Oct 12, 2014; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; Miami Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill (17) scrambles against the Green Bay Packers in the second quarter of the game at Sun Life Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Barr-USA TODAY Sports
Overview: The Chicago Bears will welcome the Miami Dolphins to soldier field this week as both teams attempt to develop the consistency necessary to make a run at the playoffs. The Dolphins are sitting at 2-3 at this point in the season after a heartbreaking (for Bears fans too) 27-24 loss to the Green Bay Packers on Sunday. It’s difficult to get a bead on this Miami team so far this season. After a stunning week 1 victory over the Patriots, the Phins were blown out by both Buffalo and Kansas City. Their only other win of the season was a predictable drubbing of the hapless Raiders two weeks ago, but almost beating the Packers last week lets shows me that this team can play some pretty good football when they’ve got it together. Getting it together, however, has been the major issue for the Dolphins through the first five games this year.
Injuries: There’s not really much to report here. The Dolphins have had more than their fair share of injuries so far this season, but they were mostly healthy against the Packers and are looking like they will stay that way this week against the Bears. Former 3rd overall pick Dion Jordan will remain sidelined due to suspension, but if the Green Bay game is any indication their pass rush isn’t missing him. I think that the Bears’ offensive line is better than Green Bay’s, but Miami really roughed up Aaron Rodgers last week.
Key Matchups: Keep an eye on the trenches this week. The Bears’ offensive line is finally getting healthy, but they’ll be tested this week. The Dolphins have 14 sacks through five games this year, and really seem to be hitting their stride. They consistently harassed Aaron Rodgers last week, forcing him outside the pocket and affecting his throws. On the other side, it is absolutely imperative that the Bears’ defensive line contain Dolphins’ quarterback Ryan Tannehill. Tannehill has been largely inconsistent from the pocket this season, and the majority of his big plays have come while on the move. The former college wide receiver is also a dangerous threat when he takes off and runs, posting a 40 yard run against the Packers last week. The Bears must keep him surrounded and make him try to beat them with his arm and not his legs. Look for another big game from Chicago’s wide receivers, as the Dolphins are starting a pair of 5-10 corner backs that should have some difficulty matching up with the Bears’ monstrous dynamic duo.
The Way I See It: I think the Bears should win this game. As we’ve seen, however, “should win” and “will win” are two very different things for this Bears team. Looking over these two teams, the Bears match up exceptionally well against the Dolphins. If Jay Cutler can keep the ball out of the opponents’ hands the Bears will come out of this game victorious, but that’s a big “if”. Cutler was phenomenal last week against the Falcons, but how long will that last? I find it extremely unlikely that Jay has thrown his last interception this season. I think that winning the turnover battle (or at least keeping it even) will be the biggest factor for the Bears to come away with a win this week.
What do you guys think? Has Cutler turned a corner in his decision-making, or will “Bad Jay” make another appearance this week? Let me know in the comments.