Where: Sun Life Stadium, Miami Gardens, Fla.
When: Sunday, 1 p.m. ET (CBS)
Forecast: Mid-80s, 30 percent chance of isolated thunderstorms
Spread: Dolphins by 3.5
2012 records -- Dolphins (2-3, AFC East: 0-1); Rams (3-2, NFC West: 2-0)
Past results: Two most recent meetings -- Nov. 30, 2008: Dolphins 16, Rams 12; Oct. 24, 2004: Dolphins 31, Rams 14. Series record: Dolphins lead 9-2.
What matters: The Dolphins claimed their first road win of the season with a 17-13 victory at Cincinnati last week. Another win before Miami's bye week could provide a huge boost and propel the team into the second half of the season. A loss could mark the beginning of a full-blown rebuilding project and veteran players may begin checking out as young players get extended snaps.
Who matters: Rookie QB Ryan Tannehill is emerging as one of the best young players at his position in the league. The eighth-overall pick in April's draft threw for 223 yards and didn't commit a turnover in last week's win, and he showed poise with a late drive to flip field position. He also has improved at routinely hitting his hot receiver to counter various blitz packages. He will need to be just as poised against an aggressive Rams front seven. Meantime, DT Randy Starks bolstered his upcoming free-agent resume by earning AFC defensive player of the week honors for his performance against the Bengals. Starks had three tackles, half a sack, an interception and two passes defended in the win.
Key matchups: LT Jake Long has his work cut out for him against Rams DE Robert Quinn. The Dolphins former No. 1 overall draft pack continues to play at an All-Pro level as he protects the blind side of a rookie quarterback and anchors a unit averaging 135.6 rushing yards per game. Along with rookie RT Jonathan Martin, the pair will be counted on to contain Quinn, who has 15 tackles and six sacks this season.
Inside stuff: RB Lamar Miller could have a huge role against the Rams. Miller, who became the first Dolphins rookie to score a rushing touchdown since Ronnie Brown in 2005, likely will be the top backup behind Bush because Thomas is expected to miss the game with a concussion. Miller has struggled with blitz pickup but has better overall speed and is more dynamic in the open field. The fourth-round draft pick has rushed for 126 yards and a score this season.
Stat you should know: 0. Interceptions by Tannehill in the team's two victories this season. The former Texas A&M star has thrown a total of six interceptions in three defeats.
Looking ahead: The Dolphins could generate some real momentum with a second straight win. Upcoming games against the Jets, Colts, Titans and Bills don't seem very intimidating after the last few weeks and with a bye looming, a healthy Miami team could be poised to make a playoff run. However, a loss would leave the team two games below .500 and could force the coaching staff to start giving younger players bigger roles during the bye week as management looks toward the future.
Prediction: Dolphins 20, Rams 16
For more up-to-the-minute news and analysis on the Miami Dolphins from blogger Dave Carey, follow @CBSDolphins