Thursday, October 31, 2013

Week 9 picks: Bengals at Dolphins

Publisher Nick St. Denis, associate editor Dan Begnoche and senior contributor Sean Donovan pick the Thursday night AFC matchup between the Miami Dolphins (3-4) and the Cincinnati Bengals (6-2).

Sean's take:
The grumbles about Mike Sherman's lack of balanced play-calling to-date are now coming from more than just the fans, but any efforts to run the ball consistently will be met by an eighth-ranked Cincinnati run defense led by one of the league's best defensive lines. Miami will be tempted to attack a beat-up Bengals secondary through the air, but poor pass protection and the loss of Brandon Gibson re-shift the advantage to the Bengals. The Dolphins drop their fifth-straight.
Prediction: Bengals 24, Dolphins 10

Nick's take:
The Bengals were really good last Sunday. Part of it was the inconsistency of the Jets, but most of it was due to the fact that Cincinnati is much better than advertised. Cincy's elite defensive front should have a field day against arguably the leakiest offensive line in all of football, and Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton will have plenty opportunities of his own against a Dolphins secondary very susceptible to the big play. 
Prediction: Bengals 30, Dolphins 17

Dan's take:
The surging Bengals have been a force on offense, and Dalton gets another shot at big yardage with a Dolphins secondary that's been woefully exposed in the second half of games and ranked 20th against the pass overall. Couple that with the loss of Miami's most recent touchdown producer in Gibson and the absence/dramatics surrounding lineman Jonathan Martin, and Tannehill and the offense struggle against a stout defense allowing only 18 points per game.
Prediction: Bengals 27, Dolphins 13