The Miami Dolphins will travel to Cincinnati on Thursday night for a primetime “color rush” game against the Bengals. What can the Dolphins expect from this game? We asked a member of StripeHype.com for some answers.
Shelby Dermer covers the Bengals for our FanSided sister site and had some interesting things to say about what he expects to happen this week in Cincinnati.
"PP: Andy Dalton always seems to do just enough to get the Bengals moving in the division. Is he the answer at quarterback or his time running out?"
Dalton is still the answer at quarterback, but fans in Cincinnati aren’t very patient after five straight winning seasons. It’s not time to overreact about Dalton being limited to 206 passing yards against the top defense in the NFL last week. Prior to the loss to Denver, Dalton led the NFL in passing yards with back-to-back 366-yard afternoons in the first two weeks, all while working with limited weapons.
"PP: The Bengals have two very good running backs in Giovanni Bernard and Jeremy Hill which one do you think will be more troublesome for the Dolphins?"
Jeremy Hill has out touched Bernard in 15 of the last 16 games and that should continue Thursday night. After just 53 yards in the first two games, Hill finally got going with 97 yards and two touchdowns against Denver last week. Miami ranks last in the AFC against the run, so I think Hill will get the majority of the touches as he hopes to mimic LeGarrette Blount’s 29-123-TD week-two stat line against Miami.
"PP: Miami has secondary issues and this should be a good game for A.J. Green. If the Dolphins take Green out of the plays who is Dalton’s go to receiver that is next in line?"
If the Dolphins’ secondary is able to limit Green with bracket coverage (like Pittsburgh did in week two), then it’s a toss-up between Brandon LaFell and rookie Tyler Boyd. LaFell has nine targets so far this season and Boyd has 11. If Green is being taken away, expect the Bengals to go after rookie corner Xavien Howard, most likely with LaFell as Boyd will be in the slot.
"PP: Dolphins defensive coordinator Vance Joseph was the Bengals secondary coach last season. What were the thoughts on Joseph leaving the Bengals this past off-season?"
It was a tough loss for Cincinnati’s coaching staff. The Bengals had to hold off Joseph going to Denver after the 2014 season, so it was something the team knew was coming after 2015. The Bengals replaced Joseph with Kevin Coyle, who spent the previous four seasons with Miami. Unfortunately, there have been reports of friction between Coyle and the defensive backs after Cincinnati has allowed an AFC-worst nine touchdown passes through three weeks. One can just hope the secondary reverts back to their 2015 form when the defense led the AFC in scoring.
"PP: Miami has won the last two games against the Bengals. Ironically both primetime games. What do you expect from this Thursday night?"
The Bengals are 4-10 on primetime games since 2012, one of those losses coming to the Dolphins on a TNF game in 2013. If you ask around Cincinnati, fans are sick of the narrative that their team can’t win on primetime. Last season, the Bengals were 1-3 in regular season games on national television, but each of those losses came by one possession. I think the Bengals are desperate for a win because they know a 1-3 start with Dallas and New England (both on the road) on tap for weeks 5 and 6, respectively, simply can’t happen. I think the Bengals’ defense sets the tone with Vontaze Burfict returning to the defense and leads Cincinnati to a 2-2 record.