The Cincinnati Bengals came away with their first win of the season, defeating the Jets 27-12. Quarterback Joe Burrow was right about two things in his press conference last week; he told the fans to relax and not to panic, then said if they win the coin toss, he wouldn’t mind having the ball first. The Bengals won the toss, and Burrow got off to a fast start, precisely what this team needed to build confidence as they head into a Thursday night showdown with the Dolphins. Check out the top football odds.
The Miami Dolphins come to Paycor Stadium with a 3-0 record after beating the Buffalo Bills in a thriller, 21-19. Miami’s quarterback Tua Tagovailoa has had great pass performances in his last three games, so look for a shootout as he and Burrow battle it out. The Bengals could have a slight advantage here by playing at home on a short week. It could impact the game if the Dolphins have not fully recovered from there down to the wire win over the Bills.
All stats courtesy of Pro Football Reference
The Bengal’s offense came out on fire on Sunday, proving that a fast start sets the tone for the game. The offensive line created a solid pocket allowing Burrow to set his feet while going through his check downs and moving up inside the pocket if needed. The line played considerably better to give credit where credit is due, and Burrow looked sharper, more accurate, and more confident than at any point this year. He will need another clean pocket when facing the Dolphin’s defensive line.
What type of defense will the Dolphins be bringing to Paycor? One that will be relentless in wanting to get to Burrow. Led by veteran Melvin Ingram who had two sacks in his last game. He has added to Miami’s defense by being physical off the edge. Tackles Jonah Williams and La’el Collins need to elevate their game and continue communicating with the line to ensure Burrow has a clean pocket.
Rookie Cordell Volson seems to be improving every game while making fewer rookie mistakes. Burrow praised his interior line this week, and they will need to be sharp in winning the inside battle against Miami’s defensive tackle Christian Wilkins. With only giving up two sacks last week, this will again be another opportunity to see what Burrow’s protectors can do in a short week.
The Jungle will be rocking on Thursday night as the Bengals reveal their brand new White uniforms for the first time. The fans will be super excited, and that excitement should carry onto the field. Running back Joe Mixon could use the added energy from the fans since he has not had the numbers so far as he had hoped. He has only mustered up 163 yards in three games on 58 carries with no touchdowns. So who is to blame? Some will point fingers at the newly acquired line for not opening running lanes, while others will blame Mixon himself. Mixon is a Pro-bowl talent and will be needed to develop a good, consistent rushing attack in this game.
Bengal fans should be excited about the outstanding performance that Samaje Perine had to close out the Jets game. Running the ball better than Mixon may have earned him a few more reps against Miami. Perine’s effort did not go on notice and could be the spark to get the running back room up and running. Sprinkle in some Chris Evans out of the backfield, and you should have all the ingredients of a solid night of rushing. Check out the top football betting strategies.
Ja’Marr Chase, Tee Higgins, and Tyler Boyd are some of the top receivers in the league. It would be an understatement to say they will not be ready for this game. Expect this trio to put up solid numbers. Miami likes to send the blitz, so if they go this route, Burrow has a history of making teams pay.
The Dolphin’s secondary has plenty of talent and will be looking to test these receivers. Xavien Howard should have the task of covering Ja’Marr Chase all game, so it will be up to Nik Needham, Kohou, and others to cover Tee Higgins and Tyler Boyd.
Easier said than done; one of these three receivers will step up like Boyd did last week with four catches for 105 yards and a touchdown; Higgins had five catches for 93 yards, and Chase had six catches for 29 yards. Anticipate a very physical game with both sides going all out.
One player not being talked about much is linebacker Logan Wilson. He had seven tackles and one interception on Sunday and could be a factor in this game. He has a nose for the ball and will be called upon to stop Miami’s running back, Raheem Mostert, especially since Bengal’s captain and rock in the middle, D.J. Reader, is out with injury.
Up in the air is the status of the Dolphin’s quarterback situation. Tagovailo was banged up during his game with the Bills. He left the game at the end of the first half but returned for the start of the second. Tagovailo has been dealing with a lower back injury and an ankle injury that could affect his game if he does play.
The Bengals must take advantage of a banged-up Miami offensive line. One match to keep an eye on will be an offensive left tackle, Terron Armstead, against Trey Hendrickson. Hendrickson finally had his breakout game by recording four tackles, including a career-high 2.5 sacks, and added two forced fumbles in last week’s game. He will need help from the rest of the defensive line Cam Sample, B.J Hill, and Sam Hubbard. After a seasoned injury last year, defensive end Joseph Ossai is starting to return to his old self. This may be the game he records his first NFL sack, so keep an eye out when he is on the field.
If Tagovailo cannot go, look for his backup quarterback Teddy Bridgewater to play. No matter what happens, Miami’s high-octane offense is still loaded with weapons. Speed is the first thing you think of when talking about receivers Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle. Hill came over in free agency from the Chiefs and has already had some choice words for Bengals cornerback Eli Apple. Chidobe Awuzie will likely be assigned to locking down Hill as he is the Bengals top cornerback. Wide receiver Jaylen Waddle is nursing a minor groin issue, which may factor into his production.
With Miami’s speedy receivers, there is a good chance we see more of first-round draft pick Dax Hill. Safties Jessie Bates and Vonn Bell have played roles in the defense’s solid performances in the last three games. Together the secondary will need to communicate to keep these receivers from making big plays.
Dolphins’ thigh end Mike Gersicki has been overshadowed by their top receivers; however, he could do some damage if not covered. Cornerback Tre Flowers has shut down some of the best tight ends in the NFL, and I see him going step by step with Gersicki.
This competition seems to have all the advantages in favor of the Bengals. However, if both defenses play well, this could be a game where kicker Evan McPherson earns his money. If the Bengals can stay productive, they should walk away with a win and be back in the divisional race.
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