Sunday was a physically and emotionally draining game for the Miami Dolphins as they beat their division rivals, the Buffalo Bills, for the first time in 4 years. The defense was on the field for over 40 minutes and 90 plays in the heat and humidity, so obviously, they were exhausted. However, now the Dolphins have to quickly turn the page and are on to Cincinnati to play the defending AFC Champion Cincinnati Bengals. 

Sure, the Bengals have a short week as well and are the home team, but they had an easier win, while the Dolphins had had to go down to the wire in the heat and humidity in South Florida. Thursday night games are a part of the NFL, whether you like it or not. The Bengals could be catching the Dolphins at the right time because the Dolphins emotional game against their division rival. This isn’t to say the Dolphins will lose, but I’m curious how they will respond on such a short turnaround. 

The Dolphins have shown me a lot in the first few weeks of the season. They have come from behind in a game on the road from multiple score deficits, and they found a way to win a game this past Sunday when they were dominated everywhere except the scoreboard in the end. Now comes a short week on the road, and given the way the Dolphins had to give everything to win Sunday, I wonder how their energy level will be Thursday night? 

I’m more worried about the defense than I am about the offense because of how long the defense was on the field. The offense did well when needed on Sunday, but they need more sustained drives Thursday night to give the defense a break. If there were a game that the Dolphins could use a consistent running game to keep drives going, this would be one to get it started. The Bengals, like the Bills, have a significant play offense. However, despite all the changes they made, their offensive line is still not coming around, and quarterback Joe Burrow is getting sacked and hit again, so maybe the pass rush can get to him or at least will have opportunities. 

If the Dolphins can pull one out Thursday night, it would be quite an accomplishment winning their first four games against three teams in the playoffs last year and another potential playoff contender in the AFC. The Dolphins would have a considerable advantage come December with tiebreakers, but that’s getting ahead of myself. The Dolphins have shown us a lot in the first three games, and let’s see how they respond with a short week after the emotional win over the Bills.