The Chargers could be playing their final home game at Qualcomm stadium (but probably not), as they finish off their 2016 home schedule by welcoming the Miami Dolphins (5-8) to town.
When: Sunday December 20, 1:25 pm PT
Where: Qualcomm Stadium, San Diego, CA
The Line: Chargers (-1)
The Dolphins own a slight advantage in the all-time series against the Chargers with a 16-14 lead. The Chargers, however, are 10-6 when they play the Fins at home. They also were show cased in one of the greatest playoff games ever. The “Epic In Miami” was the 1981 AFC Divisional game, that was won by Dan Fouts and the Chargers in OT, 41-38.
The Bolts’ offense has been on the struggle bus recently as they have scored just 3 points in three of their last four games. With injuries all over the offense, Rivers has had no time to throw, and no to throw it to!
Despite the offenses handicaps, Rivers still leads the NFL in completions and attempts and is third in passing yards with 3,976. He could be again without receiver Stevie Johnson who is doubtful for Sunday’s game with a groin injury. Rivers could also be missing some starting offensive lineman up front as King Dunlap has been ruled out, and Orlando Franklin is questionable with a slight MCL sprain suffered in last weeks loss.
Some good news however, is that it looks like Dontrelle Inman will play after sustaining a scary neck injury a few weeks ago against Denver.
Danny Woodhead and Melvin Gordon will both get work out of the backfield. Woodhead leads the NFL in receiving yards by a running back with 601. Gordon has also gained over 600 yards on the season but his have come on the ground. He has yet to score his first NFL touchdown, I’m saying he plunges in for 6 this weekend.
While the offense has been driving the struggle bus, the Bolts’ defense has been test driving a new Mercedez Benz. They have allowed just 10 points in back-to-back weeks (hence the test drive and no purchase yet). Jason Verrett has also picked off the opposing QB for two weeks straight, and leads the team with 3 INT’s on the season. He will have another tough matchup if he is responsible for slowing down Jarvis Landry.
Jerry Attoachu has also been played well the past few weeks. He forced a fumble on a punt return last week and added a sack against Alex Smith to give him 5.5 on the season. If he can continue to fly off the edge as a pass rusher, Ryan Tannehill is going to be in for a long day.
Fins QB Ryan Tannehill leads the offense, that has been up and down for most of the season. He has thrown for over 3,000 yard with 22 TD’s and 11 Int’s on the season. The Dolphins are coming off a hard-fought, but losing effort, Monday Night Football game against the Giants as Tannehill was 25/41 for 236 yards and a TD.
Lamar Miller is a stud Rb coming out of the backfield, but only seems to play the first half of games. He went for 69 yards and 2 TD’s last week in the first half against the G-men, but was given just 5 carries in the second half.
Tannehill’s favorite target is second-year wideout Jarvis Landry, from LSU. They line him up all over the field, but he will mostly play the slot. They give him handoffs on end arounds, any way they can get him the ball in space, they will do. He is dynamic after the catch and also handles punt and kickoff return duties. He has 89 receptions and 920 yards on the season. He’s on pace to become the first Dolphin’s player with 100 receptions and 1,000 yards in a season.
The Fins seem to have playmakers all over the field on D, but just haven’t been able to put it together for the entire season. They made DT Ndamukong Suh the highest paid player in the league, signing him as a free-agent but has just 4 sacks in his first season in South Beach.
Their other talented pass-rusher Cameron Wake went down with a knee injury mid-season and is done for the year, but he had 7 sacks already. Olivier Vernon is replacing him in the starting lineup and has 6.5 sacks, not a bad replacement to have.
Cornerback Brent Grimes has been one of the most consistent, and often underrated, players in the league. He has snagged three picks on the season, which is second to Safety Reshad Jones.
What We’re Watching:
It seems like every week I’m talking about Jason Verrett, but he’s just a stud. I’d like to see how the defense of the Chargers attempts to cover Jarvis Landy because they line him up in so many different looks, it’s going to be very hard to prevent him from making an impact.
I’d also like to see Rivers connect with Gates for 2 TD’s as emotions will be running high at the Q. I doubt it’s the last game for the Bolts at the Q, but it’d be nice to see the home schedule end with some familiar faces.
Two not very good teams at all. 27-23 Chargers.