Miami Dolphins (4-3) vs. San Diego Chargers (5-3)
1:00 PM Sunday, November 3, 2014 @ Sun Life Stadium, Miami, FL
The local mammals are riding the crest of a 2-game winning streak, but last week was an anomaly of sorts. For a change, the defense did most of the scoring early, and the offense coasted in the second half against the lowly Jags and their mistake-prone rookie QB. This week, the challenge presented is much different. A hungry, talented, and veteran Chargers team comes in on a 2-game losing streak after coming out blazing to start the season. These teams are evenly matched, so the early afternoon home-field venue is a definite advantage for Miami, but let’s take a closer look.
The Dolphins are slight favorites after keeping up offensively with the Packers, dismantling the Bears in shocking fashion in Chicago, and pulling away with defensive pick-6’s at Jax. QB Tannehill (98.1 passer rating in past 4 games) will have to improve on last week’s underwhelming performance against an underrated but stout front-4 who pressured him for 3 quarters. The Bolts’ D-Line is not as impressive but the Dolphins O-Line may be challenged if LG Colledge is a no-go. The key will be Tanny’s ability to continue his success with the read-option and designed roll-out, sprint options (even triple option reads at times). This will keep Pro Bowl S Weddle in limbo just enough to perhaps hit a big play or 2 to Wallace and/or TE Clay. RB Miller is averaging 4.9 ypc thus far, and will be able to find holes to gash if Tanny keep SD honest with the pass game threat. The Dolphins will have plenty of opportunities to score in this game, but how they perform in the red zone as opposed to just settling for FGs may be the difference.
The Chargers’ QB P. Rivers has seen every configuration of defense there is, so don’t expect the exotic blitz dial-ups from DC Coyle to make the impact they did last week. Still, the pressure from DE’s Wake and O.Vernon will be especially important if the Fins decide not to blitz and to drop back into coverage. The key cover-man in this game will be LB J. Jenkins who is expected, along with DE D.Jordan, to jam TE Gates and then Jenkins will provide most of the coverage downfield, in mid-zones and most likely in the red zone. There are a number of targets capable of giving CB’s Grimes and Finnegan fits, including M.Floyd, K.Allen and E.Royal. Safety R.Jones will need to be active, as will Delmas, both of whom had big games last week, albeit against a much less experienced QB. Don’t forget about SD RB B.Oliver either, as his elusiveness in open spaces may create problems and force an extra man in the box.
I don’t see either defense dominating this game. In fact, this may be a shootout. I will give the edge to the home team here, but not to cover.
Prediction: Dolphins 30, Chargers 28
NFL PICKS AGAINST THE SPREAD PICK
11/2 1:00 ET At Miami -2 San Diego MIA
11/2 1:00 ET At Cincinnati -10.5 Jacksonville CIN
11/2 1:00 ET At Cleveland -6.5 Tampa Bay TB
11/2 1:00 ET At Minnesota -1 Washington MIN
11/2 1:00 ET Philadelphia -1.5 At Houston PHI
11/2 1:00 ET At Kansas City -9.5 NY Jets KC
11/2 1:00 ET At Dallas -3 Arizona ARZ
11/2 4:05 ET At San Francisco -10 St. Louis STL
11/2 4:25 ET Denver -3 At New England DEN
11/2 4:25 ET At Seattle -14.5 Oakland OAK
11/2 8:30 ET BAL (-1.5) AT PIT – BAL TO COVER
11/3 8:30 ET IND (-3) AT NYG – IND TO COVER
DAILY LEAGUE FANTASY ROSTER VALUES
QB TANNY, DALTON, HOYER, ALEX SMITH, PALMER, *WEEDEN
RB L.MILLER, B.TATE, SPROLES, IVORY, GORE, HILLMAN, J.GRAY, TURBIN
WR M.FLOYD, K.ALLEN, HARTLINE, SANU, A.ROBINSON, BOWE, DECKER, LAFEL, WELKER,
TE CLAY, KELCE, WITTEN, ERTZ
DF MINN, KC, SEA, CIN, DAL
THAT’S ALL FOR NOW.
DON’T FORGET TO READ MY BLOG AT AVENTURABLOG.COM, LIKE ME ON FACEBOOK, AND FOLLOW ME ON TWITTER @FOOTBALLNUTSY.