The Cincinnati Bengals and Miami Dolphins are preparing to square off on Thursday Night Football. It is a clash of an undefeated team against one coming off their first win. If you had guessed at the beginning of the season that those teams would be the Dolphins and Bengals respectively you probably would have been laughed at.
While Miami is undefeated, it comes with some question marks. They had a very improbable win over the Buffalo Bills where they won despite being outgained by so much. They also pulled off an incredible comeback against the Baltimore Ravens when they had only scored 14 points up until the fourth quarter. This team isn’t as invincible as the 3-0 mark leads you to believe.
It would feel better taking Cincinnati if they didn’t have their own struggles. They got out to a very slow start after resting all of their starters (aside for Cordell Volson) through the whole preseason. Joe Burrow also missed most of training camp after getting his appendix removed. That led to five offensive linemen — who had never played together before — taking their first live snaps together Week 1.
That unit looked better against the New York Jets last week, but their defense leaves something to be desired from a pass rush standpoint. They will have to continue that offensive momentum in this one if they want a chance though. The experts also seem to favor the Bengals, which is a little surprising.
By the numbers, the Dolphins defied logic with their win over the Bills to get to 3-0, following a near-impossible comeback to take down the Ravens. There is bound to be some regression to the mean and their blitzing defense plays well into the hands of Joe Burrow, who got well passing last week. Tua Tagovailoa’s back injury and limited running game help will make this spot difficult in a hostile environment on a short week. Miami is bound for the classic letdown while Cincinnati continues marching back into the AFC playoff conversation.
Pick: Bengals win 27-23
The biggest problem for the Dolphins is that their defense is getting rolled every week. Through three weeks, the Dolphins are surrendering an average of 413.7 yards per game, which is the second-most in the NFL. You can throw the ball on them, you can run the ball on them and the Bengals will likely do both.
Not only is this a prime-time home game for the Bengals, but it’s also going to mark the debut of the white tiger helmets and I can’t pick against a team wearing white tiger helmets, especially when those helmets are awesome.
The pick: Bengals 34-27
NFL Pick Watch, which takes into account picks from across the web has the Bengals receiving 51 percent of the picks.
It will be interesting to see how the fireworks play out on Thursday Night Football this week.