Miami Dolphins vs. Los Angeles Chargers
Date and Time: Sunday, September 17, 2017, 4:05 p.m. ET
Location: StubHub Center
Week 2 Opening NFL Odds at BookMaker.eu: Chargers -4, O/U 44.5
Dolphins vs. Chargers TV Coverage: CBS
After managing just 6, 8, 8, 7 and 6 wins the previous five seasons, the Miami came out of nowhere and won 10 games to punch their ticket to the playoffs for the first time since 2008. They split their eight road games but went 6-2 and 4-4 against the spread at home. Unfortunately, they went on to get smashed in the wild card round in the Steel City where their season came to a crashing halt. Still, there was much to build upon in Adam Gase’s first go round as head coach.
This year’s team suffered a major setback early on when Ryan Tannehill went down with a knee injury and was lost for the season. Upper management went out and signed Jay Cutler out of retirement to a one-year contract. Smokin’ Jay failed to live up to expectations in Chicago, but one of his best recent campaigns occurred the one season Gase was the Bears offensive coordinator. Miami has the ground game with Jay Ajayi toting the rock, but needs its passing game to allow for the offense to be more dynamic. Should that occur, Miami should be able to at the very least match last year’s output with it getting a pair of games against the Jets and Bills.
Through three quarters, it looked like the Chargers were going to go quietly into the night, take the defeat, and head back home looking to regroup. Then all of a sudden, the defense got back to doing what it does best; harassing quarterbacks and forcing turnovers. On successive Denver possessions, Los Angeles forced a couple of turnovers. Immediately after doing so, they punched the pigskin into the end zone and turned a 24-7 fourth quarter deficit into 24-21 in the blink of an eye.
Though the game tying field goal that would have sent the game into overtime was blocked, LA can head back home with its head held high knowing it gave the Broncos a major scare. It came very close to snapping its four game losing streak in the Mile High City, but close is something this franchise must do away with if it’s to grab the attention of the city of Los Angeles. Ten of the teams 11 losses came by eight points or less a season ago. That trend needs to come to an end if Anthony Lynn is to have much of any success leading this franchise.
Player to Watch
Eighteen carries for 54 yards against a rush defense that finished No. 28 a season ago. That’s what Melvin Gordon brought to the table in his 2017-18 debut. Not good! His lack of an impact forced Philip Rivers to take the game over himself and made the Chargers offense very one dimensional. It also saw Los Angeles lose the time of possession battle by nearly 10 minutes. Rivers doesn’t need much time to move the offense down the field, but it would be nice for the defense to get a breather every now and again. Gordon will get another crack at another bad run defense from a year ago in the Dolphins who gave up over 142 yards per game. If he falters once again, the Chargers backfield might giver the backups a couple more looks.
Dolphins vs. Chargers Picks
It’s going to be very interesting to see the kind of turnout LA gets with its stadium currently being built. Had it come back to beat the Broncos on Monday night, you know the StubHub center would have been filled to capacity. That said, I don’t think it will ultimately matter to the Chargers. They know they have something really nice in place right now, and most importantly, it’s healthy. That wasn’t the case at all last season. The Dolphins struggled mightily away from South Beach a year ago, and could enter this spot a but rusty. On top of that, it’s only managed to cash tickets at a 3-7 clip the last 10 times it went off the board as road dogs at the best NFL sportsbooks. On top of that, this is a terrible matchup for Jay Cutler who is nothing if not a turnover machine. He couldn’t have asked for a much worse matchup in his Dolphins debut. Look for Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram to make him pay!
Dolphins vs. Chargers Week 2 ATS Pick: Chargers -4 at BookMaker.eu
Dolphins vs. Chargers Score Prediction: Chargers 38 – Dolphins 20