Here’s a have a look at how the Miami Dolphins (8-4) and Los Angeles Chargers (6-6) match up in six key areas forward of Sunday’s Week 14 sport at SoFi Stadium (8:25 p.m., NBC):
When the Dolphins run: It’s the Twenty eighth-ranked dashing offense versus the Twenty ninth-ranked dashing protection. The Dolphins appeared to be on track on the bottom after buying Jeff Wilson Jr. on the commerce deadline, however he solely bought one carry in Sunday’s loss on the 49ers. He and Raheem Mostert mixed for simply 33 yards on eight carries.
An enormous key to the run sport is having Terron Armstead in at left deal with. Miami likes to ship runs behind him, but when he can’t play once more on account of his pectoral pressure, the Dolphins gained’t have that element of their run sport.
The Chargers have given up greater than 150 yards on the bottom in six straight video games. The final time they stored an opponent beneath 100 was Oct. 17 towards the Broncos. Derwin James (106 tackles), an FSU alum and two-time Pro Bowl security, is powerful in run assist and linebacker Drue Tranquill has 103 tackles. Along with star edge rusher Joey Bosa, the Chargers have 4 defensive linemen on injured reserve. Edge: Even
When the Chargers run: Los Angeles working again Austin Ekeler is likely one of the most dynamic gamers within the NFL, but it surely’s extra about what he does within the passing sport out of the backfield. He has produced practically as a lot by means of the air as on the bottom — 85 receptions for 564 yards and 5 touchdowns whereas posting 138 rush makes an attempt for 589 yards (4.3 common) and 7 touchdowns on the bottom.
The Chargers offensive line has left deal with Rashawn Slater, who made a Pro Bowl as a rookie final yr, on IR, however it’s nonetheless anchored by fellow Pro Bowl lineman Corey Linsley at heart. Miami may also probably face Sony Michel behind Ekeler after Michel couldn’t make the Dolphins’ roster this preseason.
The Dolphins’ run protection ranks ninth, and that 110.5 dashing yards allowed per sport quantity has been inflated by scrambling quarterbacks. Miami remains to be very sturdy at stopping the run, and though it allowed 121 yards on the bottom towards the 49ers, it got here on 34 makes an attempt for a 3.6 common. Edge: Dolphins
When the Dolphins cross: Quarterback Tua Tagovailoa seeks a bounce-back effort after what was his worst sport since getting back from a concussion earlier this season. His prolonged interception-less streak was snapped with back-to-back picks. He appeared uncomfortable within the pocket and, though there have been some miscommunications on routes, he had a number of throws that had been nicely astray when he had time to ship them precisely in an 18-of-33 efficiency for 295 yards, two touchdowns, two interceptions and a fumble misplaced that was returned for a landing.
As Tagovailoa’s ankle is being monitored this week, so is a fibula harm for extensive receiver Jaylen Waddle, who had only one catch for 9 yards at San Francisco. Tyreek Hill, nevertheless, after 9 receptions for 146 yards and a landing, is on the verge of breaking a Miami franchise report, simply 11 yards shy of Mark Clayton’s 1984 report of 1,389 receiving yards.
Armstead’s availability is essential in cross safety. Will he play? Does Greg Little return on the market at left deal with? Can Eric Fisher begin straight away after signing this week? At least Miami gained’t face Joey Bosa after youthful brother, Nick, demoralized the Dolphins with three sacks and a compelled fumble. The Chargers nonetheless do have Khalil Mack and his seven sacks. Cornerback Bryce Callahan has a team-leading three interceptions, and LA has James at security and former St. Thomas Aquinas cornerback Asante Samuel Jr. Edge: Dolphins
When the Chargers cross: Quarterback Justin Herbert himself has all of the instruments, however he hasn’t had Slater defending his blind facet, Keenan Allen has missed seven video games and Mike Williams has been absent for 4. Herbert has a 66.7 completion share, throwing for 3,339 yards, 20 touchdowns and 7 interceptions.
Allen, a five-time Pro Bowl wideout, has been again for 3 straight weeks and simply noticed his most targets of the season, 14, arising with six receptions for 88 yards and a landing within the loss to the Raiders. Meanwhile, Williams, after hurting his ankle once more Nov. 20, has been restricted. St. Thomas Aquinas product Josh Palmer has a team-leading 612 receiving yards.
Dolphins cornerback Xavien Howard, after coming down along with his first interception of the season towards the 49ers, now has a takeaway in three straight video games. It was discouraging that, after knocking Jimmy Garoppolo out of Sunday’s sport, the Dolphins had been crushed by rookie Brock Purdy. Linebackers had a tough sport in protection, so will probably be one other problem towards Ekeler after Christian McCaffrey had a giant sport towards them. It shall be necessary for the pass-rushing trio of Bradley Chubb, Jaelan Phillips and Melvin Ingram to strain Herbert. Edge: Chargers
Special groups: Dolphins kick/punt protection groups haven’t been good of late. The 49ers averaged 17 yards on two punt returns and 25 yards on two kickoff returns. Jason Sanders has made all his kicks because the funk he hit proper earlier than the bye week two video games in the past. Cedrick Wilson Jr. had a 14-yard punt return.
Chargers kicker Cameron Dicker has made all 10 of his discipline targets from inside 50 yards whereas lacking one which was longer. DeAndre Carter has been strong on punt returns for LA, with an 11.7 common. Edge: Chargers
Intangibles: The Dolphins have gotten accustomed to being on the West Coast over the previous week, staying in California after the loss in Santa Clara. I give coach Mike McDaniel an edge over the Chargers’ Brandon Staley, and Miami, regardless of having Armstead’s pectoral pressure to observe, plus Tagovailoa and Waddle’s minor accidents, is more healthy than Los Angeles total. Edge: Dolphins
PREDICTION: Dolphins 31, Chargers 27