Sunday, September 21, 2014

Matchup Mashup: Your Dolphins-Chiefs primer


Week 3: Kansas City Chiefs (0-2) at Miami Dolphins (1-1), 4:25 p.m.
Location: Sun Life Stadium, Miami, Fla.
Weather: Humid, 80 degrees; 50 percent chance of thunderstorms (accuweather)

The skinny: After two straight weeks of divisional matchups, the Miami Dolphins are at .500 and already in a tough spot injury-wise. The loss of running back Knowshon Moreno, coupled with ailment woes at the linebacker position, have forced the team to make some roster moves early on. Quarterback Ryan Tannehill is still struggling to get on the same page with his receivers, and the team will once again put its faith in back Daniel Thomas to help carry the run game. On the other side of the ball, Kansas City is dealing with a running back/linebacker problem of its own, with Jamaal Charles questionable and Tamba Hali probable this week following respective ankle injuries. Signal-caller Alex Smith will do his best to manage an offense that's averaged less than two touchdowns a game thus far, while the defense hopes to pull the team's turnover ratio (-3) back into legitimacy.

What to watch for (links):
- How will Branden Albert fare against the pass rush of his former team?
- Can Miami's running game continue to succeed without Moreno?
- Will Sunday be the game Tannehill and receiver Mike Wallace get on the same page?
- What time of plan do the Chiefs have for sack machine Cameron Wake?
- Does QB Smith manage the game, or does he own it?

Injury report: Miami will be without Moreno, linebacker Koa Misi and guard Shelly Smith, though it looks like tight end Charles Clay will play. Besides the aforementioned injured Chiefs, safety Eric Berry will sit Sunday, as will running back De'Anthony Thomas.

Other tidbits from the week: Center Mike Pouncey made an appearance at 'Phins practice this week, though he's unlikely to see any time against Kansas City as he recovers from a hip injury; Dion Jordan will be out until at least Week 8 after a second positive substance abuse test; looks like Kansas City will once again roll the dice on undrafted kicker Cairo Santos, who's missed a kick in each of his two games this season.

Our picks:
Sean: Chiefs 31, Dolphins 21
Dan: Dolphins 17, Chiefs 13
Nick: Dolphins 20, Chiefs 17

Head-to-head recent history: Miami has won the last three meetings against the Chiefs, most recently winning in decisive fashion, 31-3, back in 2011. The Dolphins hold a four-game overall advantage on Kansas City in their 28 games played, with the Chiefs winless in Miami since 2005.

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