The San Diego Chargers (4-5) travel to the east coast this Sunday to take on the Miami Dolphins (4-5), kick off is at 4:05 ET. Both teams are looking to get back on track and make a run for the sixth and final AFC wildcard spot. Miami is coming off a disappointing loss, getting upset by the winless Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Thursday Night Football last week.
The Dolphins are also still trying to get passed the huge distraction with offensive linemen Richie Incognito and Jonathan Martin bullying scandal. By now everyone, even non-sports fans, have heard about the story. This could still be in the backs of players and coaches minds, and we will have to see how they come out after a lackluster performance against the Bucs.
The Chargers are coming off two straight losses by a total of 14 points. An overtime loss in Washington and a valiant effort at home against the Denver Broncos. The defense allowed the lowest point total the Broncos offense has put up this season (28), the offense just wasn’t consistent enough throughout the game to get the W.
On paper, you got to like the Chargers chances as they’ve played well all season but have just been unable to put together 4 strong quarters together. It’s time for the Chargers coaching staff to get the troops playing fearless and it’s time to go all out, no more conservative play calling. Like the old saying goes, “The time is now!”
Like a rapper making a car pun, I got the keys to the game.
Getting pressure on Tannehill
The Dolphins offensive line has been about as porous as a kitchen sponge. They have allowed the most sacks this season as Tannehill has gone down 37 times already. The Chargers front seven should be licking their chops for this matchup, and will have to disrupt the timing of Tannehill if the secondary is going to
Corey Liuget needs to have a big game getting pressure on Tannehill. (Photo Credit: Hayne Palmour IV/ NC Times)
have a chance to contain any Miami receivers. Even with all the injuries to the Chargers defense, guys like Corey Liugit and Donald Butler can wreck havoc to the Miami offense. Speaking of injures, lets move on to key number two.
Dealing with injuries
At this point in the season, every team is dealing with a myriad of injuries, guys are banged up and playing hurt. The Chargers have been bitten with the injury bug bad this season. The latest injury was sustained by linebacker Larry English who was placed in IR this week with a biceps injury, ending his season. The Chargers signed Adrian Robinson to fill Larry English’s spot. The linebacking core will also be without pass rushing veteran Jarret Johnson who is still battling a hamstring injury. First round pick, linebacker Melvin Ingram, is still on the Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list, so who knows if we will see him this season, especially if the remaining playoff spot keeps slipping away.
I mentioned the poor play Dolphins offensive line this season. It has been a surprisingly efficient season for the Chargers O-line despite numerous injuries and shuffling guys around. This will be happening again in Miami tomorrow as both starting left tackle King Dunlap and center Nick Hardwick are unable to play. King Dunlap is battling head injury and Hardwick got a neck stinger. The loss of Hardwick is especially tough because of the leadership he brings to the offensive line and his relationship with Phillip Rivers. He has been the glue that has held the line together this year even with all the new faces and position swapping.
The Chargers need this game if they want to make the playoffs; I think we have said that for about 3 weeks now. Realistically, though, a loss tomorrow to the Dolphins and this season is all but over for the Bolts. The fans can start their mock drafts and we can discuss some potential free agents that we can swoon to the sunny confines of San Diego.
Almost forgot! There was a little factoid floating around this week about how the Chargers haven’t won in Miami in 32 years! I think we’re due!
Prediction: Chargers 27 Dolphins 19