The Chicago Bears (3-5) are returning home to Soldier Field to host the Miami Dolphins (5-3). After a tough road loss to Dallas, the Bears will look to bounce back and pick up their fourth win of the season.
Both teams will come into Sunday with new faces on the roster. The Bears added former Pittsburgh wide receiver Chase Claypool and traded away Pro Bowl linebacker Roquan Smith. On the other side, Miami has added running back Jeff Wilson (49ers) and pass rusher Bradley Chubb (Broncos) to their team.
Like most weeks, the Bears are the underdog (+4.5, per Tipico Sportsbook), but Chicago will have a good chance to win this game. The Dolphins’ defense is one of the worst in the NFL, and after surrendering 200 yards rushing and four touchdowns to Dallas last week, the Bears shouldn’t have to worry too much about Miami’s rushing attack.
As Chicago looks to improve to 4-5, here are three reasons to be optimistic ahead of Sunday’s matchup:
The Dolphins have one of the worst rushing attacks in the NFL
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Chicago comes into the game with the second-worst run defense, allowing 156 yards per game. Luckily, the Dolphins only average 88 yards on the ground.
Starting running back Raheem Mostert is averaging 56.5 yards per game, and Miami is hoping the addition of Jeff Wilson will add life to the running game. However, Wilson looks a lot like Mostert – averaging 58.5 yards per game.
The hope is that the Bears’ defense doesn’t allow either Mostert or Wilson to have their best game of the year the way they did for Tony Pollard a week ago.
Miami has one of the league's worst turnover differentials
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Statistically, Miami is one of the better teams at protecting the football from opposing defenses. The Dolphins are second best with only 0.8 (five total) fumbles per game. However, they are slightly worse when throwing the football, ranking 24th with 0.9 interceptions per game (seven total).
However, with a -3 turnover differential, Miami has to play nearly perfect football. If the offense makes a mistake, it’s unlikely the defense can get the ball back. In short, the Dolphins do not play complementary football.
As a team, Miami’s defense only has four interceptions – three less than the Bears and has only forced five fumbles – two less than Chicago’s. So, if the Bears’ offense can score the way it has the past two weeks and the defense can force a turnover, there’s an excellent chance to beat Miami.
Miami's defense ranks near the bottom in points allowed
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Miami allows teams to score 24 points per game, which ranks 22nd in the NFL. While the Bears are only averaging 19 points per game, in the last two weeks, they have averaged 31 points – meaning they should be able to match the Dolphins’ offense, which averages 22 points per game.
The Dolphins’ defense wasn’t a defense that generated much pressure on the quarterback before trading for Bradley Chubb – so watch for what impact the former Denver edge rusher has on the game. If Chubb is limited and still learning the playbook, this Miami defense shouldn’t intimidate the Bears’ offense. This game could be a shoot-out.