In this Week 6 cross-conference matchup on Sunday, October 14 at 1:00 pm EST, the 3-1 Chicago Bears take on the 3-2 Miami Dolphins at the Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, FL, broadcasted on FOX.
The Bears will be healed up and well rested after a Week 5 bye. No doubt they’re still riding the high from their Week 4 pummeling of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 48-10, which served to end the reign of Tampa Bay’s ‘Fitz-Magic’ and hastened the return of their formerly suspended quarterback Jameis Winston.
Not only did the Bears lopsided win reinforce the reputation of their shutdown defense, it also helped silence the doubters of second-year quarterback Mitch Trubisky, who threw for 354 yards, 6 touchdowns and zero interceptions.
The Miami Dolphins are coming off back-to-back losses, the latest courtesy of the Cincinnati Bengals. What seemed like a potential 17-0 shutout through most of the third quarter turned into a 17-27 second-half whooping after the Bengals apparently made some halftime adjustments while the Dolphins obviously did not.
In Week 6 at home against the Bears 2nd ranked defense, Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill hopes to get back to the numbers he put up in his first three games, when he threw an average of 18.6 times and 229.0 yards per game, 2.3 touchdowns and only .66 interceptions and led his team to a 3-0 record with a 73.0 passer rating.
If the Bears win this game, they’ll move to 4-1 and stay alone at the top of the NFC North, ahead of the Packers, Vikings and Lions by at least one win. But if the Dolphins win this one, they’ll put an end to their losing skid and continue to put pressure on the New England Patriots in the AFC East.
Who’s favored to win this Week 6 Bears-Dolphins matchup?
Which team has a better offense? Defense? Special teams?
Which team’s quarterback is more likely to lead his team to victory?
We’re going to compare the Bears and the Dolphins and attempt to answer those questions and more.
The 2018 Bears offense is coming alive
Trubisky quieted any weak-armed whispers by passing for six scores against the Buccaneers and averaging 13.62 yards per pass, more than doubling his averages from the first three games. He targeted seven different players and connected 19 times with five of them.
Still, when it comes to total offensive yards per game, the Bears are in the bottom fourth of the league with 341.0. The reason for that is their ineffective passing game, which in four weeks has averaged 219.5 yards per game. That’s why Trubisky’s 6-touchdown game against the Bucs, helped by receiver Taylor Gabriel (2 TDs) and tight end Trey Burton (1 TD), was an important sign that the second-year man is finally catching on.
Meanwhile, their tenth-ranked running game puts up 121.5 yards every outing. Running back Jordan Howard saw little action against Tampa Bay, rushing only 11 times for 25 yards. Backup running back Tarik Cohen, also the Bears punt returner, had 174 yards from scrimmage and a touchdown in that game, though, helping out the run attack.
The Bears will face a Dolphins defense that ranks 20th against the run and the pass, so look for them to have another fun day running up their stats.
The 2018 Dolphins offense got stuffed last week
The Dolphins had a shutout going against the Bengals through most of the third quarter and then both their offense and defense shut down. Tannehill could only manage 185 total passing yards and the one touchdown while throwing 2 interceptions.
Good news is wide receiver DeVante Parker is expected to play in this game after sitting out Week 5 with a quad injury. Receivers Kenny Stills and Danny Amendola could use the help, as the Dolphins have only averaged 192.2 passing yards per game.
Tight end A.J. Derby is still questionable for Week 6 (foot), so rookie Mike Gesicki will have to continue to step up after catching 8/12 throws for 77 yards so far this year.
Bears Defense ranks 2nd, Dolphins D ranks 23rd in the league
The Bears have one of those defenses that will shut you down however you choose to move the ball. They’re ranked number one against the run, and they’re ninth in the league against passing. They kept high-scoring Tampa to 3 in the first half in Week 4, plus they had three interceptions and sacked the quarterback(s) 4 times.
The Bears D has eight interceptions (safety Eddie Jackson has 2) and 18 sacks (Khalil Mack has 5.0 and Akiem Hicks has 3.0) and they’ve kept opponents to only 16.3 points per game, 3rd fewest in the NFL.
The Dolphins defense basically collapsed towards the end of the game against the Bengals last week, and that’s something defensive coordinator Matt Burke will have to address this week. They’re ranked 20th against both the run and the pass, so they’ll have to buckle down against a Bears offense that’s used to scoring 27.8 points per game.
Watch for Phins linebacker Jerome Baker to put pressure on Trubisky after sacking Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton twice. He’ll get help from defensive end William Hayes, who has 2.0 sacks himself.
Special teams’ stats
Chicago’s punter, Pat O’Donnell, is a fifth year pro who has punted 14 times for a net average of 42.9 yards per punt, ranked 7th in the NFL.
Miami’s second year punter, Matt Haack, was an undrafted free agent last season and has punted 28 times for a net average of 39.7 yards per punt, ranked 18th in the league.
Chicago’s placekicker, Cody Parkey, was a free agent pickup this offseason and has gone 9-for-10, his longest was a 50-yarder. He hasn’t missed an extra point attempt (12/12).
Miami’s rookie placekicker, Jason Sanders, was drafted in the 7th round and is 3-for-3, his longest was a 42-yarder. He has missed one extra point attempt (12/13).
Chicago’s punt returner, running back Tarik Cohen, is ranked 10th in the league. He’s returned 11 punts for 141 yards and no touchdowns, averaging 12.8 yards per return, his longest for 42 yards.
Miami’s punt returner, wide receiver Jakeem Grant, is ranked 5th in the league. He’s returned 8 punts for 378 yards and a touchdowns, averaging 17.9 yards per return, his longest was for 71 yards and a touchdown last week against the Bengals. Grant’s also returned 11 kickoffs for 378 total yards, including a 102-yard touchdown.
Bears-Dolphins prediction and odds
The oddsmakers have the Bears favored over the Dolphins by 3 with an over/under of 43.5.
CBSSports.com has two final score predictions:
Pete Prisco goes with the under and has it Dolphins 23, Bears 17
John Breech takes the under and predicts it Bears 24, Dolphins 16