Predicting the outcome

The Dolphins have managed to remain competitive in almost every game during this miserable season, but the feeling is they're in for a long afternoon Sunday afternoon at Denver. Just take a look at the pointspread, which opened at 10 1/2 before moving to 11 1/2 later in the week. Can the Dolphins make it close? Do they have a chance to pull off a major upset? Here's how we think the game will unfold.

On the surface, the Dolphins face an impossible task against a Denver team that really needs this win to stay in the thick of the AFC playoff race. And the Broncos also are a very talented team.

As proof, Denver is the only team in the league that ranks in the top 10 in all of the major team statistical categories — rushing, passing and total offense, rushing, passing and total defense.

Nobody else can make that claim. Not the Pittsburgh Steelers. Not the Philadelphia Eagles. Not the New England Patriots.

Denver actually looked like one of the best teams in the league after a 5-1 start, but the Broncos have slumped lately and are coming off back-to-back losses to Oakland and San Diego.

The Broncos have balance on offense, thanks to an offensive line that is very good at what it does and some solid skill position players.

Former Dolphins practice squad member Reuben Droughns will reach the 1,000-yard rushing mark at some point on Sunday and rookie Tatum Bell also figures to get his share of carries.

The Dolphins have been better against the run in recent weeks, but they still have their tendency of giving up the long run. That could be a major problem against Denver.

The Broncos will get their yards against the Dolphins, that's pretty clear. The key for the Dolphins will be getting a couple of turnovers.

Denver QB Jake Plummer's biggest problem through the years always has been throwing picks, and this is where the Dolphins can have success on defense. If they don't force turnovers, we're seeing a very long day for the Dolphins defense.

On the other side, the Broncos blitzed San Diego QB Drew Brees often last week and they held him in check throughout the day. That does not bode well for the Dolphins.

A.J. Feeley is banged up coming into the game and he might not be able to absorb that much punishment.

The Dolphins running game probably will be without Sammy Morris again, and Travis Minor hasn't shown he can get much done on his own, so the Dolphins probably won't get much on the ground.

Really, all the matchups look like they favor the Broncos and this has the makings of a blowout.

You know the Dolphins will play hard, but we're afraid we're looking at the Dolphins' second lopsided loss of the season, following the Monday night effort against the Jets.

The call: Broncos 31, Dolphins 6.


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