What to Look for: Bengals vs Dolphins

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When Halloween falls on a Thursday night, I think it is only appropriate that the Bengals play on Thursday Night Football. In between stuffing your face full of “ever shrinking sized candy bars”, here is what to look for….

Oct 27, 2013; Foxborough, MA, USA; Miami Dolphins running back Lamar Miller (26) is tackled by New England Patriots cornerback Alfonzo Dennard (37) during the third quarter at Gillette Stadium. The Patriots defeated the Dolphins 27-17. Mandatory Credit: Stew Milne-USA TODAY Sports

When the Dolphins Run the Ball

Despite having 2 capable backs (Miller and Thomas), one of which averaging 4.5 ypc (Miller), the Dolphins are in the bottom 10 (23rd) averaging just 89.1 ypg. The reason? The Dolphins run the ball just 34% of the time. Only 3 teams run the ball less. Whether it is because of scheme, philosophy, the line, or a lack of confidence in the young backs, the Dolphins clearly do not have a commitment to the run, thereby putting a lot of pressure on their 2nd year QB.

However, despite the fact that the Bengals are 8th in the NFL stopping the run (97.3 ypg), look for the Dolphins to run the ball more than normal tonight. Why? To protect Tannehill from the Bengals pass rushers. Tannehill has been sacked 32 times in just 7 games, has been sacked 4+ times in 6 of the Dolphins 7 games, and is on pace to be sacked 73 times in 2013! To make matters worse, the Dolphins have issues with their line that go beyond the field (see below).

Overall, the Dolphins can commit to the run all they want tonight, I don’t see it working.

Advantage: Bengals