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National Football League
Preview
San Diego at Miami
When: 1:00 PM ET, Sunday, November 2, 2014
Where: Sun Life Stadium, Miami Gardens, Florida

The Miami Dolphins have surged into the AFC playoff picture by taking care of a string of lesser opponents on the schedule. They will face a true measuring stick Sunday when they host the San Diego Chargers, who will be itching to get back in the win column following a pair of defeats to one-loss teams. The Chargers will have had nine days off since the last of those setbacks, a 35-21 defeat at Denver, which should allow for a banged-up unit to get some key players back to health.

Miami has won three of its last four, with the victories coming against teams that enter Week 9 with a combined record of 4-19, the latest a 27-13 win at Jacksonville last Sunday. An improving defense that ranks seventh overall forced three turnovers and recorded four sacks while holding an opponent to 14 points or fewer for the third time in the last four games. The Dolphins have won seven straight home meetings with the Chargers dating back to San Diego's memorable 41-38 win in overtime in the divisional round of the playoffs on Jan. 2, 1982.

TV: 1 p.m. ET, CBS. LINE: Dolphins -2.5. O/U: 45

ABOUT THE CHARGERS (5-3): San Diego's backfield has been hammered by injuries this year but should be bolstered by the return of running back Donald Brown, who was a full participant in practice this week after missing three games with a concussion. Fellow rusher Ryan Mathews is getting closer to a return but is not expected to return until after next week's bye. The squad could use a little help for rookie Branden Oliver, who broke out in a big way earlier in October but was limited to a total of 103 yards on 28 carries in the back-to-back losses.

ABOUT THE DOLPHINS (4-3):
As the defense has stood out, key members of Miami's offense have insisted that the unit needs to improve in order to compete as the schedule intensifies. Quarterback Ryan Tannehill, who was sacked three times and threw an interception versus Jacksonville, told reporters this week that the entire offense is frustrated while wideout Mike Wallace lamented the lack of deep throws. The conservative approach is somewhat understandable given the presence of a rushing attack that is one of only four in the NFL averaging at least five yards a carry.

EXTRA POINTS

1. Dolphins G Daryn Colledge, who has started every game since 2008, is hoping to be cleared to play after migraines caused him to exit the win at Jacksonville.

2. Chargers QB Philip Rivers needs 418 passing yards to become the second player in team history to reach 35,000 for his career.

3. Miami RB Lamar Miller has produced 474 total yards and four touchdowns in his last four games.

PREDICTION: Dolphins 23, Chargers 21
Stats and Records
Team Comparison
  W/L Strk PF PA Home Away Grass Turf OT Div Conf
San Diego 5-3 L2 25.6 18.6 3-1 2-2 4-3 1-0 0-0 1-2 4-2
Miami 4-3 W2 24.9 21.6 1-2 2-1 4-2 0-1 0-0 1-1 3-2
Last Meeting
San Diego Miami
Date Away Home Tot Rus Pas Tot Rus Pas
11/17/13 SD 16 MIA 20 435 154 281 343 104 239
Player Stats
Previous Matchup
Passing Player COMP % YDS TD INT
San Diego P. Rivers 64.7 298 1 1
Miami R. Tannehill 62.9 268 1 1
Rushing Player CAR YDS AVG TD
San Diego R. Mathews 19 127 6.7 0
Miami D. Thomas 10 57 5.7 1
Receiving Player REC YDS AVG TD
San Diego L. Green 4 81 20.2 0
Miami C. Clay 6 90 15.0 1
Touchdowns Player TD
San Diego A. Gates 1
Miami C. Clay 1
Season
Passing Player COMP % YDS TD INT
San Diego P. Rivers 68.3 2213 20 5
Miami R. Tannehill 62.3 1619 11 6
Rushing Player CAR YDS AVG TD
San Diego B. Oliver 85 352 4.1 2
Miami L. Miller 95 469 4.9 4
Receiving Player REC YDS AVG TD
San Diego M. Floyd 24 470 19.6 3
Miami M. Wallace 32 418 13.1 5
Touchdowns Player TD
San Diego A. Gates 9
Miami L. Miller 5