Bengals vs Dolphins: Facing An Early Must-Win Scenario

Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports
Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports /

Thursday night is Week 4 action for the Cincinnati Bengals. The Miami Dolphins are visiting The Jungle for a must-win AFC battle.

When the Cincinnati Bengals face the Miami Dolphins in Week 4 action, the stakes will be high. There’s no doubt about the scenario. The Bengals are looking at a game that will shape their perception to the rest of the nation. Cincinnati is under the .500 mark, for the first time in years. The Dolphins come to The Jungle knowing their opponent is in a must-win situation.

Even though the Bengals are at home, the game is not an easy win. Marvin Lewis’ record in primetime is not a secret. In order to get things going, the Bengals will have to come out fast. The matchup will prove some things to the team and also prove how loyal fans are. Despite Miami having an extensive injury list, they are also in a must-win showdown.

With both teams at 1-2, Thursday Night Football will be a drama filled extravaganza. From the kickoff, the intensity should be that of a playoff game. There won’t be time for worrying about bad calls from the referees. This will be a test of who wants it more and who’s going to do whatever to win. For the Bengals, their AFC bragging rights are at stake. The Dolphins are staring at a 1-3 record.

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It’s Still Early

Let’s say the Men in Stripes lose. Please, don’t curse the messenger. But, if it happens, there has to be a backup plan. A 1-3 start in the division isn’t a death sentence, but it is digging a hole. Coach Lewis has a way with words and motivation. If his Bengals fall into a three-loss hole, he’ll have to get a ton of shovels out.

Calling Thursday night’s battle “must-win” may be too intense for some. But, if Cincinnati falls too far behind the leaders in the AFC, it’s definitely an uphill battle. The Baltimore Ravens are looking strong. Joe Flacco looks healthy. The Steelers are…the Stilluhs. They’ll always find a way (refs or not).

Trying to find an excuse for the poor start is useless. Certainly, the absence of Vontaze Burfict was a blow. But, he’s not the sole reason the Bengals have struggled. The offense hasn’t had the balance promised by first-year O-coordinator Ken Zampese. He has Air Coryell blood in his veins. But, the O-line needs to punch some holes for Jeremy Hill and Giovani Bernard.

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Will Dalton Shine?

This could be a big night for Andy Dalton. The Dolphins defense has allowed a passer rating of 94.8, over their three games. With such a loose secondary, The Ginger should be able to shred Miami. Miami’s victory over the Browns had a so-so feel to it. The Browns were at a disadvantage. Cleveland’s QB situation is pure insanity. Dalton will be under center and ready to go.

The bright lights will hold the key to what happens next for the Bengals, But for now…it’s truly only about winning. The offense and defense will have to prove they deserve to be called champions of the AFC North. Cincinnati needs to put those primetime demons to rest. It’s a must-win.