Week 7 NFL Game Preview: Miami Dolphins at Chicago Bears

Week 7 NFL Game Preview: Miami Dolphins at Chicago Bears
The Bears are looking for their first win at home this season. Can they take down the Dolphins this Sunday?

The Miami Dolphins and Chicago Bears will go head-to-head for the just the 12th time ever on Sunday afternoon. The Dolphins lead the all-time series 7-4.

The Bears are 1-3 lifetime against Miami at Soldier Field, dropping the last meeting 31-13 in 2006. The last time these two teams played was in 2010, when the Bears shut out Brandon Marshall and the Dolphins 16-0 in Miami.

This time around Marshall is on the Bears' sidelines, both him and the team are very thankful for that.

Marshall has 28 touchdown receptions, while all Dolphins wide receivers combined have 24 since the trade took place in 2012.

Second-year Dolphin Mike Wallace leads Miami with four touchdown receptions, while Brian Hartline and rookie Jarvis Landry have pitched in at times.

The big four for the Bears is intimidating with Marshall, Alshon Jeffery, Martellus Bennett and Matt Forte hauling in a combined 138 receptions and 12 touchdowns.

Forte leads the way with 46 receptions, while Jeffery is averaging a team-high 82.5 receiving yards per game and Marshall has five touchdown grabs which is tops for the group.

This is a big game for the Bears, who are still searching for a win at home after dropping their season opener to Buffalo and their Week 4 matchup with divisional rival Green Bay.

Miami is reeling, dropping three of their last four, while the Bears have split their last four. Both teams will be hungry for a win, but the Bears certainly hold the edge as they look to continue their offensive success.

What the Dolphins are thinking

The Dolphins are very one dimensional on offense with Ryan Tannehill averaging only 217 passing yards per game. The third-year pro has eight touchdowns and five interceptions.

Lamar Miller is the feature back once again with Knowshon Moreno (ACL) officially out for the season. The Dolphins average the sixth-best rushing yard total per game (136.2).

Miami's defense has been steady, ranking eighth against the pass, allowing 221 yards per game and ranking 13th against the run, allowing 110 yards per game.

Tannehill and Co. are 1-1 on the road falling flat on their faces in Week 2, 29-10 to Buffalo and cruising past Oakland, 38-14 in Week 4.

The good thing for Miami right now is that they've been able to stay rather healthy, but the team's identity hasn't been fully figured out just yet.

They have an effective running game and a solid pass rush with physical cornerbacks. Cameron Wake is a flat out beast at defensive end and cornerback Brent Grimes is considered a top-five corner by Marshall.

What the Bears are thinking

The Bears want to continue their offensive breakthrough from last week after putting up big numbers and not turning the ball over at all.

A blueprint for success is there for the Bears to replicate once again. When Jay Cutler throws no interceptions, the Bears are 22-5. Cutler has to be wary of the pressure Miami brings in bunches much like they did last week against Aaron Rodgers and the Packers.

Forte has to be involved heavily again with rookie Ka'Deem Carey mixing in. With Marshall and Jeffery demanding extra attention on the outside, Forte is open more often than not for a check down in the middle of the field.

This seems to be a nice matchup for Bennett, who has four touchdowns this season already.

The Dolphins have allowed four scores to tight ends and considering that Bennett has been able to force mismatches in the red zone, he could be in line for a touchdown score on Sunday. Watch out for the Black Unicorn this week.

Don't forget about the Bears' top pass rusher Willie Young, who leads the NFL with seven sacks.

Veterans Jared Allen and Lamarr Houston have been making noise the past two weeks as well. Considering all that, the Dolphins could have their hands full if the Bears starting defensive linemen are able to get off to a fast start.

The Bears can't be thinking about Tom Brady and the Patriots just yet, but they certainly want to win these games that are considered gimmes after blowing two already this season.

A look ahead

The Bears will travel to New England next Sunday prior to a Week Nine bye. Read up on the five Bears players you should keep an eye on in Sunday's matchup, here.

Injury Report

Bears - OUT: Chris Conte (shoulder), Lance Briggs (ribs); QUESTIONABLE: Jon Bostic (back); PROBABLE: Jermon Bushrod (knee/ankle), Shea McClellin (hand), D.J. Williams (neck), Sherrick McManis (quad/knee), Ahmad Dixon (hamstring), Jordan Mills (foot).

---McClellin is back after missing the past four games, while Bushrod is set to start at left tackle after being out the last two weeks.

---Williams will start to at middle linebacker after missing last week's game in Atlanta. Mills got in a full practice on Friday after being limited on Thursday and he should be good to go.

---McManis and Dixon's returns will be a big boost to the special teams unit.

DolphinsDOUBTFUL: S Jimmy Wilson (hamstring); QUESTIONABLE: C Samson Satele (hamstring); PROBABLE: LT Branden Albert (elbow), RB Lamar Miller (knee), QB Ryan Tannehill (ankle), CB Cortland Finnegan (neck), WR Brandon Gibson (hamstring), WR Brian Hartline (finger), LB Koa Misi (ankle), G Shelley Smith (knee), G Dallas Thomas (shoulder), LB Philip Wheeler (shoulder, thumb)

---Wilson is the lone Dolphin expected to be out this Sunday after being out of practice this week with a hamstring issue. Miami will turn to either Will Davis or Jamar Taylor at nickelback. Both players are in their second year.

---Satele was limited all week with a hamstring injury and if he's out Mike Pouncey would likely slide over to center, while Shelley Smith takes Pouncey's spot at right guard.

Final Score Prediction

Bears 30, Dolphins 17

Season prediction record: (2-4).

Qwikcast.com Weather Report

Mostly sunny in the morning then becoming partly sunny. Highs in the mid 50s. Southwest winds 5 to 10 mph in the morning increasing to 10 to 15 mph in the afternoon.

Thoughts on this Dolphins-Bears matchup on Sunday afternoon? Make sure to weigh in on the comment section below.

 

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