Who: Cincinnati Bengals (6-2) vs. Miami Dolphins (3-4)
Where: Sun Life Stadium, Miami Gardens, Florida
When: Thursday, October 31st, 8:25 PM (ET)
TV Channel: NFL Network
BOO! It’s Thursday Night Football on Halloween! The Bengals are going door-to-door in Miami and find themselves at Sun Life Stadium where the hosts are less than excited to see them. The Dolphins seemed to run out of sweets a few weeks ago and unfortunately for them, Cincinnati is in the thick of their trick-or-treat candy hunt.
After opening the season with three wins, Miami has gone winless in their last four, starting with a big loss to New Orleans in a highly anticipated affair. They lost to the Bills in Week 7 with a fourth-quarter fumble leading to a game-winning field goal from Dan Carpenter, whom they recently released. And finally, this past weekend, the team would fall apart in the second half to lose to regional opponent New England. The fins are falling off the dolphin, if you will.
On the other hand, the Bengals are surging, winning four straight games and five of six to take a stranglehold on the AFC North. They’ve taken down the Packers, Patriots, and a hot Lions team, with their only loss coming in a baffling game to the Cleveland Browns. They are averaging over 34 points per game over their last three and giving up only 19 per game over that time. Last week, Cincinnati bewitched the Jets offense, picking them off twice and stifling their running game – a bad sign for a Dolphins offense that ranks 28th in yards per game.
One of Miami’s main offensive problems this season has been the misuse of receiver Mike Wallace. In seven games, Wallace has caught only 30 passes for 398 yards, with 55% of this production coming in two games alone. He’s caught a mere 47% of his targets and he’s been held to no more than three receptions four times. Wallace’s production is clearly a factor in the Dolphins’ success as evidenced by his one touchdown (Wallace’s lone score this season), 9 reception performance in their statement win against the Colts.
“He’s the fastest player in the league and a proven big play guy. Manufacture ways to get the ball in his hands in space, with his head facing north. Stop shoving a square peg in a round hole… Miami needs to start being more aggressive with how they use their ‘star’ receiver. Let Tannehill escape the pocket more, use Wallace in creative ways, challenge one on one coverage deep… Use the speed that you paid 60 million for. Right now, the coaches have done a disservice to Tannehill, Wallace and the offense.”
Connor Muldowney (@Connormuldowney) of Rant Sports (@RantSports) examines the defensive side of the ball and reasons an eleven-point victory for the visiting Bengals. An injured, but strong, defensive unit for Cincinnati should be able to give the Dolphins offense the spooks:
“Defensively, the Dolphins have struggled to slow teams down. Miami ranks 19th in points allowed per game with over 23 and 21st in yards allowed per game with over 355 — they rank around 20th in the league in both passing and rushing yards allowed. Cincinnati, on the other hand, has one of the top defensive units in the league, ranking fifth in points allowed per game and eighth in yards allowed per contest. Good luck trying to score on the Bengals.”
PREDICTION: Bengals 31, Dolphins 20
“Cincy, on average, is holding the ball for over 31 minutes per game, while the ‘Fins are only holding the ball for about 28.5 minutes per game. And in the NFL, the team that wins the time-of-possession battle covers the spread almost 70 percent of the time. Back the Bengals.”
Pickett uses a computer prediction from OddsShark to determine an 8 point victory for the Bengals:
COMPUTER PREDICTION: Bengals 26.5, Dolphins 18.4
Kick back, relax, and bring out the Snickers for this one. The Bengals are certainly the favorite but the Dolphins have played a recent series of close games. If they can find ways to control the ball and get Mike Wallace involved, they have a chance at hanging around in this game. Ryan Tannehill must rise from the dead and return to his early season form to sneak a home-win upset and make Andy Dalton look like Little Red Riding Hood on Halloween night.
Jesse Moskowitz (@Jesse_Moskowitz) is a regular contributor of NFL and MLB coverage to the movoli blog.
Want to be featured in a future post? Send your predictions to @movoliSports!
Movoli connects you with people around the sports events you care about most. The big game. The highly-anticipated matchup. Experience the game with friends. Visit us at movoli.com!
- Thursday Night Football Predictions: Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. Carolina Panthers (movoli.com)
- Keys to a Miami Dolphins Victory Over The Cincinnati Bengals (phinphanatic.com)
- PRIMER: Cincinnati Bengals (6-2) at Miami Dolphins (3-4) (cincyjungle.com)