This past Sunday, Miami (3-2) was well on its way to opening the season 4-1. Leading 17-0 mid-way through quarter three, the Dolphins suffered a collapse. Cincinnati punched Miami in the mouth, en-route to scoring 27 unanswered points, 14 on two costly turnovers from quarterback Ryan Tannehill.
Poor offensive line play from Miami was the ultimate result in the meltdown. The Dolphins now return home to Hard Rock Stadium for the first time since September 23, defeating the Oakland Raiders in come-from-behind fashion, 28-20. The hot Chicago Bears (3-1), fresh off a bye, are paced by quarterback and former North Carolina product Mitchell Trubisky, who threw a career high six touchdowns in their win, week four versus Tampa Bay.
These two teams last squared off at Soldier Field in 2014. Miami leads the all-time series, 8-4-0.
DATE: Sunday, October 14
TIME: 1:00 p.m. ET
SITE: Hard Rock Stadium, Miami Gardens, Florida
LINE: CHI -3.5, O/U: 43.5
Radio: Dolphins Radio Network, KISS 99.9 FM, 560 WQAM, 1210 WNMA (Spanish)
Radio Announcers: English broadcast - Jimmy Cefalo, Bob Griese, Joe Rose, Kim Bokamper; Spanish broadcast - Raul Striker Jr., Eduardo Martell
Three Positional Matchups
1. Mitchell Trubisky vs. Ryan Tannehill/Brock Osweiler
Trubisky (91/130, 945 YDS, 8 TD, 3 INT), the second pick in the 2017 NFL Draft, threw a career-high six touchdowns in a 48-10 beatdown versus Tampa Bay two weeks ago. Tannehill (85/129, 972 YDS, 8 TD, 5 INT) was at fault for two blunder-type interceptions in the fourth quarter against Cincinnati this past Sunday. The good news for Miami’s offense is WR Jakeem Grant is expected to play Sunday, after sustaining an injury in the Bengals contest. Grant is a perennial force in the return/passing game.
The bad news is that an injury Tannehill sustained a few weeks back (reportedly an AC joint sprain) might actually keep him from playing on Sunday, forcing backup Brock Osweiler to take charge. It would at least partly explain why Tannehill's play has dramatically fallen off in the past two weeks, but one can only hope that a healthy Osweiler is better than an injured Tannehill.
2. Chicago’s Front 7 vs. Miami’s OL
Chicago’s ferocious defense ranks second in the league, only behind Jacksonville. The Windy City is sure excited to have Khalil Mack on their side. Mack, who was acquired from the Oakland Raiders, signed a six-year, $141 million contract in early September.
Through four games, Mack has made his presence felt, producing five sacks. Miami’s offensive line received positive news Friday, learning that LT Laremy Tunsil is out of the concussion protocol, and is expected to play Sunday. Keep an eye out for Mack, DE Johnathan Bullard, and rookie LB Roquan Smith against a recently struggling Dolphins offensive line.
3. Running back - Jordan Howard vs. Kenyan Drake/Frank Gore
The run game for Miami was absolutely invisible versus Oakland and against New England. Last Sunday, the Dolphins were able to open up some holes for Frank Gore and Kenyan Drake. Miami uses the flip-and-flop formation between the two.
Gore had 12 carries for 63 yards, whereas Drake gained 46 yards on 6 carries. It will be interesting to see if Miami’s offensive line can open holes Sunday against a stout Bears run defense. Howard, a 2016 fifth round pick, has one touchdown in four matches this season.
This story was written by Brandon Liguori. Follow him on Twitter: @BLiguori98
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