The Miami Dolphins have lost 2 straight overtime games, in which they clearly outplayed their opponent for a majority of the game. The Dolphins will need to put those 2 losses behind them, as they travel to Cincinnati to take on the Bengals on Sunday at 1pm. The Dolphins must play well early, as they have the last 2 weeks, but they need to do a better job of finishing the game. Their opponent this week is an opponent that is flying under everyone’s radar. Did you know the Bengals are 3-1??? Did you know that they are currently on a 3 game winning streak, beating their opponents by an average of 10 points?
The Dolphins will have their work cut out for them this weekend in Cincinnati. But, this is a winnable game because of a few of the matchups we’ll get into a little later on. The key is for the Dolphins is to limit their own mistakes and force mistakes by the Bengals. We’ve all heard (and said) that the Dolphins could be 3-1 if not for a few poorly timed mishaps. The Dolphins can stand up on Sunday and make a statement that they aren’t a doormat anymore, despite their 1-3 record. It’s time for the Dolphins to play up to their potential and beat a quality opponent on the road. Here’s how they can do it:
Force the Bengals to run
This might sound crazy, but hear me out. The Dolphins defense has given up the least amount of rushing yards in the NFL so far this season. The Dolphins defense against the run has allowed just 56.8 yards per game, while holding opposing running backs to just a 2.4 yards per carry average. The Dolphins front 7 has been ferocious. I think the Dolphins need to make Benjarvus Green-Ellis beat them and not WR AJ Green who’s caught 27 balls for 428 yards and 3 TDs. I think the Dolphins might bait the Bengals into running more, playing more nickel than they normal would. Especially with Richard Marshall out, the Dolphins will need extra help defending the pass.
I know this is a backwards way of thinking. Teams usually try to stop the run to make a team one dimensional. But that doesn’t necessarily work, if you’re thin at cornerback. Why force an opponent to attack your greatest weakness? I wouldn’t suggest this, if I didn’t think 4 DL and 2 LB’s could stop the running game. The Bengals average 3.8 yards per carry, which is in the bottom half of the NFL in that statistic. The Dolphins defensive line is great and will win the line of scrimmage. It will be Karlos Dansby and Kevin Burnett’s job to fill the holes the running backs are trying to hit. (cont’d on page 2, click below)