The fifth and sixth overall picks in the 2020 NFL Draft square off this Sunday, as quarterback Justin Herbert and the Los Angeles Chargers visit South Florida to play QB Tua Tagovailoa and the Miami Dolphins.
The Chargers have been involved in close games virtually every week, making the prospects for a 4th-quarter duel between the two potential future stars pretty realistic.
The Chargers (2-6) very nearly pulled out a last-second victory against the Las Vegas Raiders last week. Herbert found tight end Donald Parham Jr. in the corner of the end zone for what would have been a winning score, but Parham was not able to secure the catch heading to the turf, giving the Raiders the win by a final score of 31-26.
The Dolphins (5-3) were on the road last week in a nip-and-tuck affair against the Arizona Cardinals. Tagovailoa performed much more admirably than he did in his first start against the Los Angeles Rams, including an elusive escape from the pocket that kept a key series alive in the 4th quarter of a game they eventually won 34-31.
Los Angeles Chargers vs Miami Dolphins Head-to-Head
The Dolphins-Chargers all-time series favors Miami by a slight margin. The Dolphins have won 16 times, while the Chargers have beaten Miami 14 times.
They faced off last season in Miami, and the Chargers secured the road victory by a final margin of 30-10. Former Chargers QB Philip Rivers threw for 310 yards and 2 touchdowns in that game last season.
Los Angeles Chargers vs Miami Dolphins Team News
The Los Angeles Chargers have been piecing their backfield together ever since starting RB Austin Ekeler went down with a hamstring injury in Week 4. The latest casualty is Justin Jackson, who will not play Sunday due to a knee injury. That leaves rookie Joshua Kelley, Troymaine Pope and Dolphins castoff Kalen Ballage as the main options to lead the Chargers' backfield.
The Miami Dolphins will also be without some key players of their own on Sunday. Talented WR Preston Williams was placed on IR with a foot ailment, leaving more of the receiving responsibility to WR DeVante Parker. Additionally, Miami will be without two key pieces on their defense, as DT Christian Wilkins and LB Kyle Van Noy were placed on the COVID-19 list and will not be able to play.
Los Angeles Chargers vs Miami Dolphins Projected Starters
Los Angeles Chargers
QB: Justin Herbert
RB: Joshua Kelley, Kalen Ballage, Troymaine Pope
WR: Keenan Allen, Mike Williams
TE: Hunter Henry
QB: Tua Tagovailoa
RB: Salvon Ahmed, Jordan Howard, Dewayne Washington
WR: DeVante Parker, Jakeem Grant
TE: Mike Gesicki
Los Angeles Chargers vs Miami Dolphins Prediction
NFL experts usually say that a young quarterback’s best friend is the running game, but unfortunately for Miami and Los Angeles, both teams will come into this game with their running back depth being severely challenged.
That should make for an interesting chess match between the opposing coordinators, to see which team will be more aggressive in pushing the ball downfield.
Los Angeles is catching a break by not having to face Miami with Wilkins and Van Noy anchoring their front seven, but they may not be able to take full advantage of it with their reserve running backs. Throw in the factor of a West Coast team traveling to the East Coast, and it would seem like the odds are stacked against the Chargers.
Expect each rookie to stumble in this game due to the increased responsibility, but the Dolphins should still be able to do enough to take care of business at home.
Miami 23, Los Angeles 20.Published 14 Nov 2020, 12:27 IST