Cincinnati saw its winning streak extend to three games as it held off the Jacksonville Jaguars 27-10 in Jacksonville in Week 4. Good teams beat the teams they are supposed to and the Bengals did just that last week.
The Dolphins, on the other hand, have been struggling to finish games and need to come out with much more than moral victories to this point. However, rookie quarterback Ryan Tannehill is beginning to turn a corner it seems and Reggie Bush has rekindled the explosiveness that made him great at USC.
Here’s some betting analysis, injury updates, game information and key matchups you should know about heading into this weekend’s 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)
Odds: Bengals -3 (BetOnline)
Bet Cincinnati in this Week 5 matchup.
Three points may seem to favor the Dolphins because of their surprising outburst against the Arizona Cardinals in Week 4. However, how much of that will translate over on the road against the Bengals this week?
Miami’s secondary is atrocious and the Bengals have been putting up points in droves through the air to this point in the season. If it’s a shootout, Fins rookie quarterback Ryan Tannehill simply can’t contend with the weapons Andy Dalton has at his disposal.
Over/Under: +/- 45 (BetOnline)
Bet the Over in this one.
Both teams have struggled with defense to this point in the season and this one has the makings of a shootout. Cincinnati has scored 27 or more points in the last three weeks and has surrendered point totals of 44, 27, 31 and 10 to this point.
Miami’s defense has been able to keep things a little lower on the scoring spectrum, but has not really faced a potent offense since it gave up 30 points to the Houston Texans on opening weekend.
Key Injuries (via NFL.com)
|Kevin Burnett||LB||Foot||Limited in Practice - Probable|
|Reggie Bush||RB||Hip||Full Participation - Probable|
|Nolan Carroll||CB||Achilles||Limited in Practice - Probable|
|Richard Marshall||CB||Back||Did Not Participate - OUT|
|Tony McDaniel||DT||Knee||Limited in Practice - Probable|
|Marlon Moore||WR||Hamstring||Full Participation - Probable|
|Paul Soliai||DT||Ankle||Full Participation - Probable|
|Austin Spitler||LB||Groin||Limited in Practice - Probable|
|Jason Allen||CB||Quadricep||Did Not Participate - Doubtful|
|Vontaze Burfit||LB||Hamstring||Limited in Practice - Probable|
|Nate Clements||CB||Calf||Limited in Practice - Probable|
|Carlos Dunlap||DE||Groin||Limited in Practice - Probable|
|Jeff Faine||C||Hamstring||Limited in Practice - Probable|
|Leon Hall||CB||Hamstring||Limited in Practice - Probable|
|Dre Kirkpatrick||CB||Knee||Limited in Practice - Doubtful|
|Bernard Scott||RB||Ankle||Full Participation - Probable|
|Dan Skuta||LB||Back||Limited in Practice - Probable|
|Andrew Whitworth||T||Knee||Limited in Practice - Probable|
NFL Films Game Preview:
Key to Dolphins Win: Feed Reggie Bush
The Bengals are offering up over 130 yards per game on the ground and the Dolphins have been successful in that department—racking up over 150 yards per contest.
Reggie Bush has the explosive ability to keep defenses honest and provide rookie quarterback Ryan Tannehill with the time he needs to make some throws downfield. Tannehill threw 41 passes last week against the Cardinals, who, for the most part, stopped the running attack of the Dolphins.
This week, they’ll need to impose that running game against the Bengals. Relying on Tannehill to throw 41 passes on the road against a decent secondary is not a good idea for Joe Philbin’s team.
Key to Bengals Win: Neutralize Cameron Wake and Pass Rush
Luckily for the Bengals, their offensive line isn’t as bad as the Arizona Cardinals unit that let up eight sacks to the Dolphins in Week 4. However, there is a lot to be said about Cameron Wake and his ability to get after the quarterback. His 4.5 sacks in the game are his only sacks of the season, but were a key cog of the team’s excellent performance.
If the Bengals can keep the heat off of Andy Dalton, they’ll be able to continue to ride the big-play passing attack that has helped them put up a plethora points so far in 2012. A.J. Green and Andrew Hawkins are explosive and can create game-changing plays at any moment.
The Bengals’ best bet is to stall the pass rush, get the ball in their hands and watch the fireworks.
Prediction: Bengals 27, Dolphins 20
Cincinnati is tied for the league lead in sacks with 16 after four games. It has certainly improved in its secondary, too, and will have some players back there who are returning from injury this week.
It’s hard to ignore the progress being made by the Miami Dolphins, but they are still a few pieces away from being weekly contenders in the NFL. While the game will be close, as I’ve predicted, it’s hard to imagine their secondary shutting down Andy Dalton and A.J. Green for four quarters.
The Dolphins will show up to play and the Bengals will just be better to improve to 4-1 on the season.
Mike Hoag Jr. is a Breaking News Team writer with Bleacher Report and also covers the NFL and Cleveland Browns for the site.