Miami vs… Miami?
It almost seems as if the Miami Dolphins are playing themselves from the 2019 season. Cincinnati, with a backup QB, to a near-identical ground game, it’s like Miami is looking into a mirror. With the trio of backs, the Bengals have struggled to find a rhythm on the ground. Cincinnati’s combination of Joe Mixon, Giovani Bernard and Samaje Perine is much like Miami’s 2019 trio of Kalen Ballage, Patrick Laird and Myles Gaskin.
Cincinnati (2-8-1) and Miami (7-4) both need the ground games to show up this week. Miami is in the hunt for a playoff spot and Cincinnati’s coach Zac Taylor just needs to keep his job. With Joe Burrow out after sustaining a season-ending knee injury, Brandon Allen will make his second start of the season. He will need help from his backfield. Meanwhile, starting tailback Gaskin was activated from IR Saturday ahead of the game. Hopefully, the time off has him rested up and ready to go as Miami has pieces missing this week on the ground.
Miami’s pass rush will play key role.
The Bengals’ offensive line will have its hands full against a hot Dolphins pass rush. Miami’s defensive line can easily catch fire vs. Cincinnati’s porous front five that allowed Burrow to be sacked 32 times. Stopping Cincinnati’s ground game and controlling the line are Miami’s top priorities heading into Sunday’s matchup.
Who lines up under center for Miami?
Coach Brian Flores has been keeping it close to the vest on who will be named the starter for Week 13. However, it was reported that Tua Tagovailoa’s thumb injury won’t sideline him for another game, and he’ll be the starter versus Cincinnati.
That being said, Ryan Fitzpatrick’s ‘satisfactory’ play in a win over the Jets leads me to believe he should’ve got the nod instead. It’s not because of Fitzpatrick’s play, rather than giving Tagovailoa time to rest himself. Tua needs reps, I’m a firm believer in that. However, with Miami only a game out of the division lead, you have to play to win, and that may be with Fitzpatrick.
Believe it – the Bengals are dangerous.
With nothing to lose and the head coach’s future getting cloudier by the week, Cincinnati, who has lost three straight games, can afford to play loose with all the pressure on Miami. Expect to see the Bengals pull out all the stops. Cincinnati has attempted several fake punts as of late. Miami, who has won six of their last seven, can expect more of that and some trickery with offensive weapons like team receiving leader Tyler Boyd.
Look for fireworks in this match up with one team vying for an unexpected playoff birth and the other just trying to stay employed.