Dolphins vs. Chargers: How do they match up in Week 2?

How do the Miami Dolphins and San Diego — er, Los Angeles Chargers match up for Sunday’s NFL Week 2 tilt at the StubHub Center?

Darrell Stuckey of the Chargers recovers a fumble by Dolphin Jakeem Grant during last season’s matchup at Qualcomm Stadium. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)

When the Dolphins have the ball…

Miami passing offense (26th in NFL last season) vs. Los Angeles pass defense (12th in NFL this season)

The Dolphins debut their new-look passing offense with Jay Cutler under center, but they will face a stiff test against a Los Angeles team that allowed only 181 yards through the air in a narrow Week 1 loss to the Denver Broncos. Miami has plenty of weapons on offense, with DeVante Parker, Jarvis Landry and Kenny Stills leading the way at wide receiver, but the Chargers held Denver’s Emmanuel Sanders and Demaryius Thomas to a combined eight catches and 93 yards. Though Cutler should be able to find some holes, Los Angeles should be able to contain Miami’s passing attack, given the relative newness of the unit. Edge: Chargers

Miami rushing offense (9th last season) vs. Los Angeles rush defense (26th)

What Miami may struggle to accomplish through the air they should more than make up for on the ground. Jay Ajayi enters the season with high expectations, and there is little reason to believe he won’t live up to them. After a breakout year, Ajayi will start his season against a Chargers run defense that gave up 140 yards to a Denver rushing attack featuring C.J. Anderson and Jamaal Charles. The Dolphins may be poised for a big game on the ground. Edge: Dolphins

When the Chargers have the ball…

Los Angeles passing offense (18th) vs. Miami pass defense (13th last season)

Even at 35, Philip Rivers is still one of the NFL’s premiere passers, but a solid Miami secondary should be able to keep Rivers and his cast of wide receivers in check. Rivers failed to reach 200 yards against the Broncos, and leading receiver Tyrell Williams picked up only 54 yards on five catches. Though Keenan Allen and Melvin Gordon also had five catches apiece, they combined for only 60 yards on 16 targets. The Chargers will spread the ball around, but Miami should be able to keep L.A.’s receivers in front of them. Edge: Dolphins

Los Angeles rushing offense (T-19th) vs. Miami rush defense (30th last season)

The Dolphins run defense was bad last season, and it remains to be seen whether the unit has actually improved in the offseason. The addition of Lawrence Timmons at linebacker should help clog some of the Los Angeles running lanes, but it may not be enough to stop Melvin Gordon. Gordon, who rushed for 54 yards on 18 attempts in Week 1, has been effective when healthy. Miami still has too much to prove and will be facing too talented a running back for me to say the Dolphins have the advantage here. Edge: Chargers

Special teams

As Forrest Gump would say, the Dolphins special-teams unit is like a box of chocolates. Cody Parkey will be taking over kicking duties after the team dumped the pride of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Andrew Franks. Parkey has made 84.6 percent of his career field-goal attempts, making him a respectable replacement. Matt Haack will take over for Matt Darr as the team’s punter. The Chargers will enter the game with rookie kicker YoungHoe Koo, who had his only Week 1 field-goal attempt, a potential game-winner, blocked. Koo did make all three of his extra-point attempts and nailed the would-be game-winning field goal just after a timeout was called. Punter Drew Kaser netted 46 yards per punt as well, giving L.A. a slight edge over Miami’s unproven unit. Edge: Chargers

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