Who has the edge? Breaking down the matchups for Dolphins (6-3) vs. Browns (3-5) – The Denver Post


Here’s a look at how the Miami Dolphins (6-3) and Cleveland Browns (3-5) match up in six key areas ahead of Sunday’s Week 10 game at Hard Rock Stadium (1 p.m., CBS):

When the Dolphins run: It’s a new-look backfield for the Dolphins now with Jeff Wilson Jr. in the mix. If his debut with Miami is any indication, he’s now set to split carries with Raheem Mostert after Mostert had a handle on the bulk of the carries when he was paired with Chase Edmonds, who was dealt in the Bradley Chubb trade.

Wilson and Mostert each got nine carries last Sunday against the Chicago Bears. Wilson picked up 51 yards off those attempts and Mostert 26, but Wilson added three receptions for 21 yards and a touchdown. Coach Mike McDaniel said he’s looking to get both their opportunities and could lean toward a hot hand if one develops in a game.

The Browns are 22nd against the run. They can take a run game out if they build an early lead and control time of possession with their own ground game. In their last win, they did that to the Cincinnati Bengals and only allowed 36 yards rushing. They’ve also allowed rush totals of 238 to the Los Angeles Chargers, 202 to the Atlanta Falcons and 160 to the Baltimore Ravens. If Miami commits to the run game, there should be opportunities against the Cleveland front. Edge: Dolphins

When the Browns run: After failing to stop the Chicago Bears’ No. 1-ranked rushing attack, the Dolphins’ reward is the Browns and their third-ranked rushing offense. The good news is Cleveland does it the traditional way with the running backs, which the Dolphins have been good against, as opposed to stopping scrambling quarterbacks like the Bears’ Justin Fields.

Nick Chubb is second in the NFL in rushing with 841 yards and averaging a whopping 5.6 yards per carry with 10 touchdowns. Kareem Hunt is possibly the league’s top No. 2 running back, and he’s going for 4 yards per carry. The Browns have five Pro Bowls between their two guards, Joel Bitonio and Wyatt Teller.

The Dolphins fell all the way from sixth to 15th in run defense after allowing Fields to run for 178 yards, an NFL regular-season record for a quarterback. It should still be a competitive matchup Sunday because Christian Wilkins, Zach Sieler and the rest of the defensive front did not leave too much to be discouraged about in stopping running backs. Against the Bears, David Montgomery and Khalil Herbert were held to a combined 2.8 yards per carry. The fundamentals in tackling and angles in pursuit still have to be sharper. Edge: Browns

When the Dolphins pass: Miami has put itself up there with the most electric passing attacks in the NFL. Quarterback Tua Tagovailoa is on fire with a league-leading passer rating (115.9). He is coming off the best two-game stretch of his career, completing 75 percent of passes for 684 yards, six touchdowns and no interceptions in wins over the Detroit Lions and Bears.

Tyreek Hill is on an NFL single-season receiving record pace, and he and Jaylen Waddle are combining for the most receiving yards teammates have accumulated through a team’s first nine games in the Super Bowl era. The pass protection for Tagovailoa is also settling in with Terron Armstead and Brandon Shell at the two tackle spots.

It will need to be on point against a Cleveland defense that features Myles Garrett and his 7 1/2 sacks. He can switch sides but will likely line up a bit more in front of Armstead. Two-time Pro Bowl cornerback Denzel Ward could be in line to return from concussion for the Browns’ 15th-ranked pass defense. Converting third downs, where Tagovailoa has been money, will be key in not allowing Cleveland to win time of possession with its ground game. Edge: Dolphins

When the Browns pass: Jacoby Brissett revenge game? The South Florida product who once starred at Dwyer High in Palm Beach Gardens and spent last season with the Dolphins returns home as a starter in place of the suspended Deshaun Watson. Brissett is completing 63.9 percent of passes for 1,862 yards, seven touchdowns and five interceptions, an 86.8 passer rating.

Complementing the run game, Brissett actually has the Browns in the middle of the pack in passing offense, ranking 16th of 32 teams. In his past two outings, including the 32-13 Monday night win over the Bengals that preceded Cleveland’s bye, Brissett is 39 of 49 for 536 yards, a touchdown and no interceptions. Continuing with the South Florida connections, Miami Northwestern High product Amari Cooper is having a solid season with 39 receptions for 553 yards and five touchdowns, as is former University of Miami tight end David Njoku (34 receptions, 418 yards, touchdown).

The new pass-rushing tandem of Bradley Chubb and Jaelan Phillips will get its second game together. The hope for Miami is cornerback Xavien Howard finds his rhythm after he gave up a touchdown to Darnell Mooney during the Bears game and had what would’ve been his first interception of the season negated by a hold. It will be interesting to see if the Dolphins stick with Eric Rowe or go back to either Verone McKinley or Clayton Fejedelem for the safety spot alongside Jevon Holland since Brandon Jones went down. Edge: Even

Special teams: The Dolphins got a big play from their special teams against the Bears. Phillips came through with the blocked punt, and Andrew Van Ginkel recovered it for the touchdown.

But then there was the weekly blunder — this time, Jason Sanders missing a 29-yard field goal for his first miss from inside 50 yards. Browns kicker Cade York has also missed four field goals on the season. Edge: Even

Intangibles: The Browns are coming off their bye, but it also kind of stunted some momentum they may have been picking up from their Monday night win over the Bengals their last time out. The Dolphins return home after back-to-back road wins and are on a three-game winning streak, but they must focus on earning this win and not looking ahead to the bye week that follows. Edge: Dolphins

PREDICTION: Dolphins 27, Browns 20



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