The 1-3 Miami Dolphins travel to Cincinnati to take on the 3-1 Bengals in a 1:00 kickoff. Miami is currently on a 2-game losing streak, with both games going into overtime in games the Dolphins let get away. The most recent loss was a painful 24-21 lost to the Arizona Cardinals. The Bengals come into the game on a 3-game winning streak after losing the season opener to the Baltimore Ravens.
Miami comes into this game 9th in total offense, generating 397.0 yards per game. The Dolphins rank 5th in rush offense at 153.2 yards a game and rank 19th in passing offense at 243.8 yards a game. They face a Bengals defense that ranks 19th in total defense giving up 365.5 yards per game. They rank 24th in rush defense giving up 130.5 yards a game and come in at 17th in pass defense giving up 234.8 yards per game.
QB Ryan Tannehill is coming off his first 400 yard passing game last week, but once again I believe the Dolphins will look to take advantage of a run defense giving up 130.5 yards a game. This could be a game where you see a lot more of Lamar Miller and Daniel Thomas, as Reggie Bush is dealing with multiple injuries, even though he is slated to start in this game. WR Brian Hartline and Davone Bess have emerged as Tannehill top vertical threats, but the Dolphins will need more from the tight end position. TE Anthony Fasano was solid last week, but Charles Clay needs to become a factor, as he has the ability to cause a lot of mismatch difficulties for the defense. The Bengals defense ranks 2nd in the NFL with 16 sacks, so OLT Jake Long and the rest of the offensive line will need to be solid today and Jake will need to step his game up and start playing better. Also, as well as Tannehill played last week, he had 3 key turnovers in the game. While all of them were not his mistake and he was put in some bad situations, the turnovers have to be cut down, especially if you are looking to win games on the road. Minimize the turnovers and the Dolphins have a chance.
Defensively the Dolphins come into the game ranked 17th in total defense giving up 354.5 yards a game. They are the top ranked rush defense in the NFL, giving up 56.8 yards a game while ranking 30th in pass defense giving up 297.8 yards a game. They face a Bengals offense that ranks 10th in total offense producing 389.2 yards per game. They rank 13th in rush offense at 113.0 yards per game while ranking 8th in passing offense producing 279.2 yards per game.
CB Sean Smith did a solid job of containing All-Pro WR Larry Fitzgerald last week, limiting him to 8 catches for only 64 yards and a touchdown. He probably will be asked to shadow one A.J Green in the game this afternoon. The Dolphins are coming off an 8 sack game against the Cardinals, but as we saw in the Thursday Night game in which the Cardinals gave up 9 sacks to the Rams, the Cardinals OL is not very good. That said, they will need to get after QB Andy Dalton, who is turning into a very solid, young quarterback. The Bengals will push the run game, but the Dolphins have been dominate against the run all year long. This will come down to the pass rush and a secondary that his short on depth at the cornerback position. They must player better if the Dolphins want to win today.
This young team has gotten better as the season has moved along, but they don't have anything to show for it the last few weeks. They lost games to the Jets and Cardinals the last few weeks in games they should have won. They have a good chance to win this game this afternoon, but until I see the Dolphins do the little things that winning teams do, like avoid key turnovers and make plays at crucial times in games, I have to go with the Bengals at home.
Prove me wrong Miami. That would make me a happy man.