Live Free Picks
Home Of 500 Handicappers
Where: Paul Brown Stadium, Cincinnati, Ohio
The Cincinnati Bengals are flying under the radar despite three straight wins. The schedule has not been the most difficult in the NFL, but the combination of Andy Dalton and A.J. Green is proving to be anything but a rookie fluke.
The Miami Dolphins, who visit the Bengals on Sunday afternoon, have their own impressive young quarterback but are having a tougher time putting everything together. The Dolphins have dropped two straight games in overtime, thanks in part to a slew of turnovers at the most inopportune times.
Ryan Tannehill will likely not have to go against the full strength of the Cincinnati secondary, with at least four cornerbacks either doubtful or questionable, but still has to face a pass rush that has racked up and NFL-leading 16 sacks.
But the Dolphins have let a pair of very winnable games slip through the past two weeks, missing a field goal in overtime before falling at home to the New York Jets in Week 3 and then committing three turnovers in the final nine minutes of regulation and overtime to let one slip away at Arizona last Sunday.
Tannehill broke Dan Marino’s franchise rookie record with 431 passing yards against the Cardinals but has only two touchdown passes against six interceptions thus far. Miami leads the NFL in rushing defense, surrendering just 56.8 yards, but has been susceptible to the pass.
Cincinnati Bengals(3-1): The injury issues in the Cincinnati secondary, with Jason Allen (thigh), Nate Clements (calf), Dre Kirkpatrick (knee) and Leon Hall (hamstring) all ailing, led to some big numbers for opposing offenses.
But the offense has been able to make up the difference and more the last three weeks, erasing the sting of an opening week 44-13 loss at Baltimore by beating up on the likes of Cleveland, Washington and Jacksonville. Dalton has completed 71 percent of his passes with eight touchdowns and three interceptions the last three games.
Green, who was named the AFC Offensive Player of the Month for September, has racked up 300 yards receiving in the last two weeks alone. Those two will be taking aim at a Miami pass defense that has allowed an average of 297.8 yards – 30th in the league.
1. Miami has earned the win in six of its last seven trips to Cincinnati, most recently a 22-14 triumph on Oct. 31, 2010.
2. The Dolphins are averaging 153.3 rushing yards, led by Reggie Bush at 92.3.
3. Dalton is leading the NFL in fourth-quarter passer rating with a 151.7 mark. The Bengals are 5-1 when Dalton has a passer rating better than 100.