NFL Week 4: 5 Reasons Why the Miami Dolphins Will Beat the San Diego Chargers
Everyone will ask me that as I say it. It's not like I've been Mr. Positive. On Monday I suggested trading Brandon Marshall mainly because the team's not going anywhere this season and needed to pick up some assets. On Tuesday I stated that Miami's problems weren't just Sparano, but also Ireland and the rest of the mess Bill Parcells left down here.
But yet I have a strange feeling that come Sunday, the Dolphins will take the field at Qualcom Stadium, formerly known as Jack Murphy Stadium, forever to be known as my personal house of horrors (my Cubs choking there in 1984 when I was but a year old, the Dolphins choking there with thanks to a defense that allowed 16 unanswered points in the second half of the 94 Divisional round followed by a bad snap and Stoyonovich missing a field goal) and somehow move to 1-3 on this young 2011 season.
Now if only I could find some statistical reasons why and not just base this on a feeling.
Yeah, I'm going to have to make this a slideshow, let's get it started.
Right now San Diego is favored by seven over the Dolphins this Sunday (4:15pm EST, CBS). So what chance does Miami have?
Better than you would think.
Daniel Thomas Will Have a Field Day with the Chargers Defense
The Chargers rank 19th in rushing yards allowed, with teams averaging 111.3 yards per game against the Chargers defensive unit.
Daniel Thomas, this is your cue.
In two games this season, Daniel Thomas has rushed for 202 yards on 41 attempts.
With San Diego's difficulty thus far stopping the run, Thomas looks to have a field day in San Diego.
But how does that explain their performance against the Chiefs running game (81 yards on 27 attempts, without Jamal Charles) when the Chargers lead most of that game?
Phillip Rivers: Turnover Machine
Take a look at the positives with San Diego's perrenial all-pro QB:
Rivers is putting up another fantastic year. Thus far he's gone 86 of 126 for 979 yards and four touchdowns.
Wait, only four touchdowns in three games with numbers like that?
Yes, Rivers also has six interceptions and two fumbles in the first three games.
So far only New England was able to capitalize on that, while Minnesota and Kansas City haven't even though their games were closer than they should've been.
But its not just Phillip Rivers' turnover stats that are alarming, its the whole team.
San Diego ranks 30th in the league in turnover differential with -6. To go along with Rivers' six interceptions and two fumbles, the Chargers have fumbled the ball an additional three times, while only causing a total of five turnovers.
San Diego has lucked out by starting off against Minnesota and Kansas City. I'm not saying Miami is better than the Chiefs or Vikings, but with three weeks of film on the Chargers to go on this season likely will have a better chance at capitalizing on those mistakes.
Brandon Marshall Will Continue His Past Success Against San Diego
Denver was 2-6 in those match-ups, however Marshall has played decently against Chargers teams better than the one that will take the field on Sunday.
For his career, Marshall has caught 48 passes against San Diego for 495 yards and a touchdown. That's an average of six catches for 62 yards per game.
Keep in mind, those Chargers teams were more talented than the one Coach Norv Turner will lead on the field this Sunday.
As it stands San Diego ranks ninth against the pass, which is pretty good considering that one of their games was a Tom Brady masterpiece.
However the other two games include a Donovan McNabb stink bomb, and a very good performance by Matt Cassel and the Chiefs. The Dolphins' passing game is better than the Chiefs. McNabb's stink bomb is part of the reason why San Diego ranks ninth at this point in time.
So the onus will be on a motivated Brandon Marshall who has been spending the week watching video into the late hours of the night to prepare for Sunday.
Considering his past success against the Chargers, this is a great sign for Miami, and a bad one for the Chargers.
Recent History Favors Miami in This Rivalry
Now we get to the historical side of the game.
I've always thought that outside of the AFC East, Miami's biggest rivals are the San Diego Chargers.
The two teams are mirror images of each other: they were each the first professional sports teams in cities known more for sun and fun than for sports. They both claim the two greatest quarterbacks with the first name "Dan", and they've met in some memorable playoff battles, including one that many consider to be the greatest football game ever played (which is where the video is from).
Plus the Chargers have broken my heart twice: once in 1991 when they defeated Miami on the second to last game of the season when Miami needed a win to get into the playoffs, and again in 1994 in the game I refuse to talk about but already did to start off this slide show.
(Have I mentioned that I have a passionate distaste for the Chargers? I just can't stand them. I'd love to have Phillip Rivers as the Dolphins QB, but as long as he's wearing that stupid little lightning bolt on his helmet, he's the enemy.)
Now let's look at each team's all time record against each other: Miami leads the series 12-11.
San Diego has lost seven out of their last eight against the 'Phins, which included a seven game losing streak that lasted from 1995-2009.
I'd call that karma considering that before 2009's game (which saw Henne come in for Pennington), the last Chargers victory over the Dolphins was that 1994/95 playoff game.
History isn't the only thing on Miami's side in this matchup though.
San Diego Is Just a Good Bad Team.
What is a good bad team? It's a team that really isn't any good, but takes care of business against bad teams on their schedule while losing to teams better than them.
If it wasn't for the fact that Oakland looks legitimately good, I'd say it would be enough to win the AFC West.
That's San Diego, except already the Chargers have cut it close twice with complete letdowns.
The Chargers two victories both came at home to teams with a combined record of 0-6. San Diego's combined margin of victory against Kansas City and Minnesota: 10 points. That's not the average margin of victory against the two cellar dwellars, that's the total margin of victory.
San Diego has been playing with fire, and if you play with fire long enough, eventually you will burn.
The Chargers could very well find themselves burning up this week, and I really think they will.
Miami 27 San Diego 24.
Thomas Galicia is a Miami Dolphins Featured Columnist who also writes about music, movies, the Miami Heat whenever this stupid lockout ends (and he's praying its soon), the Chicago Cubs, and the WWE. He also knows that most of you will disagree with him on this subject. That's what the comments are for, tell him he's wrong, or if you agree with him, tell him he's right. Then visit www.thomasgalicia.com and follow him on twitter, @thomasgalicia.
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