Dolphins vs. Broncos: How do they match up in Week 13?

How do the Miami Dolphins (4-7) and Denver Broncos (3-8) match up for Sunday’s NFL Week 13 tilt at Hard Rock Stadium?

Miami Dolphins quarterback Matt Moore (8) gets sacked by New England Patriots defensive end Trey Flowers (98) in the second quarter on Sunday, Nov. 26, 2017 at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Mass. (Jim Rassol/Sun Sentinel/TNS)

When the Dolphins have the ball…

Miami total offense (30th in NFL) vs. Denver total defense (3rd in NFL)
Miami scoring offense (30th) vs. Denver scoring defense (27th)

Miami passing offense (22nd) vs. Denver pass defense (4th)

Another week, another poor showing from the Dolphins’ passing attack. After trailing early, Matt Moore got plenty of opportunities to throw the ball against the Patriots, completing 23 of 34 passes for a mere 215 yards. Jay Cutler will be back under center against the Broncos, but how will he fare behind a still banged-up line that allowed seven sacks to New England? Denver’s pass defense has been an anomaly of sorts, ranking fourth in the league in passing yards allowed despite surrendering a league-high 24 touchdowns through the air. The stinginess of the Broncos D will likely play a bigger factor than its vulnerability to surrendering touchdowns, given how Miami’s passing game is constructed. Given the recent history, it will still be difficult for Miami to pick up first downs through the air, much less touchdowns. Edge: Broncos

Miami rushing offense (29th) vs. Denver rush defense (4th)

The Dolphins’ rushing attack enjoyed its most consistent performance since the Ajayi trade. Unfortunately, that was a low bar to surpass. Damien Williams and Kenyan Drake combined for 58 yards on 17 carries, a mild 3.4 yards per carry, and with Williams likely out, the unit will likely continue to struggle against a stout Denver run defense. The Broncos have allowed only 87.2 yards per game on the ground, and they have given up only five rushing touchdowns, third fewest in the league. They have held opponents to under 100 rushing yards in eight of their 11 games. This is not a fair fight. Edge: Broncos


When the Broncos have the ball…

Denver total offense (22nd in NFL) vs. Miami total defense (21st in NFL)
Denver scoring offense (26th) vs. Miami scoring defense (30th)

Denver passing offense (19th) vs. Miami pass defense (17th)

Despite respectable numbers, the Broncos’ passing game shouldn’t instill a ton of fear in a Dolphins pass defense that limited Tom Brady to 227 yards on 18 completions. Miami did allow the Patriots four passing scores, but it will face backup quarterback Trevor Siemian in Sunday’s tilt. Siemian took over for an injured Paxton Lynch in Week 12 and completed just 11 of 21 attempts for 149 yards and two touchdowns. The Broncos have thrown 15 interceptions, yet the Dolphins have forced only four; both teams rank among the NFL’s worst in their respective categories. Miami should be able to limit Denver’s passing game enough to keep them from scoring a ton of points. Edge: Dolphins

Denver rushing offense (16th) vs. Miami rush defense (25th)

What started as an effective unit earlier this season is quickly becoming a problem spot for the Dolphins. Things are quickly trending downward again after the Dolphins gave up 196 yards on the ground in New England, just two weeks after giving up 294 to Carolina. But Denver is coming off a game where it gained only 59 rushing yards. Backs C.J. Anderson and Devontae Booker combined for just 23 yards on 11 carries, and most of the team’s yardage came from now-injured quarterback Paxton Lynch. Denver did rush for over 100 yards each of the two weeks prior, but the Dolphins should be in good shape, even with their recent struggles. Edge: Dolphins


Special teams

Denver kicker Brandon McManus has made only 17 of 23 field-goal attempts this year, though he has converted all 20 extra points. While Dolphins kicker Cody Parkey hasn’t had the same volume of attempts, he has been more consistent, making 12 of 13 field goals and 16 of 19 extra-point tries. Young punters Riley Dixon and Matt Haack have been middle-of-the-pack in terms of yards per punt. Parkey’s consistency gives Dolphins a slight advantage. Edge: Dolphins

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