Miami Dolphins (5-3) at Chicago Bears (3-5)
Kicking off: Noon, Soldier Field, Chicago.
TV: CBS (Kevin Harlan, Trent Green, Melanie Collins)
Radio: WBBM AM-780, FM-105.9 (Jeff Joniak, Tom Thayer, Mark Grote)
Spanish Radio TUDN AM-1200, Latino Mix FM-93.5 (Omar Ramos, Miguel Esparza)
Stream: fubo TV (Sign up for a free trial)
Betting line: Dolphins by 3 1/2 (over/under 45 1/2). Latest betting information at SI.com Sportsbook.
BearDigest Recording: 6-2, 4-4 vs spread, 3-5 vs total.
BearDigest selection: Dolphins 24, bears 20
The series: The 14th game in the series. Miami leads 9-4 and is 4-1 in Chicago. The Bears’ only other win against Miami at Soldier Field was in the 1988 season opener.
- Dolphins coach Mike McDaniel is 5-3 in his first year as coach. McDaniel is the former running game coordinator for the 49ers.
- Bears coach Matt Eberflus is 3-5 his freshman year and as an assistant his teams were 5-1 against Miami.
Last week: The Dolphins were twice down by 14 points but were able to combine to beat the Detroit Lions 31-27 with a 1-yard TD run in the third quarter by Alec Ingold giving Miami a definitive lead. Tua Tagovailoa threw for 382 yards for 29 of 36 with three TDs, two to Jaylen Waddle and on to Mike Gesicki. The 138.7 passer rating Tagovailoa had was the highest for a single game in his career.
The Bears rebounded from a 28-7 deficit to 28-23, but Dallas’ running attack took the lead behind Tony Pollard and the Cowboys pulled away with a 49-29 win. Khalil Herbert ran for 99 yards and Justin Fields threw for 151 and two TDs while rushing for 60 yards and one TD. Field’s 120 passer rating was the best of his career for a single game.
This season: The Dolphins are looking for their third straight win, having started the season with three straight wins and then three straight losses to Cincinnati, the Jets and Minnesota. QB Tua Tagovailoa has improved his numbers drastically in the past, averaging 9.0 yards per attempt with 12 TDs, three interceptions and a 112.7 passer rating, leading receivers Jaylen Waddle and former chief Tyreek Hill in particular is owed. Waddle has 42 catches for 727 yards and Hill is close to 1,000 yards with 69 catches for 961 yards. Miami tried to improve on one of its weaknesses by acting for defensive end Bradley Chubb, who has 26 career sacks in 49 games.
The Rebuilding Bears ripped through their defenses by trading captain and NFL tackle leader Roquan Smith a week after the trade with franchise single-season leader Robert Quinn. They teamed with linebacker AJ Klein to grab a second-round pick and a fifth-round pick for Smith, then traded their own second-round pick to Pittsburgh for WR Chase Claypool. The Bears lead the league in rushing and rushing attempts with 285 carries for 1,507 yards, while Khalil Herbert has a team-high 563 yards and fields 424 yards. The Bears are 2-0 against the AFC this year, with victories over Houston and New England. Fields has a 97.6 passer rating with five TD passes, two interceptions and 64% completions while registering 7.91 yards per attempt in his last four games. Tight end Cole Kmet ended a string of games dating back to 2020 last week with no TDs. WR Darnell Mooney is still looking for his first TD of the year
Match: The Dolphins are seventh in offense, third in passing and 28th in rushing. Miami is 23rd on defense, 26th against the pass and sixth against the run. Miami is 16th in scoring and 22nd in goal defense.
The Bears rank 27th in offense, 32nd (last) in passing, and first in rushing. Chicago is 16th in defense, fifth in pass defense and 31 seconds to stop the run. The Bears are 23rd in scoring and 18th in goal defense.
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- Dolphins: WR River Crafraft (knee) out; T Austin Jackson is doubtful (ankle/calf), T Terron Armstead (toe/Achilles), TE Tanner Conner (knee), LB Jaelen Phillips (square), S Eric Rowe (hip) are questionable.
- Bears: Tackle Larry Borom (concussion) has cleared concussion log and is questionable, while defenseman Kyler Gordon (hip) and safety Eddie Jackson (hip) are questionable but had full drills on Friday. Guard Ja’Tyre Carter is questionable (illness).
A notice: The Bears defense has given up just two second-half touchdowns at home this year. … Justin Fields has a 5-13 record as a starter, but he’s 4-3 as a starter against AFC teams. … Miami is attempting to go 6-3 for the second time since 2001. … According to NFL NextGen Stats, Tagovailoa has 32 completions for 10 air yards to midfield, twice as many as the next. best NFL passer. … The 1,688 yards rushed by a teammate in eight games is the most in league history. …
Miami starting guard Liam Eichenberg went injured on Tuesday after suffering a knee injury against the Lions. … The Bears started left guard Cody Whitehair from injured reserve this week and he is expected to start.
Next week: The Dolphins will host Cleveland on November 13 at noon. … The Bears will host Detroit at noon on November 13 at Soldier Field.
Important individual matchups
Bears CB Jaylon Johnson vs. Dolphins WR Tyreek Hill
Surprisingly, Hill doesn’t have speed in NextGen Stats’ top 20 this year. Don’t waddle either. But the speed is there. Johnson has garnered a lot of respect from QBs who have shunned him. He has only set 17 targets, allowing for 52.9% completions and a 77.1 passer rating. Those are career bests. It’s much easier for opponents to target rookies Kyler Gordon or Jaquan Brisker or Kindle Vildor than Johnson. It won’t stop the Dolphins from attacking Hill if he’s covered by Johnson. Hill’s natural spot is on the right side of the formation, but the Dolphins move both receivers to every spot, so it wouldn’t be surprising if Johnson sometimes showed up at left cornerback and covered Hill this game.
Bears CB Kyler Gordon vs. Dolphins WR Jaylen Waddle
Waddle mostly lines up on the outside, but when they put him inside the slot he really did damage and turned 10-yard passes into 50-yard gains. Gordon ranks 88th out of 110 cornerbacks scored by Pro Football Focus and had a typical rookie year. He played a great game against New England and against Washington, struggled in many others. Waddle is lightning fast. The Bears call getting your hands on receivers critical, but Waddle is so quick it’s not always easy to pull off.
Bears T Braxton Jones vs Dolphins DE Bradley Chubb
Chubb was traded to the Dolphins and now has his $110 million contract – all for a player with a double-digit sack season, and that as a rookie. Chubb is healthy now and that was his real problem. The Dolphins haven’t been bad at getting sacks from other sources, but nobody has more than three this year and they’ll be counting on the Heat to come from Chubb in his first game with the team. Jones didn’t have a bad rookie year at all, finishing 30th out of 78 tackles ranked by Pro Football Focus. He committed just three penalties and allowed four sacks. There is no real size or speed advantage for either side here. It’s just the experience advantage over Jones and he’s had enough this year.
Bears DT Justin Jones vs. Dolphins LG Robert Jones
Jones did not have a good season by PFF measures, finishing 111th out of 126 center backs rated. He will occasionally make a big play but will occasionally be off track and give up big runs. His pass rush was respectable, ranking in the middle of the pack of DTs but ranked 112th in run defense. Robert Jones replaces Liam Eichenberg, the tackle of Notre Dame’s sophomore who struggled after going inside to guard. Eichenberg suffered a knee injury in the last game. Jones is from Rockford, Illinois. and played for East High. More of a strength blocker than Eichenberg, the Middle Tennessee state product weighs in at 6-4,334 pounds. He had a start last year and has 102 offensive games in the league. According to Pro Football Focus, Jones has allowed one sack in his career. The key in this duel is Justin Jones’ speed and his outburst, knocking Robert Jones off the ball.
Bears LB Jack Sanborn vs. Dolphins TE Mike Gesicki
Gesicki isn’t having the kind of year he did last year when he made 73 catches, but the Dolphins would rather have the big plays from their wideouts. Gesicki has 21 catches and is 6-foot-6, 247 pounds. Sanborn is 6-2, 236 and would make his first start if the Bears go that route, and it appears they are. Without Roquan Smith and Matthew Adams, they don’t have many options. Sanborn’s strength is definitely not in a tight end of the formation, but the bears will likely zone and have him in the middle of the zone. He has five tackles this year and has only played 14 defensive reps so far.
Bears WR Darnell Mooney vs. Dolphins CB Xavien Howard
Mooney now has someone in Chase Claypool to level the field for him, although he probably won’t play as big a role this week as he does in the future. Mooney has a matchup advantage over the Dolphins cornerback he’s attacking, but left cornerback Howard is ranked 85th out of 110 cornerbacks by PFF. He’s definitely had better years, like 2020 when he led the NFL with 10 interceptions. He has 27 career interceptions in six seasons, but this year he has been struggling with groin injuries and has a 123.7 passer rating when targeted. According to Sportradar, he has allowed 13 TD passes in the past three years, including three this year. Mooney has been heating up from a cold start on the new offense with 21 receptions and 337 yards (16.05 ypg) in the last five games. He’s still looking for the first TD of the year.
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