The 1-2 Bengals come into this game off a 27 - 12 domination of the New York Jets last Sunday. It was their first win of the 2022 NFL season after surprisingly getting off to an 0-2 start. The Bengals finally got their passing game working against the Jets after sputtering in the first two weeks of the season. However, the running game is still a work in progress, as the Bengals are averaging a paltry 3.3 yards per carry, good for 30th in the NFL. On defense the Bengals have been quite effective, limiting each opponent’s offense to 20 points or less this season (the Steelers scored 23 points against the Bengals on opening day, but one touchdown came by way of a pick 6).
The Dolphins come into this game on a roll, having gotten off to a torrid 3-0 start to the season. Last week the Dolphins managed to upset the mighty Buffalo Bills in Miami. Miami has benefited from having two out of their first three games at home. Early home games in Miami are brutal for visitors, who aren’t acclimated to the steamy Miami climate in September.
The Dolphins have been ineffective in the running game, ranking 31st in both yards per carry and rushing yards per game. This has made the Miami offense one dimensional, with the entire attack basically relying on the two star receivers, Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle. As time goes on this may prove to be something opposing defenses adjust to and eventually exploit to their benefit.
On defense the Dolphins have struggled a bit, ranking 31st in the NFL in yards allowed. That’s a bit misleading, as the Dolphins were effective on defense in their two home games while having all kinds of problems on the road against the Baltimore Ravens.
This has the makings of a really interesting game. Are the Bengals righting the ship, or are they about to sink further in the AFC standings? Are the Dolphins for real, or just the beneficiaries of a favorable home schedule and some fortunate breaks? Is Tua coming into his own, or will he be exposed as teams figure out the Dolphins offense? So many interesting subplots here. I’m not a big believer in the Dolphins just yet, but if they take this game against the defending AFC champions on the road, I’ll start to believe. For now, give me the Bengals at home to end the Dolphins’ hot opening to the season.
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