Game Predictions & Player Projections - MIA vs. CIN

David Dorey, @DMDorey

Prediction: MIA 20, CIN 24 (Line: CIN by 7, O/U = 44.5)

This is the Thursday night game. The 1-2 Dolphins lost both of their previous road games and the 1-2 Bengals remain at home after getting whipped by the Broncos last week. The Bengals are struggling against good teams but that is not a descriptor for the Dolphins quite yet.

Miami Dolphins

1 @SEA 10-12 10 @SD ---
2 @NE 24-31 11 @LA ---
3 CLE 30-24 12 SF ---
4 @CIN --- 13 @BAL ---
5 TEN --- 14 ARI ---
6 PIT --- 15 @NYJ ---
7 BUF --- 16 @BUF ---
8 BYE --- 17 NE ---
9 NYJ ---      
News | Statistics | Roster
MIA @ CIN Rush Catch Pass
QB Ryan Tannehill 310,2
RB Jay Ajayi 20 2-20
RB Kenyan Drake 40 2-10
WR Jarvis Landry 8-100,1
WR DeVante Parker 5-80,1
WR Kenny Stills 3-50
TE Julius Thomas 3-30
PK Andrew Franks 2 FG 2 XP

Pregame Notes: This game is the last road venue for the Dolphins for the next six weeks but then the schedule turns very dark. The defense has been a disappointment even in the win over the win over the Browns and won't improve in this third road game. Ryan Tannehill is bringing life into the passing game lately but the rushing effort continues struggle both as a group and as individual runners.

QUARTERBACK : After a predictably bad season opener in Seattle, Ryan Tannehill passed for over 310 yards for the last two games and posted a total of five touchdowns. He's getting minimal support from the rushing offense but is succeeding with his wideouts. Tannehill is also throwing two interceptions per game lately. Even with the string of four straight home games coming up, all of them are against better than average secondaries.

RUNNING BACK : Arian Foster is not expected to play again this week because of his groin injury and the Fins are relying on a fantasy point killing rotation instead. Kenyan Drake took the start but only ran nine times for 37 yards while Jay Ajayi received seven carries to gain 28 yards and the late touchdown that helped seal the game. Even Isaiah Pead (5-14) was involved. The split kills what little fantasy value there is and that is not going to change on the road this week. It won't likely change even when Foster returns before his next injury.No runner has gained more than 38 rushing yards in any game including Foster.

WIDE RECEIVER : The success of the offense runs through this unit. Jarvis Landry racked up 17 catches for 255 yards over the last two games and gets double digit targets every week. DeVante Parker opened his season in Week 2 with 106 yards on eight catches versus the Patriots and then still scored once on his three catches for 51 yards in the win over the Browns. Kenny Stills figures in as a distant third and even less so with Parker stepping up. The Dolphins cannot compete without scores and yards from the wide receivers. No other positions are contributing significant stats.

TIGHT END : Jordan Cameron is out because of a concussion and the short week doesn't help. He's been only a minor factor in one game anyway. Dion Sims will take his place. No tight end has topped 50 yards in any game.

MATCH TO THE DEFENSE: This should go as a standard Dolphins game. The Bengals still have not allowed a rushing touchdown despite facing top backs every week. Now the workload gets split into three by the Fins and that leaves none of them as an attractive option this week.

Tannehill faces a secondary that has allowed at least two scores to every quarterback and just last week Trevor Siemian threw for 314 yards and four scores in Cincy. That's a lot to expect form Tannehill but he should be over 300 yards and throw at least two scores in what is likely to be a game that gets away early and needs plenty of passing in the second half.

The Bengals corners were doing well but then were ripped up by the Denver wideouts last week. Jarvis Landry is a must start and should have at least yardage and catches. Parker is worth considering though his outlook is riskier to rely on. With Jordan Cameron out, the wideouts become even more likely to get a lot of targets this week. The passes to the running backs could get an uptick as well but the three-way split means no one back looks good even with receiving yards included.

The Bengals have already allowed a score to three different tight ends but Dion Sims is far too much risk to consider.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points MIA 7 23 8 20 28 16
Preventing Fantasy Points CIN 28 16 22 17 13 24

Cincinnati Bengals

1 @NYJ 23-22 10 @NYG ---
2 @PIT 16-24 11 BUF ---
3 DEN 17-29 12 @BAL ---
4 MIA --- 13 PHI ---
5 @DAL --- 14 @CLE ---
6 @NE --- 15 PIT ---
7 CLE --- 16 @HOU ---
8 WAS --- 17 BAL ---
9 BYE ---      
News | Statistics | Roster
CIN vs MIA Rush Catch Pass
QB Andy Dalton 20 260,2
RB Giovani Bernard 30 5-30
RB Jeremy Hill 80,1 1-10
WR Tyler Boyd 5-60
WR A.J. Green 9-120,2
WR Brandon LaFell 4-50
TE C.J. Uzomah 3-30

Pregame Notes: This is easily the easiest matchup for the Bengals and two more road games await on the other side. The defense has not been as good as 2015 but the quality of the opponents and venues have had an obvious impact. The rest of the schedule softens considerably after Week 6 but the Bengals could view this as more of a "rest game" after three straight matchups with good defenses.

QUARTERBACK : Andy Dalton opened the year with mirror games of 366 yards and one score but then fell back to just 206 yards and no scores when the Broncos showed up. Dalton is still without tight end Tyler Eifert and that hurts. And his wide receivers have been of marginal help outside of A.J. Green and his one monster game. Eifert's likely return in Week 5 will be a major boost.

RUNNING BACK : Giovani Bernard only has two modes - great or horrible. He totaled 117 yards and a score in Week 2 but never more than 44 total yards in the other two games. Jeremy Hill comes off a two touchdown effort against the Broncos and he ran for 97 yards on 17 carries. Bernard is dialed in with five carries no matter the game situation. Hill has his workload expand and contract depending on the opponent. Last week was the first time that any Bengals back topped 31 rushing yards in a game.

WIDE RECEIVER : A.J. Green bounced back from a bad Week 2 when he caught eight passes for 77 yards versus the Broncos secondary. He has the lone receiving touchdown by a wideout and both Brandon LaFell and Tyler Boyd are only offering mediocre yardage each week. Green is being asked to do even more with Eifert out but faced very good defenses along the way. This week is the first time at home against a below average secondary.

TIGHT END : With Eifert still out, the Bengals are leaning on C.J. Uzomah but two or three catches per game. There is no fantasy value here until Tyler Eifert returns from his ankle injury.

MATCH TO THE DEFENSE: The Fins gave up 123 yards and a score to LeGarrette Blount as a good parallel to Hill who should at least score once this week. Bernard is in a better situation but has been hit or miss and mostly just miss. He's still too risky to rely on though he could have a decent showing.

Dalton is less likely to top 300 yards this week but should have solid yardage with a couple of touchdowns. The Dolphins are allowing good games to the opposing #1 wideout and even last week Terrelle Pryor produced a career best 144 yards against them. Green is a must start anyway and should post another big performance this week. No other wideouts or tight ends merit consideration this week.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points CIN 21 10 12 27 10 27
Preventing Fantasy Points MIA 13 18 27 21 14 27

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