So far, the Dolphins have played an elite team (Patriots), playoff-caliber team (Texans) and a weak team (Browns) and failed at all three. The San Diego Chargers, their next opponent, are closer to a playoff-caliber team. Similar to the forecasts prior to the Houston game, one would think that the Dolphins stand a decent chance of beating the Chargers. The only way the Dolphins will win Sunday is to show some "heart" and desire instead of giving the game away in an apathetic manner.
This will be the truest test of the Dolphin defense up to this point. Antonio Gates remains one of the very best tight ends in the NFL and, of course, we all know the Dolphins' inability to cover talented tight ends over the last few years. Linebackers, especially ex-Charger Kevin Burnett, will have to step up in a major way. Vincent Jackson, an outstanding wide receiver, will try to expose just how "elite" Dolphin cornerbacks are. Vontae Davis and Sean Smith have yet to back up their self-espoused reputations with on-field performance. On the offensive side of the ball, the Chargers secondary can be beaten, so a good opportunity exists for Brandon Marshall to have a big day to answer his increasing numbers of naysayers. The Dolphins best wide receiver this year, Brian Hartline, needs to continue his fine play.
I see no evidence that the Dolphins have overcome their doldrums either at home or on the road. Philip Rivers is a top-tier quarterback. Chad Henne continues to have red-zone issues. I am picking the Chargers to win this one fairly easily. I hope I am wrong.