The Miami Dolphins continue to be the surprise of the AFC this season, winning five consecutive games and competing for the AFC East title in Brian Flores' second season as the head coach. Miami has won three consecutive games and will seek to continue the streak with a favorable schedule over the next several games -- starting with Sunday's matchup against the Denver Broncos.
Denver continues to slide toward the bottom of the conference standings, losing three of its last four games and scoring just 12 points in a 25-point loss to the Las Vegas Raiders last week. The Broncos will have starting quarterback Drew Lock on the mend this week as he his battling a muscle strain and bruising near his ribs, adding even more issues to a team falling out of playoff contention in a loaded AFC.
Can Denver actually pull off the upset against Miami? Will the Dolphins continue their winning streak and tie the Buffalo Bills atop the AFC East? We'll find out soon, but here's everything you need to know for this AFC showdown.
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The Dolphins continue to thrive with Tua Tagovailoa as the starting quarterback, as Tagovailoa looks to join Ben Roethlisberger as the only rookie quarterbacks over the last 40 years to win their first four starts. Tagovailoa has completed 62.7% of his passes for 510 yards with five touchdown passes and no interceptions in his three starts --as the Dolphins are averaging 30.3 points per game. Miami's 17.2 points allowed per game is the fewest in the NFL since Week 5 while its 31.6 points per contest in that time is fourth best in the league. The Dolphins lead the league in point differential since Week 5 at +14.4, so this team is firing on all cylinders heading into Week 12.
Denver has been struggling over the last several weeks, not having a fourth-quarter rally in last Sunday's blowout loss to Las Vegas. The Broncos had a season-high five turnovers in last week's loss to the Raiders, and have a season-high 21 on the year -- which is the most in the NFL. Denver's defense has allowed 30+ points in four straight games, the longest active streak in the NFL -- and have been outscored by 58 points over the last four games. The Broncos are averaging just 92.3 rush yards per game over the last three games, which ranks amongst the bottom 10 in the NFL.
The Dolphins have recorded a turnover in 15 consecutive games, which is the longest streak in the league while Denver has committed a turnover in 10 straight games. That's also the longest streak in the NFL. The turnover issue is going to be a problem for Denver no matter if Lock or Brett Rypien is the starting quarterback. Denver did score a season-high 37 points in Rypien's lone start, but also turned the ball over three times in that Week 4 win over the New York Jets. Miami's defense is a different animal and the Broncos can't turn the ball over if they want to have a chance in this one. Miami should be able to run the ball efficiently against a Denver defense that allowed 200+ yards in two of the last three games. Hard to trust Denver this week.
Pick: Dolphins 36, Broncos 22
Check out CBSSports.com for even more expert predictions on this game and the rest of Week 12.