Bears vs. Dolphins: Preview and Prediction
|Saturday, November 5, 2022, 11:00 AM- -|
Sunday marks the mid-way point of the NFL season, as nine weeks will remain after this week. The Bears enter week nine with a 3-5 record, but with plenty of confidence after their last two offensive performances.
No one will say this is a playoff team right now, but they are not that far off, and if the offense continues to play the way they have been, they will be a tough out for anyone. On Sunday, things will not be easy for the Bears as they welcome the 5-3 Miami Dolphins to town as they are riding a two-game winning streak.
Not to mention the team is 5-0 when Tua starts, so you have to wonder where they would be had he not gotten that concussion. This has all the makings of a high-scoring game, as neither team has had a very good defensive scheme in quite some time. Here are three things to look for in week 9.
With the loss of Roquan Smith and Robert Quinn, the Bears defense will take a significant hit. You saw some of what life could be like last Sunday as other guys will have to start stepping up. This is not the game to do that in, as the Dolphins possess the best WR duo in the game in Tyreke Hill and Jaylan Waddle.
Not only do these guys have the ability to torch you for 100-plus yards every game, but the speed they possess is second to none, which is something Tua has thrived on this season. Chicago is not that fast in the secondary, which could pose a problem this week if they want to contend with Miami.
Keep running the ball
Whatever Luke Getsy said to his offense following the loss to Washington appears to have worked, as they are a completely different unit. A big part of that is a running attack that has suddenly emerged as one of the best in the NFL.
The combination of Khalil Herbert, David Montgomery, and Justin Fields has been giving teams fits the last several weeks, as they have topped 200 yards rushing as a team in three straight games. That is the longest such streak since 1968, as things are trending upward for the offense.
When you look at this Miami defense, they are average at best, but do play the run reasonably well compared to the pass. Even if the Bears cannot crack the 200-yard plateau this week, they need to keep feeding the rock to their backs to soften up the defense. Once that happens, you could see Fields open up the playbook and start to go with more play-action passes to get things moving.
Same faces different places
Tuesday may go down as one of the best, if not the best, trade deadlines in NFL history. If you look at the moves that were made, even the moves leading up to the deadline, most of them were shocking moves that made teams better. Chicago may not appear that way after giving away Quinn and Smith, but with eight draft picks and more than 120 million in cap space, this team is sitting pretty for next season.
While most of the Bears and Dolphins rosters look the same, there will be some new faces donning the jerseys this weekend. For Miami, pass-rushing specialist Bradley Chubb was traded to Miami from Denver in exchange for Chase Edmonds, while the Bears added Chase Claypool from Pittsburgh for a second-round pick.
It is unclear how much playing time each player will get this week, but both of these guys will make a significant impact not only this season but also next season. I expect Chubb to see more of the field, as Claypool will only have three practices to learn his new playbook. That is a lot easier said than done.
Prediction: Dolphins 34-28 over Bears
This has all the makings of an upset for the Bears and a trap game for Miami. When you compare the two rosters, no one will debate that the Dolphins have the more talented group. From there, it all comes down to coaching, as this will be a battle of first-year head coaches.
Mike McDaniel has done a better job with his team thus far, but his overall talent level is far superior to what Matt Eberflus has. I anticipate this being a higher-scoring game as you have a run-first team in Chicago going up against a pass-happy Miami Dolphins team. Look for Chicago to be in a similar position to where they were against Dallas, but Miami's overall speed and firepower will be too much as they take down Chicago 34-28.