coleryan Posts:12023 Followers:20
On 10/28/2013 03:23 PM in NFL

Cincinnati Bengals at Miami Dolphins: Preview and Pick

Cincinnati Bengals at Miami Dolphins: Preview and Pick

The NFL season is long and can be a grind for many teams, but for the two teams that meet on Thursday night football, it has become a much different type of season. The Cincinnati Bengals head south to play the Miami Dolphins on Thursday and they are having a great season and riding a winning streak heading into this game. Meanwhile the Miami Dolphins are struggling and are in the middle of a long losing streak that they would like to end in this prime time game.

Cincinnati Bengals at Miami Dolphins Odds

The NFL opening point spread for this game is a bit surprising as the Dolphins actually opened as (-1) point favorites in this game. That line quickly changed as over 90 percent of the early betting action came in on the road team. That is unlikely to change leading up to kickoff and this line has already moved to (-1.5) in favor of the Bengals at many of the top rated online sportsbooks.

The Bengals crushed the Jets ad had a great day on offense. Andy Dalton threw a career-high 5 Pass TD, the third QB in Bengals history to do so in a single game. Marvin Jones is the 1st Bengals player to record over three receiving touchdowns in a game since Chad Johnson on Nov. 25, 2007 in 35-6 win against the Titans. Meanwhile the Dolphins struggled.

Ryan Tannehill was terrible throwing deep on Sunday, completing 2-of-11 passes for 35 yards and a pair of interceptions on throws deeper than 10 yards downfield. After a hot start during Miami's three-game winning streak to open the season, Miami's struggles in the vertical passing game are one reason they've lost four straight games. The Dolphins will have to play better if they hope to beat the Bengals.

The latest football betting trends for this game reveals that this could actually be a tough spot for the Bengals. Cincinnati is 6-1 straight up in its last 7 games, but only 1-4 against the spread (ATS) in its last 5 games when playing Miami. In fact Cincinnati is 2-10 straight up in its last 12 games when playing Miami and just 1-3-1 ATS in its last 5 games on the road. The total has gone over in 4 of Cincinnati's last 6 games and the total has gone over in 5 of Miami's last 6 games. Miami is 1-4 straight up in its last 5 games and 1-4 ATS in its last 5 games.

Cincinnati Bengals at Miami Dolphins Pick

With plenty of time to go before the start of the regular season, I will wait to release my pick on this game until we get closer to game day.

  • Last 7 Days Record: 6-4-0
coleryan Posts:12023 Followers:20
10/29/2013 02:50 PM

THE BENGALS’ STRENGTH ON OFFENSE:
The Bengals receiving corps consisted of A.J. Green and little else before this season, but Cincinnati now has a lot of options in the passing game. The Bengals took tight end Tyler Eifert in the first round of the 2013 draft to complement fellow former first-round pick Jermaine Gresham and wide receiver Marvin Jones also has emerged as a threat. Jones leads the team with seven touchdown catches, including a franchise-record four against the Jets on Sunday. Thanks to the added help, quarterback Andy Dalton is putting together the best season of his career. He’s completing 65.6 percent of his passes and has an impressive 99.0 passer rating through the first eight games of the season.

THE BENGALS’ QUESTION MARK ON OFFENSE:
After taking Eifert in the first round, Cincinnati selected speedy running back Giovani Bernard in the second to team up with veteran BenJarvus Green-Ellis. But the Bengals just haven’t been that productive with their running game. Cincinnati is averaging a decent 99.8 rushing yards per game, but its average of 3.6 yards per carry ranks 25th in the league. Both Green-Ellis and Bernard have been held under 4 yards per carry, and the team’s longest run of the season was a 34-yard gain by wide receiver Marvin Jones.

THE BENGALS’ STRENGTH ON DEFENSE:
The Bengals have assembled one of the best defenses in the league and they’re pretty solid against both the run and the pass. The best player on that unit is defensive tackle Geno Atkins, the son of former Dolphins safety Gene Atkins. Atkins leads the team with five sacks and also is a force against the run. The Bengals rank 11th in the NFL in terms of passing yards allowed per game, but their opponents’ combined passer rating is only 79.4. In the 49-9 victory against the Jets, Cincinnati got two interception returns for touchdowns, one by Adam Jones and the other by former Dolphins safety Chris Crocker. The cornerback group includes a whopping four former first-round picks — Jones, Terence Newman, Dre Kirkpatrick and Leon Hall.

THE BENGALS’ QUESTION MARK ON DEFENSE:
Hall, the 18th overall pick in the 2007 draft, has never been selected to the Pro Bowl, but he’s widely considered the team’s best defensive back. So it was a blow for the Bengals defense when he tore an Achilles tendon in a Week 7 victory at Detroit. The Bengals obviously didn’t miss Hall when they faced the Jets on Sunday, but his absence could be felt at some point. Cincinnati, however, has built up tremendous depth on defense and is one of those rare teams that can lose a front-line player like Hall and still thrive.

THE BENGALS’ STRENGTH ON SPECIAL TEAMS:
Dolphins fans no doubt remember Brandon Tate, the former New England wide receiver who returned a kickoff for a touchdown at Sun Life Stadium in 2010. He’s with the Bengals now and in the rout against the Jets on Sunday he contributed a 71-yard kickoff return that led to a touchdown right before halftime. Cincinnati also has a quality punter in the left-footed Kevin Huber, who is sporting an impressive 41.9-yard net average with 14 punts inside the 20 against only one touchback.

THE BENGALS’ QUESTION MARK ON SPECIAL TEAMS:
The Bengals rank near the middle of the pack when it comes to punt and kickoff coverage, although they allowed a 40-yard punt return to Pittsburgh’s Antonio Brown in the Monday night game in Week 2. Kicker Mike Nugent has missed three of his 13 field goal attempts, although he did come back from one of his misses to make a 54-yard kick on the last play of the game in a 27-24 victory at Detroit one week after rebounding from another miss to kick a 43-yarder in overtime at Buffalo.

  • Last 7 Days Record: 6-4-0
coleryan Posts:12023 Followers:20
10/29/2013 02:53 PM

After a 3-0 start, the Fins come into Week 9 losers of four straight games and watching their season slip away before their eyes. In contrast, Cincy has shown great resilience following a pedestrian 2-2 start, winning four consecutive decisions and taking sole possession of first place in the AFC North.

- Bengals on Offense

Heading into Week 9, Cincinnati’s offense ranks fifth in the league in points (18.0), eighth in total yards (322.5), 11th in passing yards (225.2) and ninth in rushing yards (97.2) per game. The felines’ attack features one of the best young quarterbacks in the league, a lethal wide receiving corpse and a running game that’s ever improving.

Led by former second-round NFL pick, quarterback Andy Dalton, Cincy ranks in the top three in points, total yards, touchdowns and first-down percentage per game in the American Football Conference.

The third-year man out of TCU is sure to test Miami’s young secondary, coming in with 183 completions on 279 attempts (66 percent) for 2,249 yards, 16 touchdowns, seven interceptions and a quarterback-rating of 99.0.

In scoring situations, Dalton’s favorite targets are wide receivers, Marvin Jones (24 receptions, 369 yards, 7 TDs) and of course, A.J. Green (46 catches, 734 yards, 5 TDs). Other than Peyton Manning and the Broncos (29), no other team has scored more passing touchdowns than the Bengals (16) in the AFC through eight weeks.

But Cincinnati is anything but a one-dimensional offense. In fact, this team’s ability to mix in a heavy dose of run/pass is sure to give Miami defensive coordinator Kevin Coyle nightmares.

Former Patriot, BenJarvus Green-Ellis (110 carries, 352 yards, 3 TDs) and rookie halfback Giovani Bernard (72 rushes for 282 yards, 2 TDs) give head coach Marvin Lewis the capability to pound the rock and control time of possession when needed.

It’s also worth noting that Dalton is very capable of abandoning the pocket and tucking it in to become a playmaker when pressured. At six feet two inches, 220-pounds, the 2011 Pro Bowler is Cincy’s third-leading rusher with 76 yards on 27 attempts for an average of 2.8 rushing-yards-per carry.

- Bengals on Defense

As good as they are on the offensive side of the football, defensively is where this team not only shines, but becomes a legitimate Super Bowl contender and a huge problem for the Dolphins Thursday night.

The 2013 Cincy defense ranks fifth in the NFL in points (18) allowed, eighth in total yards surrendered (322.5), 11th at defending the pass (225.2), and ninth against the rush (97.2). With Miami’s offensive line struggling this year, rest assured that Bengals defensive coordinator, Mike Zimmer will be dialing up plenty of blitzes aimed at Ryan Tannehill.

This defense ranks seventh best in sacks per game coming into Week 9 in the AFC, and there are five players in particular the Dolphins must account for at all times: (DTs) Geno Atkins (18 tackles, 5 sacks) and Domata Peko (21 tackles, 2.5 sacks), (DEs) Carlos Dunlap (32 tackles, 4 sacks, 2 forced fumbles) and Wallace Gilberry (13 tackles, 3 sacks, 1 forced fumble), and, of course, five-time Pro Bowler (LB) James Harrison (16 tackles 2 sacks).

- Dolphins vs. Bengals Head-to-Head

Miami comes in with a 14-5-0 edge in the overall series versus Cincinnati. The Dolphins have also won two straight games heading into this matchup, both coming on the road. The Fins defeated the Bengals 22-14 in 2010 in Cincinnati, and again last season, 17-13, at Paul Brown Stadium.

  • Last 7 Days Record: 6-4-0
coleryan Posts:12023 Followers:20
10/30/2013 11:48 AM

The Miami Dolphins (3-4) are desperate to stop their four-game losing streak as they prepare to play host to the Cincinnati Bengals (6-2) on Thursday night at Sun Life Stadium.

Miami is the first team since the 2002 New England Patriots to win their first three games and then lose their next four.

Coach Joe Philbin insists team morale isn’t an issue.

“If you don’t have a strong locker room, if you don’t have good character individuals in the locker room, I think it could be a concern,” he said. “I have a lot of faith in our guys. I believe in them. I think we’ll get this thing right and fixed. We have to do it quickly. This is a good team coming in here on Thursday night.”

If the Dolphins lose on Thursday they will have 11 days to stew on their five-game losing streak before visiting winless Tampa Bay on “Monday Night Football” (Nov. 11).

The Dolphins keep insisting it’s little things, fundamentals, that have victimized them during this four-game losing streak. New England rushed for 111 yards in the second half en route to its 27-17 victory over Miami last week, but Dolphins defensive coordinator Kevin Coyle insists his team didn’t get plowed into the ground.

“There were two plays in particular that we mentioned, one we missed a tackle where we had an opportunity, and then one we just didn’t fit it up as aggressively as needed, but they popped it through,” Coyle said.

“Going back and looking at the tape closely, it wasn’t a matter of … we were just getting the ball run down our throats. They averaged 4.1 yards per carry at the end of the day which is much higher than what we want, but I don’t think it’s indicative of the run defense we played throughout most of the game.”

Offensively, coordinator Mike Sherman said he also has no concerns about his players’ mentality.

“I think we have a pretty resilient group of guys,” he said. “I think we have excellent chemistry. The challenge that they have that I always talk to them about is that they can’t let the noise outside the room effect the mindset inside the room.

“The only people that can make a difference are the people inside the room and they know that, they depend on each other. I think it’s a good room and I feel like it’s fairly resilient, I think we have good chemistry, I think we believe in each other. We didn’t get the job done, very disappointed, very disappointed about that, but at the same time I believe that they’ll fight back.”

  • Last 7 Days Record: 6-4-0
coleryan Posts:12023 Followers:20
10/31/2013 02:57 PM

While the Cincinnati Bengals' surge has them in control of the AFC North, the Miami Dolphins must find a way to turn things around before their season slips away.

The visiting Bengals look for a fifth consecutive victory while trying to hand the Dolphins a fifth straight defeat Thursday night.

Paced by the recent strong play of quarterback Andy Dalton, Cincinnati (6-2) is the only team in the division at .500 or better, and it's in position to win five in a row for the second time in three seasons.

"We're very good," safety Chris Crocker said. "We're very, very, very good. But we have to play like it."

The Bengals have scored 103 points in the last three games, largely because of Dalton. The third-year player has passed for at least 325 yards in each of those contests and became the first Bengal to throw 11 touchdowns over a three-game span.

Dalton, intercepted just twice in that stretch, threw a career-high five TD passes in a 49-9 home win over the New York Jets on Sunday.

"This is where I want to be," said Dalton, who had five TDs and five INTs through the first five games. "This is how I want to be playing."

Four of Dalton's touchdowns against the Jets went to Marvin Jones, who became the first receiver to record that many in a game since Terrell Owens and Randy Moss in 2007.

A second-year pro playing alongside star A.J. Green, Jones finished with career highs of 122 yards and eight catches. He's recorded six of his team-leading seven touchdowns in the last three games.

"He's had the potential since he's been here," Dalton said. "I think he's just comfortable with everything that we're doing and everything that we're asking him to do."

The defense is ranked fifth in the NFL with 18.0 points allowed per game and eighth with 322.5 total yards given up. Cincinnati recorded four sacks and returned two interceptions for touchdowns Sunday during its most lopsided victory in coach Marvin Lewis' 11 seasons.

However, Lewis wants his team to move on and get focused on Miami during this short week.

"We've got to be the best team Thursday night, plain and simple," he said. "It's us and the Dolphins and, we've got to be the best team. There's no other challenge. We knew the schedule. That's the way it is. There's no ifs, ands or buts about it. You come, be ready to go."

The desperate Dolphins' four-game slide is their worst since a seven-game skid to open 2011. Miami (3-4) blew a 14-point halftime lead at New England on Sunday, getting outscored 24-0 in the final two quarters of a 27-17 loss.

"Obviously we aren't at an all-time high right now," quarterback Ryan Tannehill said. "But we've got to get back on track. That's the only option we have with a short week."

Though the Dolphins have been outscored 67-24 in the second half of the past four games after outscoring their first three opponents 41-16 in the final two quarters, they've led in each of the last three contests. They've held the lead or been tied in the fourth quarter of two.

"We have to do a better job to close out games," said receiver Mike Wallace, who has two 100-yard receiving games and one TD in his first season with the Dolphins. "We just have to step on their throat. We can't let up, that's all - the whole team, in all three phases."

Tannehill has thrown five TDs in the last two games, but seven of his nine interceptions have come in the past four. He boasts a 60.9 fourth-quarter passer rating and has been sacked a league-high 32 times, with the latter playing a big part in his five lost fumbles.

Brandon Gibson has caught three of Tannehill's 11 touchdowns, but he suffered a season-ending knee injury against the Patriots.

Lamar Miller and Daniel Thomas have helped Miami rush for 276 yards in the last two games, including a season-high 156 against the Patriots. The Bengals are eighth in the league with 97.2 yards per game allowed on the ground, though they're likely to be without starting middle linebacker Ray Maualuga after he injured his knee and suffered a concussion against the Jets.

Miami coach Joe Philbin still believes his team is capable of getting back on track.

"If you don't have a strong locker room, if you don't have good character individuals, I think it could be a concern," he said. "I have a lot of faith in our guys. I believe in them. I think we'll get this thing right and fixed. We have to do it quickly; this is a good team coming in here on Thursday night."

Miami has won the last two meetings with the Bengals, both in Cincinnati. The most recent came last Oct. 7, when Tannehill didn't throw a touchdown or an interception and the Dolphins picked off Dalton twice in a 17-13 victory. Green had nine receptions for 65 yards and a score.

  • Last 7 Days Record: 6-4-0