Miami Dolphins (0-2 0-2 ATS) vs. San Diego Chargers (1-1 0-2 ATS) Qualcomm Stadium, San Diego, CA 4:15 PM ET, September 27, 2009 on CBS
By Jason Green at Predictem.com
Point Spread: Chargers -6.5 / Dolphins +6.5
The Dolphins are 0-2 and unlike last season, when they won the AFC East, they are not sneaking up on any teams. The Chargers are 1-1 and they needed a comeback against the Oakland Raiders in their opening game to win. If it were not for Phillip Rivers and the Chargers’ comeback in that game, this game would feature a couple of winless teams. Last week the Chargers were beat by the Baltimore Ravens 31-26 and the Dolphins also were beat losing to the Indianapolis Colts 27-23 on Monday night in a thriller.
The Chargers piled on the offense in the loss to the Ravens, as they had 474 total yards and pretty much all of it came from Phillip Rivers’ arm. The Chargers had 421 yards through the air, but what may have cost them is that Rivers had 2 INT’s.
The Ravens had a more balanced offense, as they had 181 yards passing and 130 yards rushing. The Chargers were on the Ravens’ 15-yard line with 33 seconds left, but Ray Lewis busted through the line to absolutely stuff Darren Sproles on a 4th and 2 play, which sealed the win for the Ravens.
Since the Ravens won, the Chargers did not cover the 1 point spread and since 57 points were scored the total of 41 points was easily surpassed, making “over” bettors happy.
In the loss to the Colts on Monday night the Dolphins executed their game plan of controlling the clock and keeping Peyton Manning and the dynamic offense of the Colts on the sidelines. The Dolphins dominated in time of possession 45:07 to Indianapolis’ 14.53. However, Manning was given the chance to win the game and he did exactly that, hitting a speedy Pierre Garcon for a 48-yard TD pass with only 3:18 remaining. Interesting fact: The 14:53 the Colts had the ball for was the lowest time of possession for a winning team in the NFL since 1977.
Miami lost by 4 points, so they did not cover the 3-point spread and the 50 points scored was over a TD more than the total of 41.5.
The Dolphins have been solid at stopping the run this season, as they have only given up an average of 64.5 yards per game on the ground through their first 2 games. However, their secondary has had problems stopping the pass giving up an average of 254 yards this season. That does not bode well for them since the Chargers are averaging 395.5 yards per game through the air.
The Dolphins’ RB duo of Ronnie Brown (179 yds 2 TD) and Ricky Williams (108 yds) has to run the ball well and control the clock. Basically, the Dolphins have to employ the same tactic they did last week against the Colts, as Rivers cannot pick apart the struggling Dolphins’ secondary if he is on the sidelines.
The Fish have been running the Wildcat offense well this season and it gives them another rushing weapon to throw at the Chargers.
Chad Pennington (359 yds 1 TD 2 INT) has definitely not picked up where he left off last season, as he has struggled in the Dolphins first 2 games. He will be facing a Chargers’ secondary that is giving up 200 passing yards per game.
It will also help the Chargers if they can pick up some yards on the ground, but they may be without RB LeDainian Tomlinson (55 yds 1 TD) for this game since he has a bum ankle.
The big key for this game will be each team’s defense, as the Chargers have to stop the Dolphins’ rushing offense and the Dolphins have to contain the Chargers’ passing offense.
Jason’s Pick: The Dolphins were great last week in keeping Manning on the sidelines, but can they do it 2 weeks in a row with Rivers? I think not. The Chargers are too powerful of an offensive team and when Miami gets down they’ll be in trouble because their not built to score fast or be a comeback team as evidenced by their poor 2 minute offense play at the end of last weeks game.