There might be those who think of the classic 1981 playoff game and images of tight end Kellen Winslow being helped off the field after helping the Chargers to an overtime win over Miami whenever the Chargers and Dolphins get together. More recently, the teams are linked by the Dolphins choosing quarterback Tua Tagovailoa with the fifth overall selection in the 2020 NFL Draft with the Chargers picking Justin Herbert with the next pick.
The teams have split the two games since Tagovailoa and Herbert came into the league. Tagovailoa and Herbert each threw two touchdown passes in Miami’s 29-21 win on Nov. 15, 2020 with the host Dolphins winning as a 1½-point favorite. Herbert threw for 367 yards as the Chargers won the rematch 23-17 on Dec. 11, 2022, as a three-point underdog at home. Herbert (+1400) is tied for fifth in the NFL Most Valuable Player odds with Tagovailoa tied for seventh at +1600.
Miami has won five of the last eight meetings with the Chargers. However, the Dolphins have lost four of the last five games on the road against the Chargers.
Los Angeles is currently a 2½-point favorite in the Week 1 matchup with Miami coming to town on Sept. 10. The total of 50 is the second-highest mark among the Week 1 games. It would be the second straight meeting with a total of at least 50 after the previous 21 games in the series had totals in the 30s and 40s.
Miami is priced at +2200 in the Super Bowl odds, which is tied for sixth among AFC teams. The Chargers come in at +2800 in the championship odds. Miami (+300) is third in the odds to win the AFC East title. The Chargers (+325) are second in the AFC West Division odds.
What’s Changed for the Dolphins and Chargers in 2023?
Miami brought in quarterback Mike White from the New York Jets to replace Teddy Bridgewater as its backup. Third-leading receiver Trent Sherfield is also gone as is tight end Mike Gesicki, who is now with the New England Patriots.
Receiver Braxton Berrios, linemen Dan Feeney, and Isaiah Wynn, as well as tight end Tyler Croft, are among the offseason acquisitions on offense.
The defense added cornerback Jalen Ramsey along with linebackers David Long and Malik Reed.
Leading tackler Elandon Roberts is now with the Pittsburgh Steelers and cornerback Eric Rowe joined the Carolina Panthers. Cornerback Byron Jones, slowed by injury in recent years, was released.
Miami’s first-round pick was stripped due to tampering allegations against the Dolphins in their attempt to reach out to quarterback Tom Brady and head coach Sean Payton.
Cornerback Cam Smith was the first player taken by the Dolphins in the 2023 draft as he went 51st overall. Running back Devon Achane is another rookie to keep an eye on.
The Chargers lost some key players on defense. Leading tackler Drue Tranquill is now with the Kansas City Chiefs while 25-year-old safety Nasir Adderley abruptly retired.
The Chargers brought in linebacker Eric Kendricks from the Minnesota Vikings and Nick Williams from the New York Giants.
The biggest addition could be rookie receiver Quentin Johnson, a first-round pick out of TCU while linebackers Tuli Tuipulotu and Daiyan Henley are other first-year players to keep tabs on.
Dolphins vs Chargers: Where Each Team Has the Edge
If Tagovailoa is healthy, this is an intriguing quarterback matchup. Both teams are loaded with talented pass catchers with the duo of Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle leading the Dolphins with Keenan Allen and Mike Williams joined by rookie Quentin Johnson for the Chargers.
The Chargers and Dolphins finished third and fourth in the NFL in passing yards per game during the 2022 season.
The Chargers’ running game got a recent boost with the news that Austin Ekeler plans to stick around after requesting a trade during the offseason. He had 18 touchdowns last season and is one of the top running backs in the NFL.
Zion Johnson, Rashawn Slater and Jamaree Salyer give the Chargers some young offensive linemen to build around. Miami’s offensive line is still a work in progress.
The Dolphins could have an elite cornerback duo with Ramsey joining Xavien Howard.
Both teams have elite pass rushers with Khalil Mack and Joey Bosa leading the Chargers and Bradley Chubb ready for his first full season with the Dolphins.
Fun facts about the Miami Dolphins
- The Dolphins are best known for posting a perfect season in 1972 that culminated in a Super Bowl championship. They won the Super Bowl the following season as well.
- Miami hasn’t won a playoff game since beating the Colts in overtime in 2000 before falling to the Raiders in the next game. Miami hasn’t won a division title since 2008.
- The Dolphins are looking for their fourth consecutive winning season for the first time since the 2000-2003 seasons.
Fun facts about the Los Angeles Chargers
- The Chargers played in the AFL championship game five times from 1960-65. Since joining the NFL in 1970, they have made it to just one Super Bowl.
- Since playing in the Super Bowl following the 1994 season, the Chargers are 5-9 in the playoffs with five different head coaches leading the Chargers into the postseason.
- Since winning four straight AFC West titles from 2006-09, the Chargers haven’t finished higher than second in the division.