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David Dorey
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WEEK 11
2010
CHI at MIA BAL at CAR OAK at PIT *TB at SF
*GB at MIN *BUF at CIN *CLE at JAC *IND at NE
WAS at TEN DET at DAL *SEA at NO NYG at PHI
*UPDATED *ARI at KC HOU at NYJ ATL at STL *DEN at SD

Prediction: CHI 17, MIA 20

This seems an odd pairing because the last time it happened was in 2006 and before that 2002. Apparently it only comes in non-presidential election years. Even better, it is the Thursday game this week. The Bears are tied with the Packers at 6-2 for the lead in the NFC North and the Bears are 3-1 on the road. The Fins are 5-4 but trail in the AFC East by two games and remarkably are only 1-3 at home. That could be explained away since the Bears road wins were over DAL, CAR and BUF while the Dolphins home losses went to PIT, NYJ and NE. A new slant - Miami is down to quarterback #3.

Chicago Bears (6-3)
Homefield: Soldier Field
Grass
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 DET W 19-14 10 MIN W 27-13
2 @DAL W 27-20 11 @MIA --
3 GB W 20-17 12 PHI --
4 @NYG L 3-17 13 @DET --
5 @CAR W 23-6 14 NE --
6 SEA L 20-23 15 @MIN --
7 WAS L 14-17 16 NYJ --
8 Bye - 17 @GB --
9 @BUF W 22-19   - -
Bears Report | Statistics | Roster
CHICAGO at MIA Rush Catch Pass
QB Jay Cutler - - 260,1
RB Matt Forte 40 20 -
TE Greg Olsen - 20,1 -
WR Devin Hester - 40 -
WR Devin Aromashodu - 20 -
WR Earl Bennett - 50 -
WR Johnny Knox - 60 -
PK Robbie Gould 1 FG 2 XP -

Pregame Notes: The Bears are doing much better than recent years but part of that has been a kind schedule that is going to be working against them starting this week. With PHI, NE, @MIN, NYJ and @GB left to play the Bears are going to have to beat some quality opponents to remain above .500 at the end, let alone get ahead of the Packers.

I like the Bears to score once via the defense.

QUARTERBACK: Jay Cutler has only played in two full road games this year - at Dallas and Buffalo which ends up were not the toughest road foes. Cutler played in New York before getting knocked out of the game by the Giants. These last two wins over the Bills and Vikings suggested that the offensive line play was improved since they only allowed one sack but now Cutler faces the Fins who already have 23 sacks on the season - two more than Cutler has already felt.

The Dolphins secondary allowed a score to every opponent other than the Vikings but this week will better define just how good the Bears truly are. Cutler should end up with decent yardage and a score in part because the rushing game is going to still be an issue. Anything more than one score lends new credibility to the Bears offense.

RUNNING BACKS: Matt Forte continues to trudge through this season waiting for a really soft matchup in order to have any success. He has not rushed for more than 49 yards in a road game except for the Carolina game which is not an example of anything more than the futility of the Panthers. Chester Taylor is horning in for ten or so carries per game lately though he has done little with his workload as well. Forte has even declined in use as a receiver, only once having more than three small catches over the past seven games.

The Dolphins have remained very good against the run at home with only Chris Johnson topping 100 yards. Figure on more mediocrity from Forte, reduced even more by Taylor.

WIDE RECEIVERS: The wide receivers have only caught four touchdowns and the leader of this group is Devin Hester with scores in weeks two and 10 and almost nothing in between. Hester only gained 38 yards on four catches last week and that was his second best game of the year. Earl Bennett spent three weeks with 50 or so yards but fell down to only 21 yards on three catches last Sunday. Johnny Knox continues to be the most productive receiver with five games of 90 yards or better but he only has one touchdown on the year. Knox actually played with the flu last week and still had 90 yards on five receptions.

The Dolphins have allowed four scores to visiting wideouts this year but this crew has been so unreliable that the only marginal play is Knox for yardage. Even with him were generally lower performances on the road.

TIGHT ENDS: Greg Olsen fell from favor for several weeks but has caught a score in each of the last two games. The yardage is minimal at best. The Dolphins rank well against the receivers and tight ends but at least Olsen has a track record of sorts in recent weeks. It is not a lock to happen but the score could end up here more easily than anywhere else.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points CHI 20 20 27 16 22 9
Preventing Fantasy Points MIA 10 13 9 8 20 14
Advantage(+) or Disadvantage(-) CHI -10 -7 -18 -8 -2 5


Miami Dolphins (5-4)
Homefield: Dolphins Stadium
Grass
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 @BUF W 15-10 10 TEN W 29-17
2 @MIN W 14-10 11 CHI --
3 NYJ L 23-31 12 @OAK --
4 NE L 14-41 13 CLE --
5 Bye - 14 @NYJ --
6 @GB W 23-20 15 BUF --
7 PIT L 22-23 16 DET --
8 @CIN W 22-14 17 @NE --
9 @BAL L 10-26 - - -
Dolphins Report | Statistics | Roster
MIAMI vs CHI Rush Catch Pass
QB Tyler Thigpen - - 200,1
RB Ricky Williams 60 - -
RB Ronnie Brown 30,1 10 -
TE Anthony Fasano - 30,1 -
WR Brandon Marshall - 50 -
WR Brian Hartline - 60 -
WR Davone Bess - 40 -
PK Dan Carpenter 2 FG 2 XP -

Pregame Notes: The Dolphins crawl back up with the nice win over the visiting Titans but losing both quarterbacks was a big price to pay. The good news is that the remaining schedule is much kinder than the first half and the Fins still have a shot at a wild card at the least. The offense was struggling before the loss of Chad Pennington and Chad Henne and now is even less likely to come together. But the defense has kept the Dolphins in almost every game.

LT Jake Long has labrum damage to his shoulder and may miss this Thursday game.

QUARTERBACK: Chad Pennington has been lost for the season with a dislocated shoulder that may end his career. Chad Henne injured his knee and is considered "day-to-day" but is not expected to be back by Thursday in any case. That promotes Tyler Thigpen into the starting slot and the Fins just signed Patrick Ramsey for more quarterback depth.

Thigpen stepped in and completed four of six passes for 64 yards and a score to Anthony Fasano who he favored more than any other receiver in the brief playing time. Thigpen has been more than serviceable in the past when he was given a chance to play and should be no worse than what Henne had been doing. That situation still needs to unwind itself but for this week, Thigpen should get the call. He has only briefly played in the last two seasons but threw 18 touchdowns in Kansas City back in 2008.

The Bears have only allowed a total of six passing touchdowns all year and that is despite facing Tony Romo, Aaron Rodgers, Eli Manning and others. They will allow higher yardage but no team has scored more than once on them if that much. Thigpen is new and won't be asked to do too much against a very good secondary.

RUNNING BACKS: Ronnie Brown has scored in each of the last two games and yet had nearly no yardage to show for it. He had a season low 11 yards on 12 carries in the win over the Titans and has been mediocre even on a good day. Ricky Williams is less consistently used but usually more productive when given the chance. Lousaka Polite and even Patrick Cobbs are mixed in occasionally like Cobbs score on a catch last week.

The Bears are softer against the run and have given up five touchdowns to running backs in road games. The split here ensures neither runner really has much reliable fantasy stock. I like one rushing score and will give it to Brown but with not much confidence. Any of the four running backs could end up with it.

WIDE RECEIVERS: Using a new quarterback throws a different light on this week and this unspectacular crew looks even less desirable for now. Brandon Marshall did have a 16-yard catch from Thigpen last week but has been more than mediocre since week six. Brian Hartline has been more productive than Marshall in the past month though he has just one touchdown back in week two. Davone Bess had a three game stretch with a score but since has been at 50 yards or less.

It is all speculation with Thigpen there and the Bears have allowed just one touchdown to a wideout in a road game. Take your pick here but keep expectations low for now.

TIGHT ENDS: Anthony Fasano comes of a season best game of five receptions for 107 yards and one touchdown on the Titans. He had his score at the end of the game from Thigpen who connected with him twice and just missed him on one long throw. The Bears have yet to allow a score to a tight end though several have topped 50 yards against them. I like the passing score here for a lack of anywhere else with a new quarterback playing.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points MIA 25 22 14 23 2 23
Preventing Fantasy Points CHI 3 12 5 5 1 28
Advantage(+) or Disadvantage(-) MIA -22 -10 -9 -18 -1 5

WEEK 11
2010
CHI at MIA BAL at CAR OAK at PIT TB at SF
GB at MIN BUF at CIN CLE at JAC IND at NE
WAS at TEN DET at DAL SEA at NO NYG at PHI
  ARI at KC HOU at NYJ ATL at STL DEN at SD
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Tuesday Injury Report
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