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Bengals vs Dolphins: Containing Miami WRs is a major key to victory

Miami Dolphins v Baltimore Ravens
Miami Dolphins v Baltimore Ravens / Rob Carr/GettyImages
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The Cincinnati Bengals head into what should be an electric Thursday night matchup with the 3-0 Miami Dolphins, who are coming off a dramatic win over the AFC and potential Super Bowl favorite Buffalo Bills. Cincinnati will play this game with their home crowd for the second time this season, and with the debut of the White Helmets and the expectation of a "white out," this game should be a very intriguing one to watch.

Cincinnati answered the call against the New York Jets, and it felt like a must-win game. The Bengals, for the first time in years, decided to take the ball after winning the coin toss, and it worked in their favor. We will see if that remains a common occurrence for Zac Taylor moving forward.

The Bengals will have their hands full on both sides of the ball and need to be ready and prepared for the overall speed that the Dolphins present. Dolphins head coach Mike McDaniel loves motion and creating matchups that favor their receivers and tight ends, so the defense needs to focus on these looks. Here are three keys leading to a Bengals victory on Thursday night.

Keep Jaylen Waddle and Tyreek Hill in front of them

The Dolphins focus their offense around the speed that they present. They are fast, motion a lot, and play with tempo. This can make it extremely hard on the defense, especially in a short week where there is less preparation and game-planning.

Jaylen Waddle and Tyreek Hill are the most significant threats on the offense, and luckily the Bengals have some experience against Hill as they played against him twice last year and did pretty well in coverage in both of those matchups. It is vital that the stripes keep these guys in front. If they get behind the defense, it could end badly, and we saw that in the Baltimore game where the 'Fins came from behind to win in thrilling fashion.

Miami can make teams pay with explosive and game-changing plays if those teams get caught lacking. This will be very important for the safeties while playing on the backend. Many responsibilities will fall on their shoulders when they are in coverage.

Get off to a fast start

Like the Jets game, if the Bengals win the toss, they should take the ball. It sets the tone for the entire game when they get off to a quick and consistent start. Playing with a lead vs. playing from behind displays two totally different Cincinnati Bengals squads.

It is hard to run the ball when you lose by double digits and are forced to score quickly. We saw that at times during the Steelers and Cowboys games. Getting Joe Mixon going early on could be very important and should give the Bengals more chances to make plays down the field through the passing game.

If Cincinnati can score early on, that will set them up nicely against a Dolphins defense that is still somewhat of a question mark. They looked good against the Bills and Patriots but struggled against the Ravens. They also gave up back-to-back 300+ yard passing games to Josh Allen and Lamar Jackson.

Dominate time of possession

This is a big key in most games when you have two offensive heavy teams that rely on scoring points quickly, and that is exactly what the Dolphins can do with the number of playmakers that they present.

The Dolphins trailed 35-14 in the fourth quarter against the Ravens and managed to score 24 unanswered points. That speaks volumes to the type of system that Mike McDaniels is implementing in Miami, and it seems to be working as of late.

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Cincinnati has won the overall possession time in two out of the first three games. However, the Steelers game was due to their number of turnovers. If they can do the same against the Dolphins, but efficiently and consistently, it will put them in a great position to come out of Thursday night with a victory.

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