From The Other Side, Part 3

To find out more about the Dolphins' opponent this week, the San Diego Chargers, we checked in with SDBoltReport.com Publisher Michael Lombardo. In Part 3 of this three-part series, we take a look at the Chargers' expectations and get Michael's prediction on the game.

Q: Have all the high expectations for the Chargers disappeared because of all the injuries and the Week 2 loss to Baltimore?

Michael Lombardo: No, but they'll start to waver if the Chargers lose a second consecutive home game this week. As disappointing as last week's loss was, the fact of the matter is the Chargers played without five key players and still went blow-for-blow with one of the top teams in the NFL. No one expected San Diego to go 16-0, so it's premature to panic.

Also, the Chargers have all too much experience climbing out of early-season holes under Norv Turner. The team started 1-3 in 2007 and 4-8 in 2008, yet both seasons advanced to at least the second round of the playoffs.

Q: What kind of job security does head coach (and former Dolphins offensive coordinator) Norv Turner have?

ML: I believe he's safer than people outside of San Diego would speculate. There are two things to keep in mind. Firstly, the Chargers have played very well under Turner in the playoffs, upsetting teams with better records in each of the last two tournaments. Secondly, Chargers GM A.J. Smith does not care about how his team gets to the playoffs, only that it gets there.

That being said, I feel that if the Chargers win their fourth consecutive AFC West title (which they should), Turner will be back in 2010. However, if the Chargers fall apart and miss the playoffs this season, Turner is unlikely to return.

Q: What is your prediction for Sunday's game, and why?

ML: I believe this game is a coin toss, as there are mismatches on both sides of the ball. Miami's secondary is not good enough to hang with San Diego's receivers, but San Diego's patchwork offensive line may not be good enough to stop the Dolphins' pass rush. On the other side of the ball, the Dolphins should run all over the Chargers' battered front seven but will struggle to move the ball through the air against an underrated secondary.

Also, both teams are desperate. Miami cannot afford to go 0-3, while the Chargers do not want to take a 1-2 record into the Week 4 contest in Pittsburgh, especially after spending all offseason pledging a fast start.

So in a close game I'll give the Dolphins the edge, 28-24.


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