The 1-3 Dolphins are making the trip to Paul Brown Stadium to take on the 3-1 Bengals this Sunday at 1pm. Just a glance at the records of the two teams and you would think this would be a lopsided matchup in favor of Cincinnati. However, a closer look at how Miami got to that win/loss record may make you take a second glance.
Miami opened the season in week one with an ugly loss to a Texans team that has since gone on to be undefeated. In week two, they turned the tables at home with a crushing win over Carson Palmer and the Oakland Raiders. Weeks three and four were both losses. However, both games were decided by only 3 points in overtime stand-offs. Not only have their last two losses been close games, but this team has the ability to put points up on the board. Aside from the first week, where this young team only scored 10 points, the Dolphins have managed to score a combined 76 points in their last three games.
The Bengals are coming into Sunday’s game with three wins and only one loss. Their play continues to silence critics week after week. Aside from week one when everyone counted them out after an embarrassing loss to the Baltimore Ravens, the team has been on fire. Their high flying offense has been able to stand with the best; winning games at home against division foe Cleveland and on the road in Washington D.C. and Jacksonville. Cincinnati only managed 13 points in their week one loss, but they have gone on to score a combined 99 points over the previous three weeks.
The defenses for both teams are very similar. That could be because of a familiar face to Bengals fans, Kevin Coyle. Coyle is now the Dolphins defensive coordinator after he spent the past 11 years as a defensive coach in Cincinnati. The probability that both defenses will show similar looks will benefit the quarterbacks because they have had experience seeing like formations in practice.
Not only is their defensive play similar, but their defensive struggles are similar too. The Dolphins, like the Bengals, have had highs and lows on defense. Both have suffered and given up a lot of points. This game may come down to how well the defenses play for both teams. Coming into Sunday’s game, the Dolphins have given up a total of 355 yards, 298 of those were passing yards, while only a mere 57 were rushing yards. The Bengals defense has given up 366 total yards. That breaks down to 232 yards passing and 134 rushing yards allowed over the first four games.