Dolphins, Colts face off, both aiming to escape shaky starts

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INDIANAPOLIS (0-3) at MIAMI (1-2)

Sunday, 1 p.m. EDT, CBS

OPENING LINE: Miami by 2 1/2, according to FanDuel SportsBook.

AGAINST THE SPREAD: Indianapolis 1-2, Miami 2-1.

SERIES RECORD: Dolphins lead 48-27.

LAST MEETING: Dolphins beat Colts 16-12 on Nov. 10, 2019 in Indianapolis.

LAST WEEK: Colts lost at Tennessee 25-16; Dolphins lost at Las Vegas 31-28.

COLTS OFFENSE: OVERALL (21), RUSH (19), PASS (26), SCORING (T-24).

COLTS DEFENSE: OVERALL (18), RUSH (28), PASS (12), SCORING (22).

DOLPHINS OFFENSE: OVERALL (29), RUSH (23), PASS (29), SCORING (30).

DOLPHINS DEFENSE: OVERALL (25), RUSH (27), PASS (19), SCORING (23).

TURNOVER DIFFERENTIAL: Colts plus-3; Dolphins plus-1.

COLTS PLAYER TO WATCH: RB Jonathan Taylor. Coach Frank Reich expects his team to run effectively but so far it has been stymied by three good defenses. This could be the week Indy grinds it out, against a defense allowing 4.29 yards per carry.

DOLPHINS PLAYER TO WATCH: WR Jaylen Waddle. He has 22 catches on 26 targets through the first three weeks, though he hasn’t had any go for longer than 36 yards. But the rookie clearly looks comfortable at this level.

KEY MATCHUP: Dolphins QB Jacoby Brissett vs. the Colts' defense. He knows them, because he spent the last four seasons in Indianapolis. They know him, because he spent the last four seasons in Indianapolis.

KEY INJURIES: For the Colts, QB Carson Wentz (sprained ankles) is expected to play. It’s unclear whether All-Pro left guard Quenton Nelson (sprained right ankle) or right tackle Braden Smith (strained foot) will play. Smith has missed Indy’s last two games. Three defensive starters — end Kwity Paye (hamstring), safety Khari Willis (ankle and groin) and cornerback Rock Ya-Sin (ankle) — are on the injury report and four-time Pro Bowl receiver T.Y. Hilton (neck surgery) is not expected to be activated from injured reserve. For the Dolphins, QB Tua Tagovailoa (fractured ribs) remains out, while LB Jerome Baker (hamstring) and WR Will Fuller (chest and elbow) are question marks.

SERIES NOTES: The Colts are coming to Miami for only the second time in the last 12 seasons. ... The teams were division rivals from 1970 through 2001, meeting twice every year in that span. This will be only the 10th regular-season meeting in a 20-season span since. ... The Dolphins are 15-1 when scoring 30 or more points against the Colts; the Colts are 11-1 when scoring 30 or more points against the Dolphins.

STATS AND STUFF: Don Shula, who coached the Colts and Dolphins in a 33-year career that saw him win more games than anyone else in NFL history, is being honored by Miami this weekend. Shula died in May 2020, and the pandemic kept the Dolphins from any public celebrations of his life until now. ... Wentz has been sacked eight times behind an offensive line that has been without at least one projected starter in each of Indy’s first three games. .. The Dolphins were the NFL’s best team in third-down conversion defense in 2020 (31.2%). So far this season, they’ve been the NFL’s worst in that department (59.1%). ... Nelson has started all 54 games, including playoffs, since Indianapolis drafted him sixth overall in 2018. ... Brissett spent the previous four seasons in Indy where he went 11-19 during two stints as the starter. He replaced Andrew Luck in 2017 and 2019. ... The Colts have the second-fewest penalties (9) and second-fewest penalty yards (107).

FANTASY TIP: Colts K Rodrigo Blankenship has made three field goals in each of his last two games. Dolphins K Jason Sanders is among the NFL’s best. With neither offense exactly running like well-oiled machines right now, if you must use an Indy or Miami player, the kickers might be the best bet.

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The Associated Press

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