The Miami Dolphins travel to Cincinnati to take on the Bengals as they seek to extend their record to 4-0 in a Thursday night AFC matchup.
Last year’s AFC Champion Bengals started their 2022 campaign slowly but picked up their first win on Sunday, with both teams having to contend with the short turnaround in Week 4.
Cincinnati Bengals vs Miami Dolphins – NFL Football Odds Week 4
There is a school of thought that teams who find a way to win despite being outplayed by their opposition are well placed for future success.
An alternative view is that those same teams are performing above their true position, and a reckoning will follow. It is here we find the Miami Dolphins.
The addition of speedster Tyreek Hill was an astute move by Miami GM Chris Grier and one which has brought out the best in his teammates, Jaylen Waddle and Tua Tagovailoa, so far in 2022.
Passing plays have featured heavily, as one would expect, given the dual threat of Hill and Waddle combining for over 650 yards in three games.
Lest we forget the run game, however, where Mostert and Edmunds have kept the team ticking over with an average of 3 yards per carry.
On the defensive side of the ball, Jevon Holland was a revelation against the Bills, sacking Josh Allen 1.5 times, deflecting 2 passes and making 10 tackles. The secondary kept the Buffalo offense out of the end zone in the second half, restricting them to 5.5 yards per play.
However, this came at a cost as they took the field for 41 minutes total game time for an energy-sapping 90 snaps in the Miami heat.
Can this pass rush cause the same problems for Joe Burrow and his offense, given such a tight turnaround?
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Bengals current form
Looking at Cincinnati, the Bengals stuttered to defeats in the first 2 weeks of the 2022 season. They appeared ponderous and over-reliant on the run game, which did not play to their core strengths.
As Head Coach Zac Taylor identified after the Jets game, Cincinnati adopted a far more aggressive approach to Week 3, calling passing plays on 17 of their first 21 snaps and scoring on 4 of their first 5 drives.
Whether this was in response to the dominant Jets run defense or a change in approach, it worked.
Joe Burrow has a dazzling array of options to select from, having passed to 10 different receivers already this season. His favoured target has been fellow LSU product Ja’Marr Chase, who was kept firmly in check by Sauce Gardner for the Jets.
Coach Taylor will be hoping that Xavier Howard does not have similar success on Thursday night.
Nevertheless, Chase was able to exploit a gap for his touchdown, and Boyd and Higgins were equally impressive when given the opportunity to receive bombs from their QB.
Defensively the Bengals have experienced similar frustrations to their colleagues, not quite able to reach their 2021 form until Week 3.
Trey Hendrickson was the standout performer against the Jets, taking 2.5 sacks, as the secondary racked up 8 pass deflections and limited the rushing game to 3.8 yards per carry.
Cincinnati Bengals vs Miami Dolphins Predictions – NFL Football Picks Week 4
Cincinnati goes into this game as home favourites, facing a 3.5 point spread. This could be considered a tight margin given their struggles to convert in Weeks 1 and 2.
However, they face a Miami defense that surely must suffer a hangover from their exertions in the heat on Sunday.
For the Bengals, there are injury concerns around Tee Higgins off the back of two concussion scares and a toe issue.
However, lead back Joe Mixon (ankle) has recovered and should lick his lips over a defense that has thus far allowed 116 yards per game on the ground.
Miami’s woes are further compounded on offense by the lack of certainty around quarterback Tua Tagovailoa who has been day-to-day in practice this week with a back and ankle issue.
Tua briefly exited the game against the Bills, taking a late shove from linebacker Matt Milano before hitting his head hard on the turf.
Although he cleared the relevant protocols, it’s hard to imagine that he hasn’t been affected by this, and I expect a dip in production as a result.
Bengals vs Dolphins Game Picks
If Cincinnati is to win this game, the difference between the two is likely to be the offense’s ability to push and pull the Miami defense to their will, exploiting the gaps created.
> The Pick: Cincinnati Bengals -3.5 (-105)
I can see a score line of 27-22 in favour of the Bengals in this one.
Evan Mcpherson is good for 6-9 points per game, while I expect the receiving core of Chase, Higgins and Boyd to be more clinical in the Red Zone than Miami’s prior opposition.
> The Pick: Cincinnati Bengals Total Points 25.5 (-110)
Mike AllenSports writer
As a football fan and sports writer, Mike has many years of experience. Since the US started moving towards legal sports betting, Mike has found new love with sports gambling.