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Barry Jackson

I barely have the stomach to do this. Between the loss to Cincinnati and the fallout conversation I've entered a state of Dolphin depression that hasn't existed since probably 2011. But the show must go on and Miami still has 11 games to come out of this season with a respectable record.

Chicago comes to Miami this Sunday fully healthy and off of a bye week. Miami is currently a 3.5 point under dog with a 42 O/U.

Chicago's defense ranks top 5 in just about all categories and they now have one of the best pass rushers in Khalil Mack. Like Cameron Wake he lines up against the right side of the offensive line so at least Ryan Tannehill will see him coming. The only team to score over 20 points against the Bears defense was Green Bay via an Aaron Rodgers comeback. The worst part is Chicago is the best defense in the NFL against the run which makes Miami rely on their passing game.

Chicago's offense is their weak spot. Yes, they put a beating on the Tampa Bay Bucs two weeks ago but plenty of people could have seen that a mile away. Tampa's secondary was decimated by injury and they came in sluggish after a MNF shootout with Pittsburgh. Game film showed second year QB Mitch Trubisky throwing to wide open targets like he would have seen back at UNC. If Miami can contain Chicago's ground game they'll have plenty of chances to force Trubisky into errant throws and interceptions. This will be Miami's only hope of winning the game because...

Did I mention Chicago has the league's best run defense? They are going to take away Miami's ground game and force Tannehill to beat them. Tannehill plays much better in Miami than on the road so hopefully his performance is closer to the Oakland game than either of the past two games. He should have Devante Parker back to combat the press coverage teams are using to eliminate smaller targets. The OL is a hot mess and if Laremy Tunsil can't suit up it is going to be miserable. After throwing one of the most bizarre interceptions ever and getting strip sacked my guess is Tannehill will just take the hits rather than throw it away. I could see Chicago sacking him 4 or 5 times.

You have two QBs who can't carry their teams and two offenses that rank 24th and 28th in yards produced. Again, if not for pummeling a bad Tampa defense Chicago would be near the bottom of points per game. Put it this way, their offense couldn't beat the Packers without Aaron Rodgers for much of the game and almost couldn't put away two of the worst teams in the NFL (Seattle and Arizona). So Miami has a chance if they can pull off a couple of big plays.

Miami's defense should be good enough to limit the Bears to between 10 and 14 points. Conversely, their offense has scored a total of 17 points the last two weeks. You can't keep counting on punt return TDs and a hopeful pick six to win games.

For me to have any faith in Miami, Gase and Tannehill they will have to come out like they did against Pittsburgh in 2016. Miami ran the ball successfully, Tannehill was throwing darts all over the field and Gase showed a change in philosophy that changed their season.

A few things make me feel better about Miami's chances: 1. Gase is definitely angry this week and you can see it in his press conferences 2. Tannehill is no doubt reading/hearing from the press and fans that his career in Miami is over 3. Laremy Tunsil is practicing. The first two things make me believe both guys will come out full guns a blazin' to silence the critics. It won't change long term opinions but both guys have responded positively in previous "angry" games (Pittsburgh and Arizona in 2016 being the most recent). Tunsil playing means one side of the line won't be entirely comprised of backups and they'll be able to at least try running on that side.

I'm going with Miami (I know surprise surprise) because I think they come out angry (redundant description) and play some good complimentary ball. The defense did a heck of a job against Andy Dalton and I think they'll get Mitch (refuse to call him Mitchell) to turn the ball over. The offense just needs to play complimentary ball. I see something very similar to the Jets game, except Trubisky isn't mounting any potential comebacks like the superior Sam Darnold.

Cross your fingers and hope I am correct.

Miami 17
Chicago 13

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