Miami Dolphins (0-0 SU, 0-0 ATS) vs. Los Angeles Chargers (0-1 SU, 1-0 ATS)
NFL Week 2
Date/Time: Sunday, September 17, 2017 at 4:05PM EST
Where: StubHub Center, Carson, California
by Scott, Expert Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: MIA +4.5/LAC -4.5
Over/Under Total: 45
The Miami Dolphins come to the StubHub Center in Carson to face the Los Angeles Chargers in week two AFC action. This will be the Chargers first game in Los Angeles since they moved to San Diego nearly 60 years ago. For Miami, this is actually their 2017 regular season debut after their week one game against Tampa was pushed back to their bye week in week 11. With hurricane concerns in Florida, they spent the week in LA getting ready for the game. Settling in and having to hold themselves back for a week as they eagerly awaited the start of the season, we should see a good Miami effort in this game. The same should be expected from the Chargers as they look to make a splash in their new town.
After starting last season at 1-4 and finishing 10-6 and making the playoffs, youd think there would be more buzz about Miami. Granted, there are no household names on the team and losing your starting QB in August is never good, but theres hardly any hype surrounding a team that seemed to find the right recipe in Adam Gases first season at the helm. After Tannehill went down, the Fins signed Jay Cutler. While Cutler wasnt thrilling in his last season and had already taken a broadcast job when Miami came calling, its not outside the realm of possibility that he will be an upgrade over Tannehill. Hes reborn on a team with promise with a lot better tools around him. Well see.
Miami has a tough task ahead of them with their bye week now being spent to make up the Tampa game, having to play 16 straight games. But thats something that will resonate later. Now, there could be a building-up affect. After ending the season with such promise, Miami was looking forward to the season and having to hold back could result in an explosion of energy this Sunday. They have faced adversity time and again in the past season and look for more of that after losing their QB, seeing their home opener cancelled, and being out of their element in LA.
Cutler has a nice collection of uncelebrated but valuable tools at his disposal. Granted, Jay Ajayi had a lot of peaks and valleys last season in his first full season at running back, but he gives the Dolphins a real weapon in the backfield. Guys like receivers Jarvis Landry, Kenny Stills, and DeVante Parker dont get a lot of hype, but make up a solid trio of receivers. If TE Julius Thomas can rediscover the form he had under Gase when he was coordinating the Denver offense, this aerial attack could really surprise some people.
Despite the run they went on to end the 2016 season, the Miami defense was a group that could really stand to improve if Miami wants to be a postseason factor this season. That really applies to their performance against the run, which was pretty bad in 2016. Up-front, there could be help on the way, with first-rounder Charles Harris joining fellow DE Cameron Wake, who is a real disruptive force. If Harris hits the ground running, it could open up things even more for the still-robust run stopper Ndamukong Suh. Guys like Kiko Alonso and Lawrence Timmons are fine linebackers, but they lost a few pieces in that unit with Koa Misi and rookie Raekwon McMillian going down to injury. The secondary is OK with Byron Maxwell and Xavier Howard at the corners and safeties Reshad Jones and Nate Allen.
The Chargers had a rough time of it on MNF, struggling to gain foothold on the road against division rival Denver. But they pounced late and took advantage of some late Denver mistakes. Two last-quarter touchdowns within less than two minutes of each other pulled them close and a 44-yard FG would have tied it, but rookie kicker Younghoe Koo was iced before getting his attempt blockeda painful way to lose a game. Can they make their debut in this building a positive one?
The Chargers offense struggled early. A long pass-interference penalty led to their only score in the first three quarters. Philip Rivers was facing a great corner duo and was forced to pick his spots carefully. Keenan Allen, Travis Benjamin, and Melvin Gordon all caught TD passes. But Gordon was mostly stymied on the ground, as the San Diego offensive line again struggled. To their credit, they allowed only one sack on the evening. All told, it was a pretty incomplete performance by the offense, albeit against one of the tougher defenses they will see this season.
The Denver offense was able to take a big lead and the Chargers defense wasnt all that impressive early. Still, there were positive signs. The secondary, led by a good corner tandem in Casey Hayward and Jason Verrett, was able to stop Denvers main targets from doing too much. And they were somewhat stout at times against the run. Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram each had 1.5 sacks and their growing presence in the pass-rushing department will go a long way this season. Bosa, in particular, looks to be a star with his knack of getting to opposing quarterbacks.
The Chargers still face a multitude of issues. Their first-round WR is still out, theyre a bit iffy on the offensive line, the linebacking corps is stretched a bit thin, and their late-game play always seems to come up short. The O-line faces a tough D-line this week and a team that might be shot out of a cannon after waiting an extra week to start the season. The Dolphins should be ready to hit the ground running enough on Sunday to cover the number.
Scott’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: Im betting on the Miami Dolphins plus 4.5 points. *** Bet your Fish/Bolts pick using your credit card at an online bookie where it WILL work for deposits and where you’ll receive a generous 100% signup bonus on your first deposit of $100 to $250! (Example: Deposit $250 and they’ll give you an extra $250 FREE!) Find this great offer at Bovada Sportsbook.