That’s more or less in line with how they played last season, when they finished 2nd in the NFL with a +5.29% first down rate differential, but the 49ers have also had a very easy schedule to start the season and, due to all of their injuries, they are very clearly not the same team as they were last season.
Their injuries have made them especially difficult to evaluate, as they’ve had pretty drastically different rosters available to them in each of their four games. Last week, they got their top-2 pass catchers George Kittle and Deebo Samuel back from injury and this week starting quarterback Jimmy Garroppolo will join them after a 2-game absence, as could starting running back Raheem Mostert after a 2-game absence.
Their defense still has a lot of injuries though, especially at key positions, with cornerback K’Waun Williams joining fellow cornerbacks Richard Sherman, Akhello Witherspoon, and Emmanuel Mosley on the sideline and defensive end Ezekiel Ansah joining fellow defensive ends Nick Bosa, Dee Ford, and Solomon Thomas on the sidelines, though their linebacking corps will get a big boost this week with Dre Greenlaw returning from a 2-game absence. Fortunately for them, the 49ers’ schedule remains easy, with the Dolphins coming to town. My calculated line of San Francisco -10 suggests we’re getting a little bit of line value with the 49ers as 9-point favorites, but there’s far too much uncertainty here to take them with any confidence.
San Francisco 49ers 27 Miami Dolphins 17
Pick against the spread: San Francisco -9