Who: Dolphins (3-1) at Bengals (3-1)
When: Sunday 1 p.m.
Where: Paul Brown Stadium, Cincinnati, OH
Spread: Bengals by 6 points (Courtesy Vegasinsider.com)
What to watch:
Will Dolphins have a bad loss “hangover?”
There’s so softening it, New England hammered the Fins last Sunday 38-7. And while it was just the first loss of the season, it’s the kind of loss that when you are right back out on the road (Miami is), can carry over to the next week.
The Dolphins barely mustered 200 yards of offense and one late touchdown. They have to get back on track with the big plays that helped them start 3-0. This includes QB Ryan Tannehill using weapons like Kenny Stills, Albert Wilson and Jakeem Grant to go deep. And, the Dolphins have to find some kind of running game, too.
While veteran Frank Gore finished with 41 yards last week, a lot of those came in garbage time in the second half when the Patriots were already leading big. The bigger mystery that we wrote about this week is where has Kenyan Drake’s workload and productivity gone?
Three carries last week, ten total in the last two games. He is disgruntled and Miami needs to get him established Sunday afternoon.
Watch out for the Dalton-Green connection
They don’t get the pub that teams like the Patriots, Cowboys, Packers, Saints, etc. do with their QB and passing game. However, the Bengals Andy Dalton and Pro Bowl receiver A.J. Green (above) are one of the top tandems (above) in the NFL. This includes their 13 yard hook up for the game winning touchdown in the final :13 last week in the Bengals 37-36 win over Atlanta.
Even though Dalton has thrown TD passes to five different receivers this year, Green is his top target. Green has had six 1,000 yard or better seasons in seven years in the NFL. He is big with great leaping ability and Miami’s corners have to be ready to handle him, especially in the red zone.
Which leads to…. Miami pass rush
Yes, the Fins have been successful at times this year. Veteran Robert Quinn has made an impact since coming in a trade in the offseason from the Rams, but he needs more help along the line. Former first round pick Charles Harris has been almost invisible. 2015 second round pick Jordan Phillips has been disgruntled, was benched last week in New England and then released earlier this week. And now, veteran Pro Bowler Cam Wake has a sore knee that has limited him in practice this week.
Miami has got to generate some rush from somewhere (perhaps blitzing?) or this is will be a long afternoon.
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