This Thursday night matchup is between teams heading in two different directions as the Bengals go on the road to take on the Dolphins. While the Dolphins have lost four in a row after winning their first three, the Bengals are on a roll and currently sit at 6-2. A big reason for this is the performance of Andy Dalton the past few weeks. He has been spreading the ball around to all of his weapons leading to both ridiculous numbers and wins. While A.J. Green is already one of if not the best receiver in the AFC, it looks like the team has finally found someone to line across from him. That player is Marvin Jones who burst onto the national radar last week with a four touchdown performance. Jones still isn’t a full time player for the Bengals, but if he continues to play at this high a level they will have no choice. After seeing the Patriots run on the Dolphins at will last week, it wouldn’t be surprising if they tried to establish the running game early. Benjarvus Green-Ellis continues to see the majority of carries but rookie Gio Bernard is the one the Dolphins are really worried about. Bernard has big play ability in both the run and receiving game so it wouldn’t be surprising if he gets 10-15 touches this week.
After a strong start, Ryan Tannehill has struggled of late but a lot of this could be attributed to his offensive line. Through seven games, Tannehill has been sacked a ridiculous 32 times. Unfortunately for him, the Bengals have a very strong front seven so things won’t get any easier. If last week was any indication, it seems that the team may finally be seeing the light in terms of Lamar Miller. Miller had over 100 total yards on 21 touches last week and showed the burst that separates him from Daniel Thomas. While Mike Wallace so far looks like another Jeff Ireland free agency blunder, this week would be a great opportunity to get him involved. Two of the Bengals starters in the secondary Leon Hall and Taylor Mays are now out for the season. Besides shorter screens, the team isn’t making much of an effort to get Wallace the ball and let him do what he does best. That is beating defensive backs vertically with his elite speed. It will be interesting to see if the Dolphins take advantage of this with a couple of downfield shots throughout the game.
Overall, the Bengals are just playing at too high a level for me to go against them right now. With the way Dalton is playing along with a ferocious front seven against a reeling Dolphins offensive line, they have a whole lot going on in the first matchup of the season’s second half. My prediction is Bengals 27 Dolphins(+2.5) 17