KICKOFF: Sunday, 4:15 p.m. ET
TV: CBS (Dick Enberg, Dan Fouts)
SERIES: 23rd regular season meeting. Dolphins lead series 12-10, and have won seven straight, including a 17-10 win last October when the Chargers were without Shawne Merriman. The Chargers' last regular season victory in this series was Dec. 27, 1993.
PREDICTION: Chargers, 30-24
KEYS TO THE GAME: The Wildcat re-appeared as a consistent threat for the Dolphins last week, producing 107 yards on 12 plays, and Miami will pound away on the ground with San Diego's defense trying to cope with the loss of DT Jamal Williams. If RBs Ronnie Brown (5.3 yards per carry) and Ricky Williams (4.2) continue to be productive then QB Chad Pennington should be highly efficient working on short passing downs. Chargers TE Antonio Gates has 10 catches for 161 yards, while Atlanta's Tony Gonzalez and Indianapolis' Dallas Clark combined to catch 12 passes for 256 yards and a pair of scores against Miami. With RB LaDainian Tomlinson out for a second consecutive week, the Chargers' offense will again fall on the arm of QB Philip Rivers and his ability to get rid of the ball quickly behind a banged-up line.
FAST FACTS: Pennington is 4-0 in four career starts against the Chargers. ... Chargers RB Darren Sproles has 524 total yards in two games.
-- RT Vernon Carey was limited at practice with a sprained right knee, but is expected to play.
-- OLB Cameron Wake has been inactive in the first two games. Coach Tony Sparano said he needs to refine his technique on special teams and improve against the run to earn a spot on the active 48.
-- WLB Joey Porter tweaked a hamstring Monday and was limited in practice on Thursday and Friday. Porter hasn't missed a game since his final season in Pittsburgh in 2006. If he's not cleared to play, look for Wake to be activated and for Charlie Anderson and Quentin Moses to receive increased snaps.
-- FS Gibril Wilson has been struggling with tackling issues, a known strength of his when he was second in the league last year among safeties.
-- WR Ted Ginn had a career-high 11 catches but took a lot of media and fan criticism this week for not catching what was a catchable ball or two — he had both hands on the pass — in the end zone, including the game-winner. Coach Tony Sparano defended him, calling it a "hard catch."
-- RB Ronnie Brown had 125 yards against San Diego last season and 136 yards last week against the Colts so look for him to receive the bulk of the carries against a beat-up Chargers' defensive line which is allowing 139 rushing yards per game.
-- CB Sean Smith held Colts Pro Bowl WR Reggie Wayne to one of this three catches for 37 yards Sunday and nearly caused an intereception that Wilson dropped before halftime that would have saved the Dolphins three points.
SAN DIEGO CHARGERS
-- C Nick Hardwick (ankle) is out this week after undergoing ankle surgery.
-- RB LaDainian Tomlinson (ankle) worked some on the side but not with the team this week and he won't play Sunday.
-- DE Travis Johnson (groin) didn't go and won't play this week against Miami.