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Who has the edge? Breaking down the matchups for Dolphins (5-3) at Bears (3-5) – Boston Herald


Here’s a look at how the Miami Dolphins (5-3) and Chicago Bears (3-5) match up in six key areas ahead of Sunday’s Week 9 game at Soldier Field (1 p.m., CBS):

When the Dolphins run: We’ll get the debut of former 49ers running back Jeff Wilson Jr. for Miami after the Dolphins traded for him, reuniting Wilson with coach Mike McDaniel while shipping off Chase Edmonds in the Bradley Chubb trade with the Denver Broncos. It still should be Raheem Mostert getting a bulk of the workload, though, on Sunday in Chicago.

Mostert had 64 yards on 14 carries his last time out against the Lions. Wilson appears to be a better complement to the speedster Mostert than Edmonds previously was. Edmonds’ time with the Dolphins came to an end after he averaged 2.9 yards per carry in eight games.

Chicago has the league’s No. 31-ranked run defense out of 32 teams, so there should be opportunities for Miami in the ground game. And that ranking was with linebacker Roquan Smith and defensive end Robert Quinn, which the Bears recently traded away. Edge: Dolphins

When the Bears run: This is where Chicago does most of its damage offensively, with South Florida product Khalil Herbert, who played high school football at Plantation American Heritage, leading the way. He has a whopping 6.2 yards-per-carry and leads the team with 563 rushing yards. David Montgomery splits carries with Herbert but averages 3.9 yards per attempt.

Quarterback Justin Fields is one of the league’s top dual-threat passers, racking up 424 rushing yards this season, which ranks second to Baltimore’s Lamar Jackson. The Bears recently began going to him more on designed runs, and it paid enormous dividends in their Monday night win over the Patriots two weeks ago, opening up the play-action pass, as well as lanes for Herbert and Montgomery.

That top-ranked Bears rushing attack goes against a Dolphins run defense that has been very solid and continues to rise in the ranks each week, now up to No. 6 in the league. Miami has held opponents under 100 rushing yards in three of the past four games. Edge: Even

When the Dolphins pass: Quarterback Tua Tagovailoa is coming off what might’ve been his most complete game overall in his three-year career. After going 29 of 36 for 382 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions at Detroit, he now leads the NFL in passer rating (112.7).

The receiving tandem of Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle are on a record pace together with 1,688 combined receiving yards, the most by any pair of teammates through eight games. Hill himself is on pace to break Calvin Johnson’s record of 1,964 with 961 receiving yards to this point. The speedy combination is finding lots of room to work in the middle of the field with opposing defenses stretched out, concerned with them as deep threats.

Bears safety Eddie Jackson, a South Florida product from Boyd Anderson High, appears to be returning to Pro Bowl form this season, leading the NFL with four interceptions. With Smith now gone, he also leads Chicago with 58 tackles. While the Bears rank fifth in pass defense, they don’t produce much in terms of pass rush, especially without Quinn and losing Khalil Mack in the offseason. Edge: Dolphins

When the Bears pass: While Fields is a threat with his legs, he has not impressed with his arm. The second-year passer is completing 58.5 percent of passes for 1,199 yards, seven touchdowns and six interceptions.

While the Bears are rebuilding, they tried to acquire some help for Fields in the receiving corps, trading with the Pittsburgh Steelers for Chase Claypool. He gets thrown into a unit that has been led by Darnell Mooney’s 364 yards on 25 receptions. Claypool had five receptions for 41 yards in Miami on Oct. 23 when the Steelers lost a Sunday night game at Hard Rock Stadium.

It’ll be the debut of star edge rusher Chubb in a Dolphins uniform, and he’ll look to improve a Miami pass rush opposite Jaelan Phillips. It’ll be interesting to see if Miami continues to go with the safety alignment of undrafted rookie Verone McKinley deep with Jevon Holland in the box as the strong safety with Brandon Jones sidelined for the season. The Dolphins gave up plenty through the air in the first half against Detroit last week, but clamped down in the second half. Edge: Dolphins

Special teams: The Dolphins’ special teams is working on a rebound from early-season struggles. Jason Sanders made his one field goal attempt last week, and punter Thomas Morstead’s short pooch was covered well by gunner Keion Crossen. They also got some punt return yardage finally, going with Cedrick Wilson again.

Bears kicker Cairo Santos is 12 for 12 on field goals this season, including four from 50-plus. They have Trenton Gill as their punter and use Velus Jones in the return game. Edge: Even

Intangibles: As far as November trips to Chicago are concerned, the Dolphins may be lucking out with temperatures expected to be in the 60s on Sunday afternoon. There could be some 15 mph winds, though. Either way, Miami comes in off two consecutive wins and adding to their roster at the trade deadline. The Bears have made it clear they’re rebuilding by trading away two of their top defenders and are coming off a 49-29 loss to the Dallas Cowboys. Edge: Dolphins

PREDICTION: Dolphins 34, Bears 24

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