Tua Tagovailoa is coming off his worst start of the year. Nearly 65 percent of his passes were deemed on-target by Sports Info Solutions. Tagovailoa is looking for a bounce-back week and the Chargers are the team to do that against. The Chargers are giving up 7.4 yards per pass attempt and have allowed the sixth-most passing touchdowns in the league.
Justin Herbert also needs a bounce-back from Week 13. The Chargers couldn’t beat the Raiders and can’t afford to lose any more games if they want to be in the race for the wild card. Herbert has been sacked 14 times in the last three games. Since Bradley Chubb joined the Dolphins, the Chargers have pressured the QB at the sixth-highest rate.
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Vegas Line: Dolphins -3.5
Over Under: 53.5
Dolphins: IR: OT Liam Eichenberg, DE Emmanuel Ogbah, CB Byron Jones, CB Nik Needham, S Brandon Jones, DE Trey Flowers; DOUBTFUL: WR River Cracraft; QUESTIONABLE: OT Terron Armstead, TE Durham Smythe
Chargers: IR: DE Joey Bosa, DB J.C. Jackson, DT Austin Johnson, DT Otito Ogbonnia, OT Rashawn Slater, OT Andrew Trainer, C Issac Weaver; DOUBTFUL: CB Bryce Callahan, SS Derwin James, DT Sebastian Joesph-Day, OT Trey Pipkins, TE Richard Rodgers
Data to Know Provided by Sports Info Solutions
Dolphins Offense vs. Chargers Defense
- Tagovailoa averages 9.0 yards per attempt, 8.9 air yards per attempt with a 6.6 percent pass touchdown rate.
- You will see a lot of Cover 1 and Cover 3-type concepts with the Chargers in man coverage this year.
- Against these coverages, Tagovailoa averages 10.2 yards per attempt with a 76.2 percent completion percentage and a 6-0 touchdown to interception ratio.
- Tyreek Hill has been a dominant force against these coverages, averaging 4.37 yards per route run and 32.5 percent target share.
- Jaylen Waddle has a 23.6 target share and averages 2.89 yards per route run.
- Only Mike Gesicki has over a 10 percent target share out of the remaining players.
- Gesicki will likely see more routes in this matchup, because they won’t have to worry about the pass rush as much as they did vs. the 49ers.
- Trent Sherfield has been the main WR3, but is not a big part of the offense.
- Without River Cracraft, we will see more Cedrick Wilson.
- I assume the Chargers’ focus will be to pressure Tagovailoa before he can get the ball downfield, without a secondary to match the Dolphins’ passing attack.
- The Chargers have the worst run defense in the NFL, so Jeff Wilson and Raheem Mostert will see plenty of work.
- Mostert saw the majority of the work in Week 13, but they knew they wouldn’t be able to run the ball effectively.
- I expect Wilson and Mostert to see over ten carries in this matchup with both explosive games.
Chargers Offense vs. Dolphins Defense
- Justin Herbert averages 6.5 yards per attempt, 6.1 air yards per attempt and a 3.9 percent pass touchdown rate.
- The Dolphins primarily run Cover 3, and Herbert has been awful against that coverage this season.
- Twenty-nine QB’s have seen 70 snaps against that coverage, and Herbert ranks 25th in yards per attempt.
- The good news for Herbert is that Mike Williams is back in the lineup and Herbert will have his full receiving core for this matchup, after being sacked 14 times in the last three weeks.
- Miami has one of the elite fronts in the NFL.
- When Herbert faces pressure, he averages 6.0 yards per attempt and 4.5 air yards per attempt.
- Against Cover 3, Josh Palmer averages 2.06 yards per route run and a 24 percent target share.
- Palmer, Williams, and Keenan Allen average over two yards per route run against Cover 3 coverage.
- Only two wide receivers have gone over 100 yards receiving against the Dolphins this season: Tee Higgins and Rashod Bateman.
- The only other wide receiver of note is DeAndre Carter, and with Williams back, it’s hard to picture where Carter will play in the Chargers’ offense.
- In the tight end room, Gerald Everett will run the majority of snaps of the routes.
- Stone Smartt and Tre’ McKitty are getting the other bit of routes as well.
- Smartt ran more routes than McKitty last weekend and got targeted on a high rate of routes.
- The Dolphins’ run defense has been one of the best in the NFL this season.
- Austin Ekeler will need to get his production through the air.
- Against running backs, the Dolphins have allowed the second-most receiving touchdowns, plus the fifth-most yards per reception.
- They have given up two eight-reception games to running backs.
Brandon Staley has shown to be a great defensive mind when he’s been given the talent. However, that does not exist with the injuries the Chargers have on the roster. Mike McDaniel has the advantage up front and will be taking advantage of both. I expect the Dolphins to come into the game, get the run game going against the Chargers, and start getting Tagovailoa into a rhythm as a passer.
Tyreek Hill’s numbers against the primary coverages lead me to believe another massive game is in store for him, and the Chargers don’t have the players to limit him. The secondary for the Chargers is depleted, and they don’t have the players to match up with Waddle and Hill. Raheem Mostert has yet to break that long run this season, but I expect it to come in this matchup. I expect Jeff Wilson to be the closer of the game. Gesicki has encouraging numbers against the main coverages of the Chargers, and for that, I love his price on this slate.
Herbert has his full weapons, and this matchup comes down to the Chargers’ OL vs. the Dolphins’ DL. I expect the Dolphins’ DL to showcase all its talent and get to Herbert often. I believe it will have chances to score a defensive touchdown in this contest, which is why I am putting it into my captain pool. Mike Williams is coming off a high ankle sprain, and I am still determining how big of a role he should be expected to have.
Josh Palmer will be considered a third option, and this is a matchup for him to put his talents on display. Keenan Allen will be a reliable player. However, with the Dolphins’ aggressive man coverage scheme, he’ll need to win quickly and not try to find any soft spots in zone coverage. Ekeler will have a high reception total, keeping him in play against this run defense. I don’t anticipate the tight ends of the Chargers doing much because I think they will need them to block more often in this matchup.
- WR Tyreek Hill
- QB Justin Herbert
- QB Tua Tagovailoa
- WR Jaylen Waddle
- WR Josh Palmer
- RB Raheem Mostert
- DST Dolphins
- RB Austin Ekeler
- WR Keenan Allen
- WR Mike Williams
- RB Jeff Wilson
- TE Mike Gesicki
- K Cameron Dicker
- K Jason Sanders
- DST Chargers
- TE Durham Smythe
- RB Alec Ingold
- TE Stone Smart
- WR Cedrick Wilson