NFL Preview: Breaking Down Dolphins-Bears On Thursday Night Football

Danny DolphinAnalyst INovember 17, 2010

The Miami Dolphins take on the Chicago Bears on Thursday Night Football. Let's break it down. 

Kickoff: 8:20 PM ET, Thursday, November 18, 2010

Where: Sun Life Stadium, Miami, FL

TV/Radio: NFL Network, 940 WINZ

Spread: Miami by 1

Last Week: Miami beat Tennessee 29-17, and Chicago beat Minnesota 27-13.

Miami Injuries

  • QB Chad Pennington (IR)
  • C Joe Berger (Out-Knee)
  • S Chris Clemons (Out-Hammy)
  • QB Chad Henne (Doubtful-Knee)
  • OT Jake Long (Questionable-Shoulder)

Chicago Injuries

  • Pisa Tinoisamoa (Out)

Game Notes

  • Rookie safety Reshad Jones, who had a sack and an interception last week, will start in place of Clemons at free safety.
  • Reserve lineman Casey Procter will start at center in place of Berger.
  • Long practiced on a limited basis this week and should start.
  • Jay Cutler has a smoking hot girlfriend.
  • Check out the song below by Solo D, who brings his Miami Dolphins lyrical swagger each and every week of the season.

When Miami has the ball…

It’s going to be anyone’s guess what type of game plan Miami will deploy offensively. Do they play ultra conservative with their third string quarterback and force the issue by running the ball into a strong Bears defensive front? Or do they take advantage of Thigpen’s unique skill set and let him loose?

They have to let the guy do what he does best. He’s a confident, mobile quarterback who’s going to make big plays, but not without his share of mistakes. Let him sling it. The defense wouldn’t expect an aggressive approach.

Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams have been contained this season, and the Bears have a dominate rush defense giving up an average of just 82.3 yards (2nd in NFL). Will Miami go Wildcat after some success last week?

When Chicago has the ball…

The Bears offensive line is pretty horrible. They generously lead the league in sacks allowed at 33. Cutler has a tendency to make bad decisions downfield and force the ball into near impossible windows.

The Miami pass rush led by Cameron Wake will be critical in halting an inconsistent Bears offense.

The scariest player in this matchup isn’t who everything thinks of first. Although Devin Hester is a dynamic returner, the guy who could give the Miami defense the most trouble is tight end Greg Olsen.

Can the linebackers keep up with the former Hurricane down field? He’s very difficult to match up with because of his combination of size and speed. This defense has had major problems defending similar tight ends this season.

Three Keys

  1. Thigpen doesn’t try to do too much: Tyler is on a mission to prove he’s a starting quarterback in this league. It’s important he doesn’t try to be Drew Brees overnight and take too many risks.
  2. Pressure Cutler: Cutler is a turnover machine. Pressuring him will shorten the time he has to make reads, leading to big plays for the Miami defense.
  3. Take away the big play: Do not kick the ball to Devin Hester. Have safety coverage over the top on him as well on defense in case Cutler goes deep.



Receiver/ Tight End

Offensive Line

Defensive Line



Special Teams


If Thigpen can play smart and limit his turnovers, Miami should win. The Bears can lose games on their own with Cutler’s erratic play. Although many Dolphins are out with injuries, the players replacing them showed the ability to step up last week.

Miami 24 Chicago 23


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