NFL teams don’t often reach the playoffs following a 1-3 start, but that challenge will be awaiting the loser of Thursday night’s game this week when the Miami Dolphins visit the Cincinnati Bengals. This game is unusual in that it’s only shown on the NFL Network. The Bengals are favored on NFL odds.
Taking a Closer Look at the Miami at Cincinnati Expert Pick, Odds & TV Info
— Miami Dolphins (@MiamiDolphins) September 27, 2016
Why Bet on Miami?
The Dolphins got their first win for new coach Adam Gase on Sunday with a 30-24 overtime win over Cleveland. Jay Ajayi scored on an 11-yard run with 8:26 left in overtime. Ajayi’s game-winner came one play after Miami quarterback Ryan Tannehill found a wide-open Jarvis Landry for a 32-yard gain, as the Dolphins avoided what would be their first 0-3 start since 2011. Tannehill threw for 319 yards and three touchdowns for Miami, and Landry caught seven of those passes for 120 yards.
Cleveland’s Cody Parkey missed a winning 46-yard kick at the end of regulation. Cleveland started a rookie third-string quarterback with no previous NFL experience — Cody Kessler fumbled on two of the game’s first three plays and took a delay-of- game penalty on the other. Yet the Browns still should have won.
Dolphins tight end Jordan Cameron suffered a concussion Sunday and will miss Thursday night’s game, according to Gase. Cameron, who has a history of concussions, suffered the injury in the second quarter. This season, he has eight catches for 60 yards and a touchdown in three games. Gase also said Monday that running back Arian Foster, who missed Sunday’s victory with a groin injury, is unlikely to play Thursday night. Kenyan Drake started in place of Foster on Sunday.
Gase also suggested center Mike Pouncey (hip) will not play Thursday night. Even with fill-in center Anthony Steen dealing with a high-ankle sprain, the Dolphins are not going to rush Pouncey back without seeing him in practice. Kraig Urbik will likely draw the start at center.
Why Bet on Cincinnati?
The Bengals lost their second straight Sunday, 29-17 at home in their home opener to Denver. Cincinnati made Trevor Siemian look like Peyton Manning as he threw four TD passes and rallied the Broncos with two fourth-quarter TD drives. Jeremy Hill ran for a pair of touchdowns and 97 yards — huge strides for Cincinnati’s pass-heavy offense — but Andy Dalton couldn’t do much after the Bengals fell behind.
With 4:17 left, the Bengals, down 29-17, they essentially sealed their own fate after Dalton was picked off by Will Parks. Dalton completed 21-of- 31 passes for 206 yards and one interception. Hill, who had a total of 53 yards in the first two games, broke off a 50-yard run on Cincinnati’s opening possession — his longest run since 2014. The Bengals are 6-4 in their past nine games at Paul Brown Stadium, including a first-round playoff loss to Pittsburgh.
Cincinnati will get suspended linebacker Vontaze Burfict back for the first time in the regular season. He sat out the first three games for repeated violations of player safety. Whether they’ll have tight end Tyler Eifert back is a different story. Eifert, who has been recovering slowly from an offseason ankle injury, returned to practice last week but was inactive on Sunday.
“Having him back bolsters our linebacking unit,” LB Vincent Rey said of Burfict. “It bolsters our defense in general, and our team. We’re looking forward to having him back. He’s just another player here to make plays for us. He’s a big-time player and leader.”
My Expert Pick
In the last meeting in 2013, Dolphins defensive end Cameron Wake had three sacks, including the game-winning safety in overtime. Miami won 22-20 at home. I like the Bengals and the under here on NFL odds.