If the Miami Dolphins are going to go into Cincinnati and come home with a win, three defensive players will need to have a big game.
Defensively, the Dolphins are going to need to shut down Joe Burrow and Ja’Marr Chase. Those are the two game-breakers for the Bengals. Burrow is a good quarterback but he isn’t as good as what Miami faced last week. He is more likely to move around the pocket rather than pull and run.
Chase is developing into one of the best WRs in the league. He had a standout rookie season last year and has the build to go toe-to-toe with any CB in the league. That is where Xavien Howard comes in.
Last week, Howard did a great job at wearing down Stephon Diggs. With the help of pressure from the defensive line, Howard was able to keep Diggs out of the endzone and away from being his typical game-changing self.
Howard will be tasked with stopping Chase Thursday night and it will be just as tough. Chase is quick, runs great routes, and is physical. Howard should be able to match up against him but if Miami is going to keep Chase out of the picture and thus take away one of Burrow’s favorite targets, Howard has to be close to perfect again this week.
Up front, Miami has to get more from Jaelan Phillips. Phillips is getting pressure but he isn’t getting the hits or the sacks and those are big plays that will set an offense back. So far, Phillips has been relatively quiet but he needs to make his presence known.
There isn’t anything to worry about with Phillips he hasn’t found his rhythm yet and once he gets going he is hard to stop. Tonight would be a great game to get started. If he can put pressure and hits on Burrow, the Dolphins’ defense will be able to control a lot of what happens in the game.
For Miami, Phillips’ success could be a big difference in the game. He can make Howard’s job easier and force Burrow into making mistakes. Defensively, he is the disrupter that Miami needs tonight.
Jevon Holland is becoming the best safety in the NFL and tonight, he could become a household name. Holland is already having a Pro Bowl type season and he should be able to disguise his coverage and blitzes enough to control the secondary and temp of the game on the defensive side of the ball.
Miami will need to stop the Bengals rushing game and Holland has been good in run support so he is poised for another big game tonight.
If these three players can get going tonight, Miami’s defense will control the game from start to finish leaving Miami’s offense to win the game.