After losing in Week 1, the Cincinnati Bengals have won three games in a row and will put their streak on the line against the Miami Dolphins.
Cincinnati was blown out by its division rival, the Baltimore Ravens, before improving its record to 3-1.
The Dolphins come into this game at 1-3, with their only win coming in Week 2 against the Oakland Raiders. But the team has suffered two consecutive heartbreaking overtime losses, and will be motivated to get rid of the bitter taste those losses left.
Here is everything you need to know about the game.
Where: Paul Brown Stadium, Cincinnati, Ohio
When: Sunday, October 7, 1 p.m. ET
Listen: Sirius 85, 148 (Miami), 700 WLW-AM, Sirius 85 (Cincinnati)
Spread: Bengals -3.5 (according to Sports Book)
Dolphins Injuries (via ESPN, as of Oct. 3)
DT Tony McDaniel, Questionable, Knee
RB Reggie Bush, Probable, Knee
Bengals Injuries (via ESPN, as of Oct. 3)
RB Bernard Scott, Questionable, Ankle
CB Leon Hall, Questionable, Hamstring
CB Nate Clements, Questionable, Calf
CB Dre Kirkpatrick, Doubtful, Knee
CB Jason Allen, Questionable, Thigh
What’s At Stake
For the Bengals, every game counts with the Ravens at 3-1 and the Pittsburgh Steelers always capable of going on a run. Cincinnati has taken care of its last three opponents—all of which were not playoff teams last year—and must do the same against Miami.
The Dolphins headed into this season with low expectations, but they are a few plays away from being 3-1. They could have a surprisingly successful season, but dropping to 1-4 will make that difficult.
A.J. Green is establishing himself as a fantasy superstar. In ESPN leagues, he has been the top-scoring receiver, and he will likely continue to put up incredible numbers in this game.
For the Dolphins, fantasy owners will be monitoring Reggie Bush’s progress. A knee injury threatened to keep him off the field, but he played against the Arizona Cardinals. He only gained 67 yards on 17 carries and did not score, but that likely was influenced by Arizona’s defense more than Bush’s knee.
Expect Bush to continue producing in this matchup.
Bengals Player to Watch: A.J. Green, Wide Receiver
As great as Green is for fantasy teams, the wideout is even more important to his real football team. He has been thrown to 43 times this season, while Jermaine Gresham's 25 targets is second-most on the team.
Green is the complete package as a wide receiver. His size, speed and incredible hands have allowed him to be a dominant player, and his emergence as an elite receiver will be entertaining for fans to watch.
Dolphins Player to Watch: Ryan Tannehill, Quarterback
The Dolphins rookie QB is coming off his most productive game of the season after passing for 431 yards against the Cardinals. If he is able to keep his success going, Miami will give Bengals fans a reason to worry.
But Tannehill also threw two interceptions in this game, and he will need to limit his mistakes in order to avoid another loss.
What They’re Saying
Cincinnati.com notes that with a string of injuries in the secondary, the Bengals defense is under-performing and there is reason to worry.
They also enter today’s game at EverBank Field ranked 28th in total defense and 30th against the run while giving up 34 points a game, which is tied for third worst in the league.
Even though head coach Marvin Lewis tried to portray a “remain calm, all is well” feeling on Friday, you can’t help it if another movie quote comes to mind – “be afraid, be very afraid.”
Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald shows that the Bengals are not the only team struggling with injuries to defensive backs.
The Dolphins early today promoted D'Andre Presley from their practice squad to the active roster and the move is a harbinger of how desperate the club is at the cornerback spot now.
The desperation comes in that Richard Marshall continues to battle a back issue and was again nowhere in sight during practice today. To make matters worse, Nolan Carroll, who missed time last week with an Achilles' injury, sat out again today.
Key Matchup: A.J. Green vs. the Dolphins’ Depleted Secondary
While both teams have banged up defensive backs, only one has an elite wide receiver. Green could run wild against the Dolphins secondary, whereas the Dolphins do not have a player capable of doing as much damage.
A few big plays from Green in this game could bury Miami and give the Bengals their fourth consecutive victory.
Prediction: Cincinnati 34, Miami 24
Playing at home, the Bengals offense will continue to put up points, and they will score enough to beat the Dolphins this week.