The Cincinnati Bengals enter tonight’s primetime matchup searching to answer a lot of questions. At 1-2 and heading to Dallas and then New England the Bengals find themselves in a must win situation. Miami is also 1-2 and seem to be playing better on the defensive side of the ball. The questions with the Dolphins are usually directed at QB Ryan Tannehill and this game will be no different.
The Miami Dolphins have a lot of injury concerns entering this game and they could very well be down to a third-string center across from Geno Atkins. Starting center Mike Pouncey has not practiced since August and has been ruled out. Backup center Anthony Steen had been starting the last three weeks, but he is doubtful with an ankle injury. That leaves eight-year veteran Kraig Urbik to the task. He has made 57 starts in his career, but Atkins has decimated even the best of interior lines, and with a potential backup center, alongside a rookie guard in Laremy Tunsil alongside him, Atkins should have a tremendous impact. Which means look for Carlos Dunlap to have a huge game also.
The matchup problem for the Bengals is very similar to the Dolphins matchup problems. Bengals center Russell Bodine and guards Kevin Zeitler and Clint Boling have Ndamukong Suh to deal with, along with 6-6, 335-pound second-year man Jordan Philips on the Dolphins’ interior. Suh can also single-handedly disrupt an offense, so limiting his big plays will also go a long way in determining the Bengals’ offensive success. The Bengals offensive line especially Bodine and Boiling have had problems all year and need to get this figured out early tonight or Dalton will be pressured constantly.
The Bengals finally got the run game going in the first half against the Denver Broncos, and the Dolphins come in with the league’s worst outfit against the run, allowing 147.3 yards per game on the ground. Even Cleveland, with little semblance of a passing attack and new faces across its line, rushed for 169 yards and averaged 5.3 yards per carry to lead the way to two touchdowns. The Bengals should have a big night on the ground, which could go a long way into their efforts to win this game. Even while running the ball they need to still take shots down field in this passing game, last week they did not do this and it led to the offense never getting into a rhythm.
The difference in this game should be the Bengals ability to run the ball, and the Dolphins inability to do so. I do look for Tannehill to have some success throwing the ball down the field on the Bengals, but he has a tendency to throw a few to the defense and I believe Atkins and Dunlap will force a couple mistakes. Final Score Cincinnati 27 Miami 14.
Check out Former Bengals Super Bowl Linebacker Joe Kelly below on the Cincinnati Bengals weekly show as he previews tonight’s game!