The Miami Dolphins finally kick off their season while the Chargers play a home game in Los Angeles for the first time since 1960 when the teams meet on Sunday. Miami’s opener against Tampa Bay was postponed due to Hurricane Irma while the Chargers left San Diego after 56 seasons to return to Los Angeles, their home for the inaugural season of the old American Football League.
Chargers coach Anthony Lynn says Miami is the freshest team in the NFL due to the postponement, but the Dolphins faced numerous distractions and spent the week practicing in the Los Angeles suburb of Oxnard. “I think our guys are handling it well,” Miami coach Adam Gase told reporters. “When we got here, our guys seemed focused, ready to go. The only thing I said to them was, ‘Control what you can control. We’re going to play a game Sunday.’ We’ve got to get ready.” Los Angeles dropped a 24-21 decision to Denver in its opener, but defensive end Joey Bosa said the mindset is different in comparison to when the squad lost its 2016 opener to Kansas City. “There were a lot of heads down - almost felt deflated like we almost knew that was how the whole season was going to go at that point,” Bosa told reporters. “After Denver, it kind of was like, ‘Alright, we don’t have time to mope around about this. We have a quick week coming up. So get your heads up and work toward Miami.’”
TV: 4:05 p.m. ET, CBS. LINE: Chargers -4.5. O/U: 45
ABOUT THE DOLPHINS (0-0): Jay Cutler makes his debut for the club as he was persuaded to come out of retirement after starting quarterback Ryan Tannehill (knee) was lost for the season, and his teammates are interested to see how he fares. “We’re not going to find out how great he’s going to be and how great our offense is going to be until we have live bullets, which will be this Sunday,” standout defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh told reporters, “but I think we’re moving in the right direction from obviously going up against him in practice.” Suh, a five-time Pro Bowler, and defensive end Cameron Wake (11.5 sacks) lead the defense while running back Jay Ajayi emerged as a star last season as he rushed for 1,272 yards - third-most in franchise history.
ABOUT THE CHARGERS (0-1): Philip Rivers tossed three touchdown passes in the opener, and his next 300-yard effort will be the 52nd of his career, which will break a tie with Hall-of-Famer Dan Fouts for the franchise mark. Running back Melvin Gordon looks to get untracked after a quiet opener (54 yards on 18 carries) and wideout Keenan Allen caught a touchdown pass in his return from major knee surgery, but all five of his receptions (for 35 yards) were for fewer than 10 yards. Bosa and fellow standout pass rusher Melvin Ingram each posted 1.5 sacks, but the defensive unit had trouble getting off the field as the Broncos controlled the ball for 34 minutes, 13 seconds.
1. The Dolphins have won three of the last four meetings, including a 31-24 victory in Miami last season.
2. Miami WR Jarvis Landry racked up 94 catches last season - second-most in franchise history.
3. Los Angeles TE Antonio Gates (111) is tied with Tony Gonzalez for most career touchdown receptions by a tight end.
PREDICTION: Chargers 26, Dolphins 24