Dolphins-Chiefs Preview: Hunting for a Win at Arrowhead

Miami takes the Suck for Luck tour to Kansas City for a date with the Chiefs

Another week, another chance for the Dolphins to play their first complete game of the season. On Sunday the Dolphins head to Kansas City to face the resurgent Chiefs. After losing their first three games, the Chiefs looked like they would be one of the handful of teams in the race to the bottom with hopes of drafting Andrew Luck in next year's NFL Draft.

But since then, Kansas City has won four straight games, including a wild overtime thriller against San Deigo on Monday night. The Chiefs don't win pretty - their offense is in the bottom ten of the NFL in most statistical categories. But throw out two blowouts to start the season, and Kansas City has quietly been one of the more effective teams in the NFL over the last six weeks.

What will it take for the Dolphins to eke out their first win of the season? Besides a Chiefs-wide case of dengue fever, Miami will have to overcome the injury bug, as RB Daniel Thomas and CB Vontae Davis could each miss yet another game due to injuries.

When the Dolphins have the ball: Reggie Bush had his first 100-yard performance since the Carter administration (or maybe it only feels that long) on Sunday against the Giants. Playing without injured Daniel Thomas, Bush ran for 103 yards and added 4 receptions, carrying the load for much of the day on offense.

But even with Bush's banner day, Miami could not get much going on offense after the second quarter, thanks largely to the offensive line's continued implosion. C Mike Pouncey left the game early with a neck injury and the Dolphins gave up 5 sacks. Pouncey has missed practice this week but says he will play. He needs to if the Dolphins are to have any hope of winning.

Kansas City's budding star safety Eric Berry is out for the year to injury, but even without him the Chiefs have intercepted 13 passes in 7 games, second best in the NFL. And LB Tamba Hali has emerged as a disruptive force, collecting 6 sacks and haunting the dreams of opposing QBs. Expect Hali to knock Dolphins QB Matt Moore to the ground on multiple occasions Sunday.

When the Chiefs have the ball: Kansas City lost Pro Bowl RB Jamaal Charles in Week 2 to an ACL injury, now a tandem of veterans, Jackie Battle and Thomas Jones, key the Chiefs' rushing attack. Kansas City leans heavily on the running game, amassing the sixth-most rushing attempts in the NFL this season.

For a change of pace the Chiefs look to the air, usually targeting WR Dwayne Bowe. He isQB Matt Cassel's favorite target, both for his size and ability to make acrobatic, breath-taking catches. With Vontae Davis still missing time due to a hamstring injury, Bowe could be up for a big day on Sunday.

But even with Bowe to throw to, Cassel has made his share of mistakes this season, throwing 4 interceptions in his last two games (and 9 overall this season). If Miami's depleted secondary can cover Kansas City's receivers long enough for the pass rush to get to Cassel, the Dolphins might be able to limit big plays through the air and keep the Chiefs' offense in check.

Who has the edge? If the Dolphins could count on having Davis, Thomas, and a fully healthy Pouncey, they might have a shot at knocking off the Chiefs. Kansas City may have won 4 in a row, but two of those were to last-place teams and a third came thanks to a fluky play at the end of the Chargers game. Even so, Kansas City's playmakers on both sides of the ball are probably too much for the Dolphins to handle.

Blissfully ignorant quote of the week: "No, I've never heard Suck for Luck. Explain it to me" -Dolphins defensive coordinator Mike Nolan

The Pick: Chiefs 23-Dolphins 13

Details: Miami Dolphins (0-7) at Kansas City Chiefs (4-3)
TV: CBS, 1:00 p.m., Kevin Harlan, Solomon Wilcots
Line: Chiefs by 5.5
Previously: Dolphins won 38-31 in Kansas City

Contact Us