The 4-5 Miami Dolphins take on the 4-5 San Diego Chargers in a game both teams desperately need to keep their fading playoff hopes alive in South Beach today in a 4:05 kickoff on CBS.
Both teams are coming off of losses, Miami losing on Monday Night in Tampa Bay to the once winless Bucs 22-19, while the Chargers lost at home to the Denver Broncos 28-20.
Let's take a look at the teams to see how the matchup.
Miami comes into the game ranking 30th in the NFL in total offense generating 303.9 yards per game. The pass offense ranks 21st in the NFL generating 216.9 yards per game, while the run game comes in at 25th generating 87.0 yards per game. Miami ranks 20th in points per game at 21.4. Miami faces a Chargers defense that ranks 29th in total defense giving up 394.1 yards per game. The Chargers rank 28th in passing defense giving up 279.6 yards per game while ranking 20th in rush defense giving up 114.6 yards per game. The Chargers rank 12th in points allowed, giving up 22.4 points per game. The Chargers have 22 sacks.
To put it kindly, this is a Miami offense that has gotten progressively worse over the past few weeks, culminating in about as bad an offensive performance as you would want to see last week in regards to the run game, as the Dolphins generated a grand total of 2 yards rushing last Monday Night. An offensive line that was not good to begin with, has gotten worse with the lost of OLG Richie Incognito and OLT/ORT Jonathan Martin, and hopes of any progress made for the better seems to be a pipe dream. That said, the Dolphins have to continue to push the run game with RB Lamar Miller, as he has big play ability. In the pass game, the Dolphins need to max protect more to provide Tannehill to get the ball to WR Mike Wallace, Brian Hartline and a pleasant surprise last week in WR Rishard Matthews along with TE Charles Clay. Can the Dolphins create enough offense against a Chargers defense that is far from being elite, that is the question today.
Defensively, the Dolphins come in ranked 20th in total defense giving up 357.1 yards per game. Miami ranks 16th in pass defense giving up 238.0 yards per game while giving up 119.1 yards per game, which ranks 25th. Miami ranks 15th in points allowed at 23.2 points per game. Miami has 27 sacks as a team. They face a Chargers offense that ranks 7th in yards per game at 395.4 yards, while ranking 4th in pass offense at 288.7 yards per game. The Chargers rank 19th in rushing offense at 106.8 yards per game, but only rank 16th in points at 23.6 points per game.
The Dolphins defense, a unit that was thouight to be a plus for Miami has been a disappointment in 2013. A run defense that use to be dominant now ranks 25th in the NFL. Can this unit do what is neccesary to contain a Chargers offense that has generated a ton of yardage, but has not been as productive in scoring points as you would think considering the yardage they produce. Pressure on Phillip Rivers is key, and last week against Tampa Bay, the defense had trouble generating pass rush, and the face a Chargers OL that has given up 16 sacks in 9 games.
Both teams need this game very badly to keep their playoff hopes alive, but the drama that follows the Dolphins right now seems to be something this team will not be able to recover from. I thought they would come out last week wanting to show people they were a unified team. They came out against Tampa Bay flat and uninspired. Until I see something that makes me think this team can get thing turned around, it hard to see this team making the playoffs and possibly even finishing at .500.
I am picking the Chargers to win this game 24-20.
Let's go Miami.