Chargers vs. Dolphins: Who has the edge?


CHARGERS (0-1) vs. DOLPHINS (0-0)
When: Sunday, 1:05 p.m.
Where: StubHub Center
Line: Chargers by 3.5 points
TV/Radio: CBS; 640-AM, 980-AM (Spanish)

CHARGERS OFFENSE vs. DOLPHINS DEFENSE

The Chargers’ offense was stop-and-go in Denver this past Monday, but that was against a top-tier Broncos defense. Miami’s aging unit, even with star defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh, isn’t nearly as stout. The Dolphins gave up 2,247 yards on the ground last year, more than anyone else in the NFL except the Browns and the 49ers. Anthony Lynn reiterated this week that he wants to run the ball, so don’t be surprised if Melvin Gordon tops 20 carries for just the seventh time in his career. Philip Rivers threw four interceptions the last time he faced the Dolphins, but he should be much fresher than he was in that Week 10 loss. EDGE: CHARGERS

DOLPHINS OFFENSE vs. CHARGERS DEFENSE

Melvin Ingram isn’t worried about Jay Cutler. Maybe he should be. Chargers cornerback Jason Verrett is week-to-week with a knee injury, which means Cutler has a chance to pick on Trevor Williams, an undrafted second-year pro. Williams is moving from nickel to outside corner, which means more snaps for fifth-round pick Desmond King. After playing just three defensive snaps in his NFL debut, King could find himself matched up with two-time Pro Bowler Jarvis Landry, arguably the best slot receiver in the league. And don’t forget Jay Ajayi; the third-year tailback is the engine of the Miami offense, and had three 200-yard games last season.

But Ingram wasn’t just spouting off. He and defensive end Joey Bosa make for one of the league’s top pass-rushing duos. If they knock Cutler around and cause turnovers, they could swing the game. EDGE: EVEN

SPECIAL TEAMS

The Chargers allowed a potential game-tying field goal to be blocked in Denver, as well as two returns for more than 30 yards. Receiver Travis Benjamin also managed to lose three yards on his only punt return. The Dolphins added a new punter and kicker, respectively, in rookie Matt Haack and former Pro Bowler Cody Parkey. They also finished top-10 last season in both kick and punt return coverage. EDGE: DOLPHINS

COACHING

Miami hired Adam Gase over Lynn two years ago, and ended up going to the playoffs for the first time in nearly a decade. Gase has forged himself a reputation as one of the profession’s young stars, and could be the ideal person to squeeze the last bit of juice out of Cutler’s career. Lynn could still very well turn into an excellent…



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