Bengals vs Dolphins Thursday Night Football: Predicting the Matchups

Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports

The Miami Dolphins host the Cincinnati Bengals on a Halloween edition of Thursday Night Football tonight. Who has the upper hand in this game? We take a look at the matchups this afternoon.

The Miami Dolphins host the Cincinnati Bengals in a few hours. As the NFL's Week 9 starts with a Thursday Night Halloween edition. Who has the advantage? We take a look.

Matchup Advantage Remarks
Dolphins passing offense vs. Cincinnati pass defense Cin_tiny_medium

Dolphins pass offense: 17
Bengals pass defense: 7

The Dolphins pass offense success or failure will be determined by the pass protection quarterback Ryan Tannehill is given this week. Can the offensive line block well enough to slow Geno Atkins and Carlos Dunlap? Losing Brandon Gibson will have a huge impact on the passing game. Will the tight ends and Rishard Matthews be able to fill in for him? The edge at this point goes to Cincinnati's pass rush and a secondary that could make Tannehill pay if he starts rushing throws.

Dolphins rushing offense vs. Cincinnati run defense Cin_tiny_medium

Dolphins rush offense: 23
Bengals rush defense: 19

For a half against the New England Patriots last week, the Dolphins found a running game. Then, they proceeded to abandon it, making the offense one dimensional and allowing six sacks. They have to find a way to run against a strong Cincinnati front seven, even without Rey Maualuga, this week. The Dolphins may find early success tonight, but until they prove they are willing to run the ball, and stick with the run, they cannot have the edge.

Bengals passing offense vs. Miami pass defense Cin_tiny_medium

Bengals pass offense: 7
Dolphins pass defense: 20

Andy Dalton has been on fire this season, throwing five 100+ passer rating games already. Having A.J. Green on one side and Marvin Jones on the opposite side causes matchup problems for anyone. The Dolphins have to get after Dalton tonight if they are going to have any success - and that's with a less than 100% Cameron Wake.

Bengals rushing offense vs. Miami run defense EVEN

Bengals rush offense: 19
Dolphins rush defense: 19

Miami's vaunted run defense has not lived up to expectations through the first half of the season. The Bengals hand the ball of a lot, but they are not averaging many yards per carry (3.6), so they can be slowed, but Paul Soliai, Randy Starks, and Jared Odrick will have to be on their game all contest long. This is probably as close to a Miami advantage as any of the above categories, but, with the way they give up chunks of yards in the second half of games, they cannot have the edge.

Dolphins special teams vs. Cincinnati special teams Mia_tiny_medium

Punter Brandon Fields is the difference here. The two kickers, Caleb Sturgis for Miami and Mike Nugent for the Bengals, are about even on field goal percentage. Both teams have kick/punt returners who can bust long returns (Miami's Marcus Thigpen and Cincinnati's Brandon Tate). Which brings us back to Fields, who is second in the NFL with 48.8 yards per punt. That gives Miami the slight edge.

Prediction:

A five game losing streak is inexcusable. Unfortunately, with the Dolphins playing like they are right now, and with Andy Dalton's current play, it looks like that's what's going to happen. Final: Bengals 27-20.

Miami Dolphins Coverage:

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