By Abraham Gutierrez
Soldier Field in Chicago, Illinois, will be the site for a crucial NFL Week 7 clash between the (2-3) Miami Dolphins and the (3-3) Chicago Bears. Opening kickoff is scheduled for Sunday afternoon at 1 p.m. Eastern Time and it will be broadcast live on CBS Sports (CBS-4 Miami).
This is a battle of third-place teams, as "Da Bears" trail the (4-2) Green Bay Packers and the Detroit Lions in the NFC North, while the Fins' latest loss has them looking up at the (4-2) New England Patriots and the (3-3) Buffalo Bills in the AFC East standings.
According to NFL oddsmakers, Joe Philbin & Co. will have something to prove on their trip to the Windy City. Early NFL Week 7 point spreads illustrate how Miami is a four-point underdog in this matchup against Chicago, and how the OVER/UNDER for this interconference showdown tallies 49 points.
Chicago Bears on Offense
With offensive coordinator Aaron Kromer at the helm, the Bears feature an offensive attack that ranks 20th in the league in rushing yards per game at 103.7 rushing yards per game, 15th in points per game (23.8), 14th in total yards (370.2) and 9th (266) in passing yards per game. Running back Matt Forte is the NFL's sixth leading rusher, as he comes into Week 7 with 399 yards total on 99 carries, for an average of 4.0 rushing yards per attempt and two touchdowns.
Through the air, 31-year-old quarterback Jay Cutler runs the Bears' passing attack, which is good enough for 17th in the league with 246.2 yards per game. The 2008 Pro Bowler is off to a hot start this season, as he ranks sixth in the league in passing with 1,676 yards per game on 156-for-225 completions, to go along with his 13 touchdowns and 6 interceptions (97.4 QBR).
Thus far this season, Forte has proven to be an all-purpose player for this franchise, as he leads the team with 46 receptions for 376 yards and a score. Veteran wide out Brandon Marshall leads the Bears receive corps with five touchdown catches to go along with his 301 yards on 25 grabs.
Another receive Miami's secondary will have to contend with – especially in the Red Zone – is seventh-year man out of Texas A&M, Martellus Bennett. At six-foot-six-inches, the 27-year-old from San Diego, California, has become one of Cutler's favorite targets, and his four touchdowns are good enough for second best in the roster, to go along with his 36 catches for 364 yards.
Chicago Bears on Defense
For years, defense has been the staple of the Bears organization. However over the last several years, Chicago's defensive might has faded, leading to one of the worst defensive seasons in the franchise's history in 2013.
Thus, defensive coordinator Mel Tucker had linebackers coach Tim Tibesar and defensive line coach Mike Phair fired and replaced by Paul Pasqualoni (defensive line coach) and Reggie Herring (linebackers coach). After six games, the personnel changes have translated into this defense being ranked 10th against the rush (103.7), 17th in both passing (246.2) and total yards (349.8), and 21st in points allowed (24.0).
Miami's offensive line will have to keep close tabs on two Bears defenders in particular, as defensive end Willie Young leads the team with seven sacks, followed by defensive tackle Stephen Paea's four sacks. Other defensive players to look out for include: strong safety Ryan Mundy (29 tackles: 24 solo, 5 assist), cornerback Kyle Fuller (30 tackles: 22 solo, 8 assist, 3 forced fumbles), inside linebacker Jon Bostic (28 tackles: 17 solo, 11 assist), outside linebacker Lance Briggs (22 tackles: 15 solo, 7 assist) and others.
Dolphins vs Bears Head-to-Head Series
History will be on the Fins' side for this NFL Week 7 clash, as the Miami Dolphins lead the overall series against the Chicago Bears, 7-4-0. The Dolphins have scored 277 points to the Bears' 194, and come in winners of two of their last three encounters. However, their last meeting dates back to the 2010 NFL season, when Miami laid a goose egg at home in a 0-16 loss to Chicago at Sun Life Stadium.
For more Dolphins news and updates, visit Dolphins Central.
Abe Gutierrez is a criminal justice admin whose love for sports led him to become a writer and editor. His expertise make him a valued addition to Examiner.com and its partners. His work can be found on Examiner.com. .
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