Mandatory Credit: Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports
It’s Bears vs Dolphins in Week 7. After a surprising 33-20 Week 1 win over the Patriots, the Dolphins have regressed. Their only win since was a 38-14 win over the Raiders in London. In their three losses, they’ve put up 10, 15 and 24 points over the Bills, the Chiefs and the Packers. The Bears, meanwhile, try to put together a complete game at home, where they risk going to 0-3 for the first time in a decade.
The Dolphins are coming off a staggering home collapse against the Packers that sounds all too familiar for Bears fans. They let the Packers slip off the hook with an unlikely comeback. The Bears come home off a solid road win and their most complete effort as a team in their 27-13 victory over the Falcons.
When the Bears Have the Ball
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The Bears and their 14th ranked offense, averaging 370.2 yards per game, take on a Miami defense ranked 7th in the league, allowing just 331.6 YPG. The Bears offense, while showing improvement last week, only score an average of 23.8 PPG, behind the Dolphins, who average 24 point per game. The Dolphins allow an average of 24.8 PPG which is why they’re sporting a 2-3 record coming into Soldier Field.
Bears Rushing Offense (20th) vs Dolphins Rush Defense (13th)
On the surface, this matchup doesn’t look favorable for the Bears. They rank only 20th in the NFL, rushing for just 103.7 YPG. But you have to dig a little deeper. The Bears have faced some of the toughest rush defenses, four of the top seven run D’s in fact. The way the Bears deploy Matt Forte in the passing game, it’s like extended handoffs. The Dolphins give up an average of 110 yards per game and I don’t see any reason why the Bears couldn’t hit that figure at Soldier Field on Sunday.
Bears Passing Offense (9th, 265.6 YPG) vs Dolphins Pass Defense (9th, 221.6 YPG)
Mandatory Credit: Brad Barr-USA TODAY Sports
This is a pretty interesting matchup at all three levels. Up front, part of what makes the Dolphins pass D so good is their pass rush, headed up by Cameron Wake. He’s only got 3.5 sacks, but he’s got a killer first step and figures to be a handful for Jordan Mills or whoever mans the right tackle spot for the Bears. Linebackers Phillip Wheeler and Jelani Jenkins are having nice seasons and should close down the underneath passing game. On the outside, Brent Grimes and Cortland Finnegan should provide as good a challenge as Alshon Jeffery and Brandon Marshall have seen this season.
Last week the Bears broke out the deep passing game and it paid immediate dividends. Jay Cutler has been on point at Soldier Field in the first half of games but fallen apart in the second half. He’s thrown three of his six total picks in the second half for a paltry 58.1 passer rating. Martellus Bennett is tops among TE’s in terms of catches and will be called on to release on check downs if Cutler is under duress. Matt Forte leads all pass catchers with 46 receptions and he should continue to get his touches.