Game Preview: Seattle at Miami

The Dolphins have a chance, and a good one, to get over the .500 mark Sunday when they play host to the struggling and injury-ravaged Seattle Seahawks. We break down the matchup.

KICKOFF: Sunday, 1 p.m. ET

SURFACE: Grass

TV: FOX (Sam Rosen, Tim Ryan, Chris Myers)

SERIES: 10th regular-season meeting. Dolphins lead series, 6-3, though the teams have not played since 2004, a 24-17 Seattle home victory. That game was decided when Michael Boulware returned an interception 63 yards for a touchdown with 56 seconds left.

KEYS TO THE GAME: Seahawks coach Mike Holmgren said he will continue to rotate RBs Julius Jones and Maurice Morris because their struggles are due to opponents stuffing the box with eight defenders and daring QB Seneca Wallace to beat them. Wallace doesn't have a strong group of receivers, but if Seattle is going to be competitive after three blowout losses in the Eastern time zone already he's going to have to make more plays downfield. ... Coach Tony Sparano is considering changes to his offensive line with the Dolphins failing to rush for more than 100 yards in four consecutive games. The proof in how vital the ground game is to Miami is the Dolphins' 2-for-37 conversation rate on third downs of longer than six yards. Seattle has an undersized front seven that Miami will attempt to be physical with, and QB Chad Pennington's 67.4 completion percentage should translate well against a secondary that has been a weak spot all season.

KEY INJURIES:

Seahawks: WR Deion Branch (heel) is doubtful; QB Matt Hasselbeck (knee/back) and DE Patrick Kerney (shoulder) are out.

Dolphins: LG Justin Smiley (shoulder) is expected to play.

FAST FACTS: The Seahawks have been outscored 61-13 in the third quarter this season. ... Seattle will travel 5,469 miles round trip, the most possible between NFL cities.

PERSONNEL NEWS

Seahawks:

-- QB Matt Hasselbeck did not practice and is out for Sunday's game with a back injury.

-- WR Deion Branch did not practice and is out for Sunday's game and is out with a heel injury.

-- TE Will Heller (knee) did not practice and is likely out for the game against the Dolphins.

-- DE Patrick Kerney did not practice and is out with a shoulder injury.

-- FB Leonard Weaver was limited with a foot injury but will play against Miami.

-- DT Red Bryant is out with a high ankle sprain.

-- LB David Hawthorne did not practice on Thursday and is likely out for Sunday's game.

-- G Floyd Womack did not practice Thursday and is questionable for Sunday's game against Miami.

-- WR Koren Robinson practiced and will play against the Dolphins.

Dolphins:

-- LG Justin Smiley returned to practice Thursday after taking a day off to give his aching right shoulder a rest. He will play Sunday.

-- G Andy Alleman is expected to get some snaps, if not start Sunday in place of Ike Ndukwes, who has been sharing snaps recently with the now-released Evan Mathis.

-- WR Brandon London has been earning more time at the receiver spot and with the cutting of Derek Hagan on Tuesday, is expected to see the field more - especially in the red zone where his 6-4 size is an advantage against Seattle's undersized cornerbacks.

-- K Dan Carpenter is making Dolphins fans forget about Jay Feely, who was cut in the preseason despite coming off the best season (accuracy-wise) in team history. Carpenter is 12 of 14, including seven straight, of which five have come from 40 yards or deeper.

-- WR/KR Ted Ginn Jr. is expected to return punts (along with WR Davone Bess) and kickoffs to give a boost to a special teams unit that is floundering on the bottom in kick return average and 22nd in punt returns.


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