This will be the second week that Brandon Allen will be starting place of Joe Burrow, and it is safe to say that the oddsmakers and experts noticed. There isn’t much faith at all for the Bengals beating the Dolphins, but then again, no one thought they’d be in position to beat the Giants either.
The Bengals are currently 11.5-point underdog against the Dolphins in Miami, according to Bovada. Welcome back to the Burrow-less expectations for Cincinnati. The Dolphins have prove that their defense has been great about keeping teams from scoring points, they have allowed the second fewest points up to this point in the season. Having to keep someone like Allen in check should be much easier than Burrow,
- Cincinnati is 7-3 against the spread in their last 10 games.
- The total has gone over in 10 of Cincinnati’s last 15 games.
- Cincinnati is 1-6 straight up in their last seven games.
- Cincinnati is 4-10 against the spread in their last 14 games against Miami.
- Cincinnati is 4-13 straight up in their last 17 games against Miami.
- Cincinnati is 0-17-1 straight up in their last 18 games on the road.
- Cincinnati is 1-8 straight up in their last nine games when playing on the road against Miami.
- The total has gone over in four of Cincinnati’s last six games this season.
- The total has gone over in six of Cincinnati’s last seven games against an opponent in the AFC.
- Cincinnati is 4-2 against the spread in their last six games against an opponent in the AFC East.
- Miami is 6-1 against the spread in their last seven games.
- The total has gone under in six of Miami’s last nine games.
- Miami is 6-1 straight up in their last seven games.
- Miami is 6-1 against the spread in their last seven games at home.
- Miami is 4-1 against the spread in their last five games this season.
- The total has gone under in four of Miami’s last five games against an opponent in the AFC.
- Miami is 1-7 straight up in their last eight games against an opponent in the AFC North.
- The total has gone over in five of Miami’s last six games played in December.
- None of ESPN’s experts took a chance on the Bengals
- SB Nation has all of their experts picking the Dolphins
- No one at CBS Sports picked Cincinnati in an upset
- NFL Pick Watch, which takes into account picks from experts across the web, has the Bengals receiving zero percent of the picks.
It is hard to remember the last time no one was picking the Bengals in a game. There was probably at least one game in 2019, but that seems like such a long time ago. It is hard to fault people with not wanting to pick this team. Last week, the defense and special teams played the dream game where they put up points, created short fields and forced turnovers. However, the team still came up short against another bad team who had to play Colt McCoy at quarterback for a good portion of the game.
It is just rough when you can’t even throw in some Burrow magic to the mix to give this team a chance.
Last week I laid out a formula that I believed would’ve gotten the Bengals a win, and Cincinnati actually went out there and did all of the things I thought they would have had to do like create turnovers, score a touchdown on defense or special teams, and create short fields.
The problem is they still came up short, and the problem doesn’t necessarily go right back to Allen. In fact, I’m looking at the way the game was called and the expectations put on Allen. Most will say they need to run the ball more, but that isn’t completely right. There is some truth to it, but honestly it is a matter of them calling more creative runs or plays that get playmakers in position to make plays in open field. You can run Giovani Bernard inside 20 to 25 times a game, but that won’t win it when the opposing team is stacking the box.
Cincinnati also needs to get more creative. Move the pocket, call some misdirection passes or plays that play off the fact these defensive lines are blowing past you in obvious passing situations. Maybe run a shovel pass. Maybe give Tyler Boyd the end around carry. He is an idea have Bernard get a jet sweep pass or have a few plays in the slot or out wide to really get the defense guessing.
This team still needs that perfect performance from the defense and special teams. I have to up that to them creating two touchdowns on their own, or at the very least they need to set the offense up with a very short field.
The Bengals’ defense should also be able to move the ball a little bit. While the Dolphins have been great about keeping points off the board, they have also relied on turnover after long drives to do so. Allen and company can’t have really any turnovers if they want to have a chance at the upset here, which is asking a lot, but it is crucial this week.
It really doesn’t matter if Tua Tagovailoa or Ryan Fitzpatrick get the start this week. The Bengals run defense will be put to the test, and both of these quarterbacks know how to extend plays, which has really hurt this defense struggling to find a consistent pass rush.
This is a real long shot for the Bengals, but I do think the double digit spread is a bit much, even for how far apart these teams are on paper. It definitely won’t feel as close as the score will be though.
Bengals 17, Dolphins 24