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Los Angeles Chargers 2019 opponent preview: Miami Dolphins

CARSON, CA - SEPTEMBER 17: Reshad Jones #20 of the Miami Dolphins puts pressure on Philip Rivers #17 of the Los Angeles Chargers during the first half of a game at StubHub Center on September 17, 2017 in Carson, California. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
CARSON, CA - SEPTEMBER 17: Reshad Jones #20 of the Miami Dolphins puts pressure on Philip Rivers #17 of the Los Angeles Chargers during the first half of a game at StubHub Center on September 17, 2017 in Carson, California. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
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The Los Angeles Chargers will meet the Miami Dolphins at Hard Rock Stadium in Week 4 of the 2019 season.

It’s been awhile since we’ve done an opponent preview for the upcoming season, and now that the preseason has not only started but it’s halfway over, it will be interesting to see how these opponents currently stack up.

For comparison, here are previews for the first three games of the season against the Indianapolis Colts, Detroit Lions and Houston Texans.

Prior to last season, the Chargers had faced the Dolphins in each of the previous five seasons. The Chargers lost all but one of those games. While the Dolphins haven’t been wildly successful for quite some time — they’ve made the playoffs just four times since 2000 — it is a team that the Chargers have struggled against.

The last time these two teams met, the game ended with Younghoe Koo missing a game-winning field goal with just seconds left on the clock. His career with the team wouldn’t last much beyond that.

Chargers at Dolphins: September 29, 2019, at 10:00 am PST

All-time series record: Dolphins lead a18-15.

That number really got padded starting in 1995. Up until that point, the Chargers actually controlled the series. But starting with a win in November 1995, the Dolphins beat the Chargers in 11 of 14 contests. They have also won the last two.

It hasn’t been all bad though, the Chargers will always have the “Epic in Miami”.

Dolphins key players: Ryan Fitzpatrick, Josh Rosen, Laremy Tunsil, Xavien Howard, Reshad Jones

Taking a look up and down the roster of this team, there is just about nothing that will intimidate you. Fans of the Dolphins won’t like hearing that, but this team will struggle to win games and will be in the running all year long for the No.1 pick in next year’s draft.

Wouldn’t that be ironic for Rosen, who played on the team that had the No.1 pick in this year’s draft, the Arizona Cardinals? The team with the No.1 pick next year will almost certainly take a quarterback, so lightning could strike twice for the old UCLA quarterback, who many thought the Chargers might actually trade for this offseason.

Dolphins key additions: Fitzpatrick, Rosen, Eric Rowe, Christian Wilkins

The Dolphins added two new quarterbacks this offseason after finally turning the page on failed first-round pick Ryan Tannehill. Fitzpatrick and Rosen are battling for the starting job and though the main train of thought is that Rosen will eventually be the guy, Fitzpatrick could easily be under center when the season begins.

Christian Wilkins was the team’s first-round pick in April. Coming out of Clemson, Wilkins is used to being part of a winner and the team hopes that he helps them create one in Miami.

Dolphins key losses: Tannehill, Danny Amendola, Cameron Wake, Andre Branch, Robert Quinn

Tannehill’s time in Miami won’t be remembered positively. Between poor play and a series of injuries, he never lived up to the hype that made him a first-round pick.

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Amendola lasted exactly one season in Miami, catching 59 passes with one touchdown. The Dolphins chose to release him in March and he signed three days later with the Detroit Lions.

Losing the trio of Wake, Quinn and Branch makes the defense as a whole far weaker. Wake, who signed with the Tennesse Titans this offseason (the same place Tannehill ended up), ranks second on the team’s all-time sacks list. Only Jason Taylor, who is in the Hall of Fame, had more.

Key to the game: As long as the Chargers handle the combination of a long east coast road trip and early start time, they will be fine. They are far more talented than this team and it should be one of the easier wins on the schedule.

However, history is on the side of the Dolphins. Believe it or not, the last time the Chargers won a game in Miami was the “Epic in Miami” on January 2, 1982. That was 37 years ago.

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