Dolphins at Cardinals -- Week 4
Where: University of Phoenix Stadium, Glendale, Ariz. (indoors)
When: Sunday, 4:05 p.m. ET (CBS)
Spread: Cardinals by 5.5
2012 records: Dolphins (1-2, AFC East: 0-1); Cardinals (3-0, NFC West: 1-0)
Past results: Two most recent meetings -- Sept. 14, 2008: Cardinals 31, Dolphins 10; November 7, 2004: Cardinals 24, Dolphins 23. Series record: Dolphins lead 8-2.
What matters: The Dolphins dropped a sloppy game in overtime against the Jets last week and now must travel across the country to play one of the hottest teams in the league. Arizona has won 10 of its past 12 games, including an upset of the Patriots in New England. A victory over the Cardinals would give Miami momentum it desperately needs.
Who matters: It all comes down to the health of RB Reggie Bush. He suffered a left knee injury against the Jets, but an MRI revealed no structural damage. He has been limited in practice, but a team with a pop-gun attack can't afford to miss a player who has rushed for 302 yards and two scores and caught 10 passes for 72 yards. DE Cameron Wake is chasing his first sack of the season. The former Pro Bowler had 8.5 sacks last year after having 14 in 2010. He's struggling against slide protection and multiple blockers.
Key matchups: CB Sean Smith has looked lost at times this year and has been slowed by a injuries. DBs Nolan Carroll and Jimmy Wilson aren't doing much better as they were burned repeatedly against the Jets, and CB Richard Marshall has a bad back. Who will slow Arizona star WR Larry Fitzgerald? The reigning NFC offensive player of the week had nine catches for 114 yards and a touchdown against the Eagles last week.
Inside stuff: The Dolphins aren't happy with their special teams. With a spate of injuries to their defensive backs and linebackers, Miami signed S Jonathon Amaya and LB Mike Rivera. Both could boost the kicking and coverage teams immediately. Amaya had nine special teams tackles and a forced fumble for the Saints last year, and Rivera was on the 53-man roster for the Patriots the first two weeks of the season.
Stat you should know: The Dolphins' receivers have no touchdown catches through three games. The unit struggles at stretching the field and has no legitimate deep threat. WRs Brian Hartline (13 catches, 202 yards) and Davone Bess (13 catches, 174 yards) have made just six catches of 20 or more yards this season.
Looking ahead: The Dolphins need to have a win or things could get ugly fast. A second-straight defeat could easily snowball into a long losing streak. Upcoming games against the Bengals, Rams, Jets, Colts, Titans and Bills are no gimees as each of those teams has looked better than the Dolphins at some point this season. A loss here also could be demoralizing for an offense with no quality receiving weapons and rookie QB Ryan Tannehill trying to learn the pro game.
Prediction: Cardinals 30, Dolphins 13
For more up-to-the-minute news and analysis on the Miami Dolphins from blogger Dave Carey, follow @CBSDolphins.