NFL Predictions Week 4: San Diego Chargers vs. Miami Dolphins

Peter KleissAnalyst IIOctober 1, 2011

SAN DIEGO, CA - SEPTEMBER 27:  Wide Receiver Chris Chambers #89 goes up to catch the ball against the defense of Cornerback Will Allen #25 of the Miami Dolphins at Qualcomm Stadium on September 27, 2009 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Donald Miralle/Getty Images)
Donald Miralle/Getty Images

The 2-1 San Diego Chargers await the arrival of the 0-3 Miami Dolphins as they take the red-eye cross-country in hopes of leaving them bloodshot, battered and winless.

On paper, this isn’t much of a matchup. The Dolphins feature the third worst pass defense in the league, giving up an average of 311 yards per game, while the Chargers have the sixth best passing attack averaging 320 YPG.

Advantage Chargers.

Miami’s 258 YPG passing averaging ranks 14th in the league while San Diego’s pass defense ranks ninth with 203 YPG.

Advantage Chargers.

Both teams have similar stats defending the rush. Miami gives up 104.7 YPG (16th), while San Diego gives up 111.3 (19th). Both teams have surrendered just one rushing touchdown all year and neither team has forced a fumble.

No advantage.

The Dolphins have the seventh best rushing attack, averaging 129.7 YPG, while the Chargers are ranked 16th with 97.3 YPG. At first glance the edge would seem to go to the Dolphins. However, Miami has scored just one rushing touchdown and fumbled four times. The Chargers have scored four rushing touchdowns and fumbled just once.

Again, the advantage goes to the Chargers.

The only statistic in favor of Miami is interceptions. Philip Rivers has thrown a league leading six, while Chad Henne has thrown three. As any football aficionado will tell you, turnovers are game changers, and they are what Miami will have to rely on. The only scenario that has the Dolphins winning this game requires the Fins to force at least two more turnovers than they make themselves.

Through three weeks, my predictions have gone 1-2 versus the spread and 0-3 versus the line. A record of 1-5 is nothing to brag about—unless my picks are used as a primer for what not to do. Therefore, it is with great trepidation that I decry this week’s prognostication, a 24-20 victory for the Chargers.

The Bolts are giving seven points to the Fins. The Chargers haven’t blown anyone out and have underperformed in every game this year. They continue to be their own worst enemy. Miami will be as fired up as any 0-3 team can be, looking to get that first win. I don’t think they will get it, but I do think the game will be close. Take Miami and the points.

Both of these teams are underachievers and prone to mistakes. That spells low-scoring to me. With a line of 44.5, I am taking the under and hoping to go 2-0 for the first time this season.