This week, the 7-4 Miami Dolphins return to Hard Rock Stadium for game 1 of a crucial three-game homestand against the 2-8-1 Cincinnati Bengals. When this week’s NFL odds came out, Miami was laying 11.5 points to the Bengals, and I feel confident picking the Dolphins to come away with an outright victory covering that spread. With Ryan Fitzpatrick most likely again starting under center, Miami continues to trend in the right direction, having won 6 of their last 7 games. On the contrary, Cincinnati enters week 13 with significant injuries of their own, most notably #1 overall pick, QB Joe Burrow. Before Burrow’s season-ending knee injury against Washington, the Bengals managed to keep their games competitive as they relied on his scrambling ability and right arm heroics.
The Bengals have been without starting RB Joe Mixon for several weeks, tending to a foot injury while on Injured Reserve. Meanwhile, in the trenches, both sides of the Cincinnati line look susceptible to Miami fronts looking to disrupt, dominate, and bulldoze their opposition. This Cincinnati team’s strength looks to be at their WR position with rookie Tee Higgins, Tyler Boyd, and an aging AJ Green. Yet, without a reliable QB to get the ball into their hands, the potent Dolphin CB tandem of Xavien Howard and Byron Jones should be chomping at the bit to take the ball away from an erratic Bengals offense.
Almost one year ago, these two teams managed to put on a pretty good show with vastly inferior rosters. While Cincinnati continued their late-season swoon, the Dolphins learned how to win under Brian Flores, taking 5 of their last 9 games and out of the Joe Burrow sweepstakes. Today, the Dolphins are a completely different football team, while the Bengals still seem to be in rebuilding mode. With the Chiefs and Patriots coming to town and road games against Las Vegas and Buffalo, the Dolphins cannot allow themselves to look beyond Cincinnati. Miami already had a trap game two weeks ago against the Denver Broncos, and Brian Flores will not allow his Dolphins to be caught off guard again.
Dolphins 31, Bengals 16