Miami Dolphins Vs. San Diego Chargers: Bold Predictions For Important AFC Week 10 Matchup
In this week’s version of “who would have thought,” the Miami Dolphins head to Southern California to face the San Diego Chargers on Sunday for an important matchup in the race for the AFC wild card. Both teams are solidly in contention for a playoff spot after starting the season with a 1-3 record. Kickoff is slated for 4:05 p.m (ET) at Qualcomm Stadium with the game to be televised by CBS.
Miami (4-4) is currently sitting in seventh place in the AFC, one-and-a-half games behind the sixth seed Denver Broncos (6-3). The Dolphins have won three straight games thanks to a newfound running game. The Phins are coming off a wild 27-23 Week 9 win over the New York Jets.
San Diego is currently tied with four at other teams for the ninth place in the conference at 4-5. The Chargers have won three-of-four after holding off the Tennessee Titans 43-35 on Sunday.
Miami leads the all-time series 16-15 though San Diego has won three-of-the-last five games, all at Qualcomm — which includes a 30-14 victory last year. The Chargers are 11-6 against the Dolphins when Miami have traveled west. Overall, the Chargers are 3-2 against the Phins at Qualcomm.
The Chargers will hold Jay Ajayi to under 100 yards rushing
The Dolphins’ fortunes changed once they decided to ride Ajayi. Ajayi has racked up 77 carries and 529 yards during the win streak, which includes two, 200-yard games. He is coming off a 24-carry, 111-yard and one touchdown performance against the Jets. The 23-year-old is averaging 6.0 yards per carry and six touchdowns.
San Diego has struggled mightily on defense. The Chargers are permitting 27.4 points along with 364.7 yards a game. However, the Chargers have been stout against the run, limiting opponents to 85.3 yards a game. They are also limiting opposing backs to 3.8 yards per carry.
San Diego has not allowed any running back to reach the century mark this year. Indianapolis Colts’ Frank Gore has had the best performance of any back, totaling 84 yards on 21 rushing attempts.
San Diego Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers will toss two touchdowns
Rivers needs two touchdown passes to reach 300 for his career. The 34-year-old is having his best campaign in the past three years, completing 63.4 percent of his passes for 2,560 yards and 17 touchdowns. He ranks fifth in the league in touchdowns and fourth in passing yards.
Rivers has thrown 12 touchdowns in his last six games. He completed 72.7 percent of his passes for 275 yards and two touchdowns against the Titans.
Rivers hasn’t had a lot of success versus the Dolphins. In six games against Miami, he has completed 60.54 percent of his passes for six touchdowns and six interceptions.
The Dolphins rank eighth in the league in pass defense limiting opposing quarterbacks to 226 yards per game. Opposing quarterbacks have completed 62.7 percent of their passes and earned a 90.7 rating as they have tossed 11 touchdowns and five interceptions. Safety Isa Abdul-Quddus leads the Phins with two interceptions.
Melvin Gordon will produce 150 all-purpose yards
Gordon had a career performance against the Titans last week, compiling 253 total yards of offense — which was the second most in franchise history. Against Tennessee, the 23-year-old had 196 rushing yards on 32 attempts for 6.1 yards per carry average. He also had four receptions for 65 yards.
Gordon has three, 100-yard rushing games overall this season and has totaled 150 all-purpose yards in three consecutive games. Overall, Gordon is averaging 85.3 yards per game on the ground to go along with 28 receptions for the season. The second-year player has 1,052 yards from scrimmage and 11 touchdowns.
Miami’s defense is not good against the run. The Dolphins have yielded 4.3 yards per carry to backs, the 12th-highest in the league. Overall, the Phins are 30th in the league permitting 136.1 rushing yards per contest. Three running backs have had 100-yard all-purpose games against Miami.
Either Chargers defensive end Joey Bosa or linebacker Melvin Ingram and Dolphins nose tackle Ndamukong Suh or defensive end Cameron Wake will record at least one sack
Neither team is a huge sack machine as they both rank in the middle of the pack.
San Diego is tied for 16th in the league with 18 sacks. The Chargers did not record a sack against the Titans despite quarterback Marcus Mariota dropping back to pass 43 times. They do, however, have seven sacks in their last four contests.
Ingram and Bosa are No. 1 and No. 2 on the team in sacks, combining for nine. Ingram has gotten to the quarterback twice in the past three games while Bosa has only played five games. Bosa has two multi-sack games.
Miami is 15th in the league with 19th sacks. The Dolphins have feasted on quarterbacks the past three games, tallying nine sacks. Wake has been a menace lately picking up four sacks in the past three games. He had two sacks against the Jets last week, and 1.5 against the Buffalo Bills the previous game.
Miami has surrendered 19 sacks but the Dolphins’ offensive line ranks 29th in the NFL per Football Outsiders. San Diego has given up 22 sacks though the Chargers are surrendering a sack on 6.6 percent of all drop backs, tied for 21st in the league.
Chargers win high scoring game by less than a touchdown.
San Diego is favored by 4.5 points according to Oddsshark.
Both teams rely on their offense to win games. The Chargers are the third-highest scoring team in the NFL averaging 29.8 points a game. The Chargers also are also the sixth worst defensive scoring team.
Offensively, San Diego has topped the 30-point mark in four-of-their-last six games. The Chargers could be without a key weapon as ESPN is reporting that wide receiver Travis Benjamin (sprained knee) is doubtful for Sunday’s game. Benjamin leads the team with 39 catches and is second on the team with 514 yards. He is also tied for second on the squad with three touchdowns.
Defensively, the Chargers have given up 30 or more points five times.
Miami has scored at least 20 points in their past three games. Overall, the Dolphins are averaging 21.6 points a game while surrendering 22.8 points a contest.
In addition, San Diego is 3-1 at home — outscoring their opponents 169-96. Miami is 0-3 on the road with a minus-24 point differential.
[Featured Image by Wilfredo Lee/AP Images]