KICKOFF: Thursday, 8:20 p.m. ET
SITE: Sun Life Stadium
SURFACE: Natural grass
TV: NFL Network
PREDICTION: Bears 23-16
The Bears have found the balance between run and pass that everyone was clamoring for and it seems to be working; expectations are that it will remain close to a 50-50 split, although offensive coordinator Mike Martz is always going to lean toward throwing the ball. The Bears haven't run the ball all that impressively the past two weeks — victories over the Bills and Vikings — but they did it enough times (69) to take the heat off QB Jay Cutler. The Bears are still averaging just 3.8 yards per carry, but they hope to improve on that as the O-line continues to jell.
No one is selling third-stringer Tyler Thigpen short because of his experience in the league and the running game and skill-position players at his disposal. The Bears aren't expecting an inordinate amount of Wildcat, but they are focused on stopping the run first, having been burned by Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams in the past.
FAST FACTS: Miami has won the last two meetings in the series and holds a 7-3 advantage overall. ... Dolphins QB Tyler Thigpen went 1-10 as a starter with the Chiefs. ... RB Ronnie Brown has averaged more than 4.9 yards per carry in four games this season and 2.5 yards or less in three others. Brown has TDs in two straight games. ... The Dolphins have been outscored in every quarter except the first; they hold a 47-41 advantage in the first. The Dolphins have been outscored 53-34 in the fourth quarter. ... The Dolphins have allowed 21 touchdowns, of which 13 were TD passes. ... The Bears lead the NFL with 24 takeaways. They also have 21 turnovers, 26th in the NFL. ... The Bears have averaged 0.1 yards on 10 rushing plays in 3rd down and 1 or 2 yards to gain. ... The Bears are 18 of 31 on third-down conversions in the past two games. They had only 15 third-down conversions total in the first seven games, including 0-for-25 in losses to Seattle and the Giants.