Miami Dolphins at Cincinnati Bengals (-7.5)
The Dolphins needed 3 missed field goals to beat the Browns, so it’s safe to say they got a little lucky last week. The Bengals get Vontaze Burfict back, and the Dolphins are down to their third string center, have a game time decision with starting LT Branden Albert, and are using something like a 4 running back committee with starting RB Arian Foster injured. Clearly, it’s not going to be easy for the Dolphins to establish a running game, so it’s up to Ryan Tannehill and his strong receiving corps to score points. The Bengal secondary is struggling, as evidenced by a 4 TD performance by Broncos QB Trevor Siemian last week. Cincinnati’s #1 corner, Dre Kirkpatrick, will miss this game as well. There’s some hope for the Dolphins there at least.
Andy Dalton is 5th in the league in passing yardage with 938 yards through the air. However, he has only thrown for 2 TDs. One reason is that TE Tyler Eifert has yet to play and will be out until at least week 5. Another reason is that the Bengals offensive line is struggling. They have allowed a league high 12 sacks, and the Cincinnati running game is only averaging 3.7 yards per carry. The Dolphins have a strong defensive line with Ndamukong Suh leading the way. Look for them to get a lot of pressure in Dalton’s face, as I expect Jeremy Hill to struggle in finding running room. Cincinnati’s game plan will consist of checkdowns to Giovani Bernard and a lot of AJ Green, who is going against a terrible corner in Byron Maxwell.
I haven’t been able to get a good read on the past two Thursday night games. Will the Bengals come out strong or not? Will Tannehill struggle to sustain drives? Regardless, the Dolphins played well in their first 2 games of the season against superior opponents. This line is a little too high for me to take the Bengals.
Pick: Bengals 27 Dolphins 24