NFL Preview: Chicago Bears vs Miami Dolphins
NFC North leader, the Chicago Bears (6-3) are set to take on the Miami Dolphins (5-4), who sit in third pace in the AFC in Miami on Nov. 18th to kick off week 11 of the NFL season.
The Bears appear to be getting a bit of a break as the Dolphins are expected to start Tyler Thigpen, their third-string quarterback and he’s only had a few days to get ready for the game. Chicago will be aiming to frustrate Thigpen as he doesn’t have a lot experience, but he played well for Miami in their win in week 10.
Miami has to use Thigpen as their top two choices at quarterback, Chad Henne and Chad Penington were both injured in last Sunday’s 29-17 victory over Tennessee. However, Henne may be recovered in time from his knee injury to make it on the bench. The Dolphins have problems scoring as they went into last weekend’s contest with the AFC’s worst record of scoring just 17.9 points a game and it’s hoped Thigpen can help break the slump.
Against the Titans, he completed four out of six passes for a total of 64 yards and hit Anthony Fasano with a nine-yard touchdown pass to clinch the win. The 29 points against Tennessee were a season high for the team and they now sit two games behind the Jets and New England in the AFC East. It will be Thigpen’s first start since back in 2008 when he was with Kansas.
Chicago won their first two games in November after going just one and three in October. They go into this game tied with Green Bay for the division lead. The club’s defense has been playing well and it hopes to force some mistakes out of Thigpen. Chicago leads the league with 24 turnovers and they intercepted quarterback Brett Favre three times last Sunday in their 27-13 victory against Minnesota.
The club’s special teams and offense are also playing well as they gained 360 yards in the Minnesota game, which was their best since week one when they hit 463 yards against Detroit. Devin Hester had a great game against the Vikings with two punt returns for 47 yards along with 100 yards in two kickoffs. He leads the league when it comes to punt returns with 16.7 yards on average.
This is the first game between Chicago and Miami since Miami beat them 31-13 in Chicago in November of 2006. Chicago had gotten off to a 7-0 start that NFL season and made it to the Super Bowl where they lost to Indianapolis.
The Dolphins will also be without center Joe Berger and safety Chris Clemons. Tackle Jake Long is a game-time decision and seven other players are probable. These include receiver Brandon Marshall. Cory Procter may start in place of Berger and Reshad Jones should make his first league start for Clemons.
Chicago will be missing linebacker Pisa Tinoisamoa due to a knee injury and Nick Roach should take his spot. Zack Bowman, Devin Hester, Johnny Knox and Rashied Davis are listed as probable.