Dolphins vs. Buccaneers: How do they match up in Week 11?

How do the Miami Dolphins (4-5) and Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3-6) match up for Sunday’s NFL Week 11 tilt at Hard Rock Stadium?

Tampa Bay Buccaneers cornerback Mike Jenkins (24) tackles Miami Dolphins wide receiver DeVante Parker (11) during the first half at Sun Life Stadium in Miami Gardens on September 3, 2015. (Richard Graulich / The Palm Beach Post)

When the Dolphins have the ball…

Miami total offense (31st in NFL) vs. Tampa Bay total defense (27th in NFL)
Miami scoring offense (32nd) vs. Tampa Bay scoring defense (19th)

Miami passing offense (29th) vs. Tampa Bay pass defense (29th)

The Dolphins’ passing offense continued its unimpressive run Monday night, with Jay Cutler throwing for a pedestrian 213 yards, a total aided by garbage-time yardage in a blowout loss in Carolina. After a bad start to the 2017 season, the Bucs’ pass defense has strung together several respectable performances. In the last three weeks, against Drew Brees and the Saints, Cam Newton and the Panthers and Josh McCown and the Jets, Tampa Bay has surrendered a total of 629 passing offense yards, an average of just over 206 yards per game. Cutler’s Dolphins aren’t as good as any of those previous three opponents. Edge: Buccaneers

Miami rushing offense (30th) vs. Tampa Bay rush defense (14th)

If you throw out Kenyan Drake’s electric 66-yard touchdown run, the Dolphins ran for just 35 yards on 15 carries in Carolina. That’s an average of 2.3 yards per carry. The Dolphins’ lack of consistency on the ground won’t match up well against a Tampa Bay front that has limited teams to 3.9 yards per carry this season, 10th best in the league. The Bucs have, however, allowed eight rushing touchdowns this season, a stat that will be interesting to follow given that the Dolphins picked up just their first rushing touchdown of the year Monday night in Week 10. Ouch. Edge: Buccaneers

When the Buccaneers have the ball…

Tampa Bay total offense (14th in NFL) vs. Miami total defense (17th in NFL)
Tampa Bay scoring offense (22nd) vs. Miami scoring defense (25th)

Tampa Bay passing offense (3rd) vs Miami pass defense (15th)

The Buccaneers have been picking up huge chunks of yards through the air, but the loss of quarterback Jameis Winston could slow their offensive output considerably. After topping 300 yards passing in five of their first six games, the Bucs have failed to eclipse the 200-yard mark in each of their last three contests. In his first start for the injured Winston, Ryan Fitzpatrick threw for 187 yards, a touchdown and an interception. The Dolphins’ pass defense has only three interceptions this season, but Fitzpatrick should give them an opportunity for some takeaways. Miami doesn’t give up a ton of big plays — they’ve allowed just one pass of over 45 yards all season long — but Tampa Bay’s propensity for getting the ball down the field will be a major test of the Fins secondary. Edge: Buccaneers

Tampa Bay rushing offense (28th) vs Miami rush defense (20th)

The Miami run defense had been one of the few bright spots of the season until it was steam-rolled by Carolina on Monday night. The Dolphins gave up 294 yards and two touchdowns on 36 carries as Jonathan Stewart (110 yards), Cam Newton (95) and Cameron Artis-Payne (68) all found success on the ground. Tampa Bay, though, ranks 27th in the NFL in yards per carry at just 3.6 yards a tote. Leading rusher Doug Martin is averaging 3.3 yards a run, while Jacquizz Rodgers is averaging 3.6 on 51 attempts. The Bucs don’t have the same weapons on the ground as Carolina, meaning the Dolphins should have at least a fair shot at keeping them in check. Edge: Dolphins

Special teams

Tampa Bay’s field-goal kicking has been an issue all year, with Nick Folk and Patrick Murray combining to make only 13 of their 19 attempts. The consistency of Dolphins Cody Parkey and Matt Haack — even in limited opportunities for Parkey — gives Miami a minor edge. Edge: Dolphins

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