The Miami Dolphins will host the Chicago Bears in the second Thursday Night Football game of the year. The Bears are sitting at 6-3 trying to get a leg up on the Green Bay Packers in the NFC North while the Dolphins enter the game at 5-4 and trying to stay competitive in the AFC East behind the New England Patriots and New York Jets. The game is important for both sides but maybe more so for the Dolphins who would fall behind the the Pats and Jets by three games in the loss column.
The Dolphins enter the game with question marks surrounding their quarterback and left tackle.
QB Tyler Thigpen is likely the Dolphins starter after QB Chad Henne and QB Chad Pennington suffered injuries. Thigpen hasn't started since 2008 when he went 1-10 with the Chiefs. He's semi-accurate and his biggest threat has been his ability to move in the pocket and scramble if need be.
LT Jake Long's availability is in question as he is is suffering from a shoulder injury but, according to SB Nation's The Phinsider, he'll likely be playing. That's especially important this week as they face DE Julius Peppers.
Long, meanwhile, is only listed a questionable to play. But those who know him believe he will attempt to play with this shoulder injury. The question becomes how effective he will be going up against a premier pass rusher like Peppers. Of course, a 50% Jake Long is still better than a 100% Lydon Murtha. But I'd be lying if I said I wasn't worried about this matchup.
The Bears biggest strength is their defense, ranked second in the NFL. They can shut down the run -- second in the NFL against the run -- so they're hoping to make the Dolphins one dimensional. The game may come down to how well Thigpen reacts if the Bears can stop RB Ronnie Brown and RB Ricky Williams.