Greg Cote

Here are three things the Dolphins can do to pull the upset over the Houston Texans

Dolphins wide receiver Leonte Carroo talks about improving

Miami Dolphins wide receiver Leonte Carroo talks about improving his skills during training camp Sunday, July 30, 2017, at Dolphins' training camp in Davie, Fla.
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Miami Dolphins wide receiver Leonte Carroo talks about improving his skills during training camp Sunday, July 30, 2017, at Dolphins' training camp in Davie, Fla.

GREG COTE’S THURSDAY NFL PICK

DOLPHINS (4-3) at TEXANS (4-3)

Line: HOU By 7 1/2

Cote’s pick: HOU 30-16

TV: 8:20 p.m., Fox

NFL Week 8 launches with the Dolphins on the road battling not only the Houston Texans but also The Curse of Thursday Night. Miami has lost its two Thursday games under Adam Gase, both also on the road, by a combined 62-7 score. The Fins lost the Thursday before that away from home by 36-7. In all Miami has lost five Thursday road games in a row since last winning under Chad Henne (!) at Carolina in 2009. Fast forward nine years and it don’t look good, Dolfans. Just about every measurable skews heavily Houston. Miami has lost eight of its past nine road games dating to last season and is on a 1-7 skid vs. the Texans, while hot Houston has won four games in a row. The Fins’ erratic offensive line gave up four sacks last week and now faces J.J. Watt and Jadaveon Clowney, a pass-rush super-duo “horrible to go up against,” admitted Gase. Deshaun Watson is a dynamic dual-threat to Miami’s defense, and elite receiver DeAndre Hopkins will be a handful, while Miami will be missing two of its most dynamic playmakers in injured Albert Wilson and Kenny Stills. (That’ll mean a DeVante Parker sighting!) Bonus sidelight: RB Lamar Miller, facing his ex-Fins, had to love watching Miami’s run-D last week, and ex-Bronco Brock Osweiler, in his third start for ailing Ryan Tannehill, confronts his toughest test yet. OK I’ll admit that’s a lot of gloom piled on Miami. Reasons a Dolfan might be hopeful: 1) Law of averages says Miami’s Thursday road-hell will end sometime, right? 2) Watson can be error-prone (seven picks, seven fumbles), so if Miami can rattle his cage and coax a turnover or two, therein lies the upset key. 3) This is the NFL, where ‘dogs are barking every week.

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