For the Raiders, their loss to the San Diego Chargers doesn't necessarily signify the end to their season, but they do have a serious void in their passing game and will need to rectify that if they hope to score significant points this season.
The Dolphins have problems all over, and rookie quarterback Ryan Tannehill looked a bit over-matched against the Houston Texans last week. His three interceptions highlight his poor performance, and with two coming off batted balls at the line of scrimmage, he is certainly in a position to make better reads at the line of scrimmage.
The Dolphins will most likely struggle in a tough AFC East, but with Reggie Bush and a few stud playmakers on defense, they could make things interesting week-to-week. For the Raiders, a tough loss to division foe San Diego was a tough pill to swallow, but if they can give Darren McFadden a little help on offense, Carson Palmer will be able to move the ball around to different targets.
Here's the important information going into Sunday's tilt, followed by the spread, fantasy players to watch and more.
Which team will win?
Where: Sun Life Stadium, Miami, FL.
When: Sunday, Sept. 16 at 1 p.m. ET
Live Stream: NFL Sunday Ticket
Spread: Raiders -2.5 (via Vegas Insider)
The Raiders would seem like the safe bet for this matchup of struggling teams. Even with Miami playing at home, the team showed last week they are not ready to compete with their newly-minted roster. Tannehill could end up being a very good quarterback in this league, but after his struggles last week all signs point to the Raiders doing enough to contain the big right-hander.
Oakland had their share of special teams miscues Monday night, which clearly swung momentum in the Chargers' favor. Oakland did, however, gain more yards on offense (321-258) than their counterpart, and held Philip Rivers to only one touchdown on five red-zone trips. That kind of work inside the opponents' 20 will help Sunday, so take the 2.5 points in this one.
Over/Under: 39 (via Vegas Insider)
Both teams can get after the QB on the defensive end, with Miami's Randy Starks having an impressive showing in Week 1 with two sacks and six tackles, and Cameron Wake is always a threat to make game-changing plays.
The Raiders' defensive line looked stout against the Chargers, holding them to only 32 rushing yards on 20 attempts. With Richard Seymour leading the way, running back Reggie Bush could find very few holes on Sunday. I see this being a low-scoring affair, with total points coming in below 40.
Key Injuries: (Via ESPN)
Dolphins: Anthony Armstrong (questionable) and Daniel Thomas (questionable, concussion)
Raiders: Denarius Moore (probable), Rolando McClain (questionable, ankle injury) Jacoby Ford (out, foot surgery)
Fantasy Big Plays
Raiders: Darren McFadden
McFadden didn't put up huge numbers on Monday night, but his ability to catch the ball out of the backfield and make things happen for Carson Palmer ensures he can go for big yards almost every week. Against a Miami defensive unit that has struggled with pass-catching playmakers, McFadden should see the ball early and often.
Miami has always been a solid unit against the run, but McFadden brings more than just a running aspect to the game, and should beat them in the air consistently.
Dolphins: Davone Bess
With the Raiders showing a strong ability to stop the run on Monday night, Reggie Bush will most likely struggle to get yards on Sunday. That means Tannehill will look to Davone Bess to move the chains and make things happen for the young offense.
Bess is quick and can exploit the Raiders' secondary. He only had five catches for 45 yards on Sunday, but if Tannehill can avoid the turnovers and make quicker reads, Bess should be open often and serve as a security blanket for the rookie.
Key to Raiders Win: Carson Palmer
Palmer played within himself on Monday night, limiting the mistakes while completing 32 of 46 passes for 297 yards and a touchdown. A performance like that will continue to put Oakland in position to win football games, and I see Palmer having success in Miami this weekend.
Limiting the turnovers is key for Palmer, who, when given the right weapons, can put up very solid numbers. McFadden will be available to catch passes out of the backfield, and with wideout Denarius Moore making his expected return this week, he will have another important option to throw to. Miami has problems in the secondary and I see Palmer exploiting it on Sunday.
Key to Miami Win: Randy Starks
Starks was an animal on the defensive line last week, recording two sacks and six tackles, and did what he could to slow down a very potent Houston Texans offense. With Darren McFadden lining up on the other side of the ball, Starks will be key in making things happen at the line of scrimmage.
Seeing as he can play defensive end and nose tackle, he is a piece that can be moved around and cause problems all game. Miami needs to win the battles in the trenches early on, and Starks will be the man to do so if they want to stop the Raiders.
Raiders 24, Dolphins 13