GAMETIME: 3:25 p.m. CST on Sunday, September 21LOCATION: Sun Life Stadium, Miami Gardens, Fla.HOW TO WATCH: CBS (KCTV5 Local) | NFL Network Game Rewind (Monday, 9:00 p.m.)HOW TO LISTEN: 101.1 The FoxGAMECENTER/LIVEBLOG:KCChiefs.com
If you looked at the Week 3 Kansas City Chiefs-Miami Dolphins matchup on the schedule in the offseason, two names you would have expected to play a major role in the game were running backs Jamaal Charles for the Chiefs and Knowshon Moreno for the Dolphins.
In 2013, between the two of them combined, they were responsible for more than 2,300 yards on the ground and 32 total touchdowns.
But as is the case many times in the NFL, unforeseen circumstances can happen.
Last week against the Bills, Moreno dislocated his elbow and will now be out for the next four to eight weeks. Against the Broncos, Charles left with a high ankle sprain and is listed as questionable to play against Miami.
With the backs injured, opportunity has arisen for two young players seeking to distinguish themselves.
For the Dolphins, third-year running back Lamar Miller will get the call. In 250 career rushing attempts for Miller, he has compiled 1,064 yards, or 4.3 yards per carry.
For the Chiefs, Knile Davis will fill the void if Charles can't go. Last week, after Charles left the game against Denver, Davis rushed 22 times for 79 yards and two touchdowns.
"He's a mature second-year player," Chiefs head coach Andy Reid said of Davis earlier this week. "I think everybody has confidence that he can step in and do a good job there."
Another player that the Chiefs will need to rely on due to injury is Ron Parker, who replaced Eric Berry at safety after Berry left with an ankle injury against the Broncos.
Parker, who played as a cornerback for the team in the preseason and first game, returns to the safety position, a role he was familiar with from his time playing football at Newberry College.
Since they claimed him off waivers in 2013, Parker has been a key role player for the Chiefs, in large part due to his willingness to play anywhere.
"I'm very comfortable with just going into wherever they need me," he said. "I'm very familiar with the defense so wherever they call and need me, that's where I try to go and fill in."
As Parker patrols the secondary, his teammates in front of him will be doing everything in their power to get to Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehil (No. 17).
So far this season, Tannehill has connected on 49 of 81 pass attempts for 419 yards. But similar to Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith, Tannehill has an ability to be a mobile threat as well, something that could make things difficult for the Chiefs.
"He's a really good athlete. He's a big guy," Chiefs defensive coordinator Bob Sutton said of Tannehill. "He brings a lot to the table and having gone against him before, he can hurt you on his feet both in extending a play and then just flat-out taking off."
Hoping to prevent Tannehill from having to run too much will be a familiar face in offensive tackle Branden Albert (No. 71), who signed with the Dolphins in the offseason after spending the first six years of his career with the Chiefs.
"Every time I'm watching film, I think I'm about to watch myself," Albert joked earlier this week on the oddity of studying film on his former team. "Watching guys I practiced with, guys I went to war with and now I'm playing against these guys, it's kind of weird."
In Albert's first game against the Chiefs, he will certainly provide a challenge for Allen Bailey and the rest of the defensive line. According to the football analytics site Pro Football Focus (profootballfocus.com), through two games, his 6.6 offensive rating is the highest on the team.
On the other side of the ball, the Chiefs offense will look to continue to build upon their efforts on third down.
After converting just one third down out of 12 against the Titans in Week 1, last week, Smith and the Chiefs were successful on 11 of 16 third down attempts. That's a 61 percent increase.
Chiefs offensive coordinator Doug Pederson broke it down this week.
View photos from the Chiefs vs. Dolphins series history.
"The key I think for us (last) Sunday was the fact that they were all manageable," Pederson said. "We did a nice job on first and second down on getting positive yards. We have to keep building on that."
Perhaps the most talented player on the Dolphins and one that will be looking to stop that third down success will be veteran Cameron Wake (No. 91). Through two games, the sixth-year defensive end out of Penn State already has two sacks and two forced fumbles.
"Cameron Wake this week is probably the best D-end we've seen so far this year," Pederson said. "He can definitely rush the passer, so you got to be aware of where he is."
That responsibility will be in the hands of Eric Fisher and the offensive line, which showed much improvement last week. Fisher, who was lined up against seven-time Pro Bowler DeMarcus Ware for the majority of the game, appeared especially solid, and a similar effort against Miami would mean good things for the Chiefs.
As for offensive weapons if Smith gets the time he needs, tight end Travis Kelce should continue to receive more chances after his performance against Denver.
In that game, he had four receptions for 81 yards and was tied for second in targets with six from Smith.
At 0-2, the Chiefs head down to Miami seeking their first win of the season.
A week ago, though the Chiefs lost their second game in a row, they looked to be improved both on the field and on the stat sheet. Now, the hope around the team is that they can turn those positives into a mark in the win column.