For the second week in a row, the San Diego Chargers will face a team that is much better than many people give them credit for. The Miami Dolphins have won their last three games behind a strong rushing attack. In those three games, Dolphins running back Jay Ajayi has amassed an incredible 529 yards. For the Chargers to win this game, they will have to slow him down.
At 4-5, the margin for error is becoming less and less for the Chargers, a team devastated by injuries and tough losses all season. Still, they aren’t out of the race, even in what has to be considered the best division in football, the AFC West.
We got with the writers of Bolt Beat again to gather their thoughts for this game, and asked them each to make a prediction. Below are their answers. Who got it right and who got it wrong? The win-loss record for each writer is the number in parenthesis next to their name.
Sean Begler (5-4): “Another week, another must win. This will be the second year in a row the Chargers face the Miami Dolphins in San Diego. Last year when the teams faced each other, playoff hopes were completely extinguished for both teams, not the case this time around. Both teams will be fighting to remain in the playoff hunt and a loss would push them far behind their competition. Possibly to the point of no return. The Dolphins are riding high after three straight wins with surging offensive talents, running back Jay Ajayi and wide receiver Jarvis Landry. The Chargers must focus on stopping these two. If they can do so, the Dolphins will struggle picking up yards. On defense the Dolphins have a reliable front; however they are listed at 30th stopping the run. Melvin Gordon will continue his hot streak this Sunday dismantling the Dolphins run defense one rush at a time. With all that said, Chargers find themselves back at .500 with a win over the Dolphins 24-17.”
John Burress (2-5): “If the Bolts are to stay in the hunt this one is needed, not a must-win, but close. Chargers run “D” needs to really step-up against these guys. Chargers will meet the challenge and win by 7.”
Louis Gorini (7-2): “The Dolphins are a better version of the Titans. Dominant offensive line with a good running back. What Miami has that Tennessee doesn’t, is a top wideout (Jarvis Landry) that can take over a game. Chargers will have trouble with Landry and struggle to disrupt the running game/ provide pressure. The only hope San Diego will have, is if they are able to jump out to an early lead to force Miami to abandon the run. However, I feel like this is the week that the Chargers’ injuries catch up to them. Just like the stadium vote, the Chargers will come up short this weekend when they play the Dolphins. Chargers 20 Dolphins 27.”
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Conor Denton (5-2): “I think the train keeps rolling on with another East coast team visiting town in the Dolphins. Gordon might not have a great week with an impressive Dolphins front seven opposing him. However, I do expect Rivers to play well against a weak secondary. I think that without Perryman and Brown again at ILB the defense does just enough to give the Chargers another win. Expect Tannehill to throw at least a pick, if not multiple ones against our ball hawks at cornerback. The turnover battle could very well decide this one. 28-20, San Diego.”
Matt Pagels (6-3): “The Chargers bounced back last weekend with a nice win against the Titans. This week, they take on a Dolphins team that also has been playing well as of late. If it was in Miami, I might have given this game to the Dolphins, but the Chargers are home and Melvin Gordon is hot. Bolts get the W.”
Travis Wakeman (5-4): “Just about all of us like the Chargers this week, and as some have referenced, I believe home-field advantage will play a role. The Dolphins are a hot team but I believe that Ajayi hits a wall this Sunday in the form of Brandon Mebane. Hunter Henry should be back on offense and I look for Dontrelle Inman to have a sneaky good game. San Diego gets back to .500 with an important win over Miami. Chargers 23, Dolphins 16.”
Who do you guys think will win the game and how? Give us your predictions in the comments section below.