DENVER BRONCOS (0-2) at MIAMI DOLPHINS (2-0)
Sunday, 1 p.m. EDT, CBS
OPENING LINE: Dolphins by 6 1/2, according to FanDuel SportsBook.
AGAINST THE SPREAD: Broncos 0-2, Dolphins 2-0.
SERIES RECORD: Dolphins lead 12-6-1.
LAST MEETING: Broncos defeated Dolphins 20-13 on Nov. 22, 2020, in Denver.
LAST WEEK: Broncos lost 35-33 to Commanders; Dolphins beat Patriots 24-17.
BRONCOS OFFENSE: OVERALL (16), RUSH (15), PASS (12), SCORING (14T)
BRONCOS DEFENSE: OVERALL (16), RUSH (11), PASS (21), SCORING (23T)
DOLPHINS OFFENSE: OVERALL (1), RUSH (16), PASS (1), SCORING (3T)
DOLPHINS DEFENSE: OVERALL (24), RUSH (28), PASS (14), SCORING (19T)
TURNOVER DIFFERENTIAL: Broncos minus-1; Dolphins minus-1.
BRONCOS PLAYER TO WATCH: Rookie WR Marvin Mims Jr. had 168 all-purpose yards on just five touches against the Commanders, but coach Sean Payton inexplicably didn’t have him targeted after his 45-yard punt return in the second quarter. He had two catches for 113 yards, including a 60-yard touchdown on a play in which he was supposed to be a blocker but broke free over the middle when Wilson audibled to a pass with both cornerbacks showing blitz. He also carried twice for 10 yards.
DOLPHINS PLAYER TO WATCH: QB Tua Tagovailoa has shown through two weeks that the leap he took in 2022 was not a fluke. He has a league-best 715 yards passing with a 102.9 rating entering Miami's home opener. Tagovailoa was especially good at home last year, with eight TDs, three interceptions and a 103.4 passer rating in six home starts.
KEY MATCHUP: WR Tyreek Hill vs CB Patrick Surtain II. Surtain has only allowed four receptions this season. Against one of the league's best receivers in Las Vegas' Davante Adams, Surtain recorded three pass breakups and limited Adams to 1 yard while he was in coverage in Week 1. Surtain will have a big test against Miami's speedy receivers, particularly Tyreek Hill, who Surtain credited with having both downfield speed and short-area quickness.
KEY INJURIES: Star safety Justin Simmons missed Wednesday’s practice with an injured hip. He missed most of training camp with a groin injury. Simmons appeared to be walking around without any discomfort in the locker room. Simmons’ six interceptions tied for the league lead last year despite missing a month with a thigh injury he suffered in the 2022 opener. ... OLB Frank Clark (hip) will miss this game and more after getting hurt last weekend. ... Two players are nursing ankle injuries: LT Garett Bolles, who was limited in practice, and DT Mike Purcell, who sat out Wednesday. ... Dolphins WR Jaylen Waddle is progressing through the concussion protocol after a helmet-to-helmet hit last week. ... LT Terron Armstead (back, ankle, knee) missed his second straight game last week and is still day to day. ... LB Jaelan Phillips missed last week's game after hurting his back in practice. Coach Mike McDaniel said Phillips is progressing.
SERIES NOTES: The Dolphins are 8-1 at home against the Broncos. ... Denver routed Miami 38-3 in their only postseason meeting on Jan. 9, 1999, in the AFC divisional round. ... The Broncos have won three of the past four meetings. ... This will be the first meeting as head coaches between McDaniel and Payton.
STATS AND STUFF: Only one coach in Broncos history started out worse than Payton has at 0-2, and that’s Miami’s defensive coordinator Vic Fangio, who lost his first four games as Denver’s head coach in 2019. … QB Russell Wilson has led Denver on five first-half touchdown drives while completing 23 of 27 passes but just one second-half TD in nine possessions after halftime, and that came on a 50-yard Hail Mary with no time remaining last weekend. … With catches of 53 and 60 yards last week, Mims became the first Broncos player since the 1970 AFL-NFL merger to post two receptions of 50-plus yards in a game. ... The Broncos lead the league with 19 accepted penalties, including a dozen on defense, seven of which have come in third or fourth down. ... WR Brandon Johnson’s first TD catch last year as a rookie was the 300th TD throw of Wilson’s career, but Wilson gave the ball to Johnson. His second and third TD receptions came last week, and he threw the ball from his 16-yard TD to his father, former MLB catcher Charles Johnson, in the stands. He threw the ball from his third TD, a 50-yard Hail Mary as time expired, into the stands, as well. … RB Jaleel McLauglin scored his first career touchdown last week on his only carry, from 5 yards out. McLaughlin led the NFL this preseason with four touchdowns. ... The Dolphins last started consecutive seasons 3-0 in 1994-96. ... Miami has won 12 of its previous 15 home games. ... Tagovailoa is 10-1 in career starts against Super Bowl-winning head coaches. He has won his past 10, with five coming against Bill Belichick. ... The Dolphins lead the league with 7.3 yards per play, a full yard better than any other team in the NFL. ... Tagovailoa's 9.5 yards per play leads the NFL. ... The Dolphins are one of six NFL teams that have allowed one sack or fewer. Miami has allowed one sack and two QB hurries this season. ... RB Raheem Mostert rushed for 121 yards on 18 carries against New England. His career rushing average of 5.39 yards per carry is third-best in the Super Bowl era among running backs with at least 250 attempts. ... S Jevon Holland led the team with 11 tackles last week and is one of two DBs (Camryn Bynum) with 10-plus tackles in each of the first two weeks. He's had at least five tackles in each of his past five games.
FANTASY TIP: Hill has 16 receptions for 255 yards receiving with a league-best three TDs for Miami. He has been targeted 24 times, which is third most in the league. Hill has 492 yards and five TDs in 11 career games against Denver.
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