#1 – The Bengals defense has definitely struggled this year, but with key players getting back into the line-up they should keep making strides in the right direction. The Jacksonville game last Sunday was a good opportunity for us to see what the defense is capable of moving forward. They were able to get pressure on the quarterback and stop the run. That win should have also planted some much needed confidence in the defense. If the defense can have a repeat of last week and contain Reggie Bush this Sunday and force the, interception-prone, Tannehill to get the ball out under pressure, the defense will earn themselves a win for this team.
#2 – With the likely return of Leon Hall and Nate Clements to the active list for the game, the Bengals will be getting back some of the key components to their backfield that they have lacked the past two games. This is good timing with a gun-slinger rookie coming to Cincinnati. Though Tannehill has only passed for 2 touchdowns this season, he has racked up over 1000 yards passing. He likes to throw the ball. If the backfield can contain Brian Hartline, his go-to receiver with 455 yards, he will have to target guys that he is less comfortable with. All of his other receiving options combine for only 424 yards. So if our backfield can take Hartline out of the equation, the rookie will be forced to find other options.
#3 – The Cincinnati running game is going to have to improve. It could be the young line, the expanded role for BenJarvus Green-Ellis, or a combination of the two that has made the run game inconsistent for the Bengals. Whatever it is, it needs to get better. 70 and 80 yard games on the ground are good, but the problem lies in the amount of carries it is taking the team to get those yards. One play will be a run for 10 yards and the very next play will be no gain. The Bengals have to be able to take advantage of more opportunities on the ground to aid in clock management and keep the injury laden defense off of the field. Ball security is going to be a must this week too. Miami’s run defense will be tough, but every yard on the ground we can get will be helpful on Sunday. Keeping Bush and Tannehill off of the field will result in fewer points for Miami.