Home Miami dolphins Miami Dolphins Week 4 Opponents Preview: Cincinnati Bengals

Miami Dolphins Week 4 Opponents Preview: Cincinnati Bengals

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Your AFC-leading Miami Dolphins (3-0) travel to Cincinnati, Ohio to take on defending AFC champion Cincinnati Bengals (1-2).

The Dolphins’ first primetime matchup of the season comes in the form of a Thursday Night Football matchup against Joe Burrow and the Cincinnati Bengals at Paycor Stadium. The Bengals finally got rid of the monkey, earning their first win of the season against the New York Jets on Sunday. The Dolphins are coming off a thrilling win over the Buffalo Bills, taking sole possession of the AFC East’s No. 1 spot. How Do Dolphins and Bengals Compete?

Bengals and Joe Burrow finally get into a ‘well-settled’ game against the Jets

Call it a Super Bowl hangover, but the Bengals didn’t look good in the first two weeks of the season. Their typically electric offense led by young phenom Joe Burrow who took the league by storm last season looked in bad mood to start the year as Cincinnati started a surprising 0-2. After a sloppy first week overtime loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers, where Burrow threw four interceptions and Evan McPherson had his game-winning shot field goal blocked, the Bengals then fell flat against the Dallas Cowboys without Day Prescott during the second week. In the first two games of the season, Cincinnati scored a meager 18.5 points per game.

In week three, the league fortunately threw a softball to the Bengals in the form of the New York Jets. Joe Burrow threw for three touchdowns as the Bengals won a convincing 27-12 at MetLife Stadium, looking like themselves in the process. Joe Burrow looked sharp, throwing for 375 yards and the Cincinnati defense did its job of keeping the Jets out of the end zone for the duration of the contest. A cupcake opponent like the Jets was probably just what the Bengals needed as they geared up for Thursday night against the undefeated Dolphins.

Don’t get me wrong – the Bengals are still very good

Let’s ignore the 1-2 record for a minute and focus on the Bengals’ numbers this season. According ESPN, Joe Burrow has thrown for 812 yards and 6 touchdowns in three games this season, good for 10th in the league. Keep in mind that Burrow hasn’t been at his best and is still display the top 10 numbers. Jamarr Chase, Burrow’s favorite target, has already racked up 212 yards — including 102 yards after the catch. If Burrow can start connecting with Chase, Tee Higgins and Tyler Boyd like he did last year, watch out.

Cincinnati’s defensive unit allows just 310 yards per game, is good for 8th in the league, and has allowed just 18 points per game for three weeks. The Bengals’ defense is still playing as well as it did a year ago; they just don’t generate the turnover we are used to. It’s still the same defense that eliminated Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC Championship less than a year ago, keeping the star-studded offense to 24 points and eliminating Mahomes twice. The talent is still there – they just didn’t execute. This defensive unit needs to find its bearings from last year, but the Dolphins hope to keep them on their heels.

The bottom line

The Dolphins are off to a euphoric 3-0 start to the season, still leading a huge win over the Bills. While the Dolphins won’t have home field advantage and a 100+ degree heat index on their side Thursday night, they’re looking to continue their scorching start to the season after a short week. You could argue the Bengals need the win more as they are tied for third in the AFC North. Cincinnati has looked shaky at times and there’s been a bit to worry about, but it’s only been three weeks and they shouldn’t even come close to the panic button yet.

No team faces a must win game, but whoever wins the competition will make a strong statement on national television. The Bengals could tie their record and show the country they still shouldn’t be taken lightly by putting the first spot on the Dolphins’ record. The Dolphins look to stay perfect and declare to the world that they are the team to beat in the AFC and close a clear first quarter of their season.

Who makes his statement on Thursday evening? Find out at 8:15 a.m. ET Thursday night as the Dolphins make their Amazon Prime debut in Cincinnati. The Bengals open as 3.5-point home favorites.