One of the first Week 5 NFL Sunday matchups is between the Miami Dolphins and the Cincinnati Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati, OH and broadcasted on CBS-TV.
Both teams have a record of 3-1 but both are coming off very different Week 4 results.
The Dolphins got spanked hard by the New England Patriots 38-7, which was shocking considering Miami went into that game undefeated and Tom Brady’s Patriots had been written off as yesterday’s old news. But, as quarterback Ryan Tannehill said to the press afterwards, the Dolphins just plain “stank” across the board.
The Bengals, on the other hand, managed an exciting last-second come-from-behind win over the Atlanta Falcons in Atlanta, 37-36. Quarterback Andy Dalton hit a diving wide receiver A.J. Green in the end zone for the win and now a pumped-up Cincinnati team sits atop the AFC North tied with the Baltimore Ravens.
If the Dolphins win this matchup, they have a chance to stay one game ahead of the surging Patriots in the AFC East. But if the Bengals come out on top, as they’re expected to, they’ll move to 4-1 and, depending on how the 3-1 Ravens do against the 1-2-1 Cleveland Browns, have a shot to stay in charge of the AFC North.
Who’s favored to win this Week 5 Dolphins-Bengals matchup?
Which team has a better offense? Defense? Special teams?
Which team’s quarterback is more likely to lead his team to victory?
We’re going to compare the Dolphins and the Bengals and attempt to answer those questions and more.
The 2018 Dolphins offense isn’t stellar yet
Compare quarterback Ryan Tannehill’s Week 4 numbers with his first three outings and it’s pretty clear that something went terribly wrong against the Patriots.
It’s not that Tannehill, currently ranked 23rd among NFL quarterbacks, has been all that fantastic yet. In the first three games, he averaged 229 passing yards per game, 2.3 touchdowns per game for an average passer rating of 73.08.
But in Week 4’s disaster, Tannehill threw for just 100 yards and no touchdowns for a passer rating of 55.00. Missing from that offensive lineup were receiver DeVante Parker (quad, uncertain for Week 5nd tight end A.J. Derby (foot, possible multi-game absence). Receivers Kenny Stills (3 catches, 40 yards), Danny Amendola (2 catches, 21 yards) and rookie tight end Mike Gesicki (1 catch, 9 yards) could not seem to step up and help out. They better in Week 5.
13-year veteran running back Frank Gore, acquired in the offseason from the Colts, isn’t putting up big numbers either – he ran 11 times for 41 yards and caught 2 passes for 16 yards against the Patriots, and that wasn’t even his worse game of the season. The other back, Kenyan Drake, was no help either with only 3 carries for 3 yards.
Can Tannehill and his dinged-up offense get back to producing against the Bengals’ weak defense?
The 2018 Bengals offense more productive
Cincinnati Bengals offensive production is just decent but a whole lot better than the Dolphins.
Quarterback Andy Dalton’s squad has moved the ball a total of 1,506 yards (15th in the league) this season and scored an average of 31.5 points per game (4th best).
Compare that to Ryan Tannehill’s Dolphins who have had 1,144 total yards (ranked 29th) with an average score of 20.5 points per game (tied for 26th) and you can see that the Bengals are a much more productive team.
Dalton’s main receiving targets have been the key – receivers A.J. Green and Tyler Boyd and co. have caught for 283.0 yards per game, (ranked 12th), but with the second most interceptions thrown (6) they’ve got to take better care of the ball.
Running back Joe Mixon didn’t play in Week 4 (knee) and is listed as questionable for this matchup. Mixon’s backup Giovani Bernard filled in nicely for him against the Falcons, carrying the ball 15 times for 69 yards and scoring twice, but he got banged up with an ‘undisclosed injury’ at the end of the game. If neither can go against the Dolphins, look for rookie Mark Walton or Thomas Rawls to step in.
Dolphins Defense ranks 26th, Bengals D ranks 29th in the league
Here’s where this matchup might get fun.
Though the Dolphins defense ranks 26th in total yards allowed per game (284.8), they have more interceptions than any other team with 9, with cornerback Xavien Howard leading the way with 3, and then safety Reshad Jones with 2. Since Bengals quarterback Dalton has the second most picks of any other quarterback (6), it might get a little messy in his secondary on Sunday.
The Bengals have only picked off opposing quarterbacks a total of 3 times, but Dolphins’ Tannehill has thrown 5 himself, so this matchup may also be a break-out day for Cincinnati safeties and cornerbacks.
Two of the league’s top-5 five tacklers are on each these two teams. Miami’s linebacker Kiko Alonso has combined for 46 tackles in just four games (ranked 2nd) and Cincinnati’s linebacker Nick Vigil has 40 (ranked 4th). When it comes to sacks, though, Cincinnati beats Miami 10-6, with tackle Geno Atkins (4.0) and end Carlos Dunlap (3.0) leading the Bengals pack.
Special teams stats
Miami’s punter, Matt Haack, is in his second year and has punted 23 times for a net average of 40.0 yards per punt, ranked 18th in the NFL.
Cinncinati’s veteran punter, Kevin Huber, has punted 12 times for a net average of 38.3 yards per punt, 25th best in the league.
Miami’s rookie placekicker, Jason Sanders, is 2-for-2, his longest was a 30-yarder. He’s missed an extra point attempt (10/11).
Cincinnati’s placekicker, Randy Bullock, a third-year player, is 5-for-6 (tied for 20th best), his longest was a 42-yarder. He hasn’t missed an extra point attempt (15/15).
Dolphins-Bengals prediction and odds
The oddsmakers have the Bengals favored over the Dolphins by 5.5 with an over/under of 50.
Fun fact: the Bengals are 23-4-1 straight up when they’re favored by 5 or more points.
CBSSports.com’s final score prediction: Bengals 27, Dolphins 17.