For one, Miami will be thin at outside linebacker with Koa Misi (neck) ruled out and Jelani Jenkins (groin) doubtful. Fewer LBs mean more snaps for the backups, who could be gassed by the fourth quarter. That brings a smile to our face. Let’s hope it also plays a part in bringing a W to our win column.
So without further ado, here are 4 things to watch for in the Cincinnati Bengals-Miami Dolphins Thursday night game.
1. Burfict is back. The heart of the Bengals D returns in LB Vontaze Burfict. He’s served his 3-game suspension for violating player safety rules, and now he’s ready to make the middle of the field unsafe for anyone wearing a fish (sorry, mammal) on the side of their helmet. It remains to be seen how many snaps he’ll play and what kind of impact he’ll make, but our hopes are “lots” and “big”.
2. Will Tyler Eifert play? He hasn’t appeared so far this year and is listed as doubtful for this game (though he could see a few snaps). But Cincinnati Bengals fans can’t wait for his 6’6″, 251-pound frame to be used in the red zone.
3. Balance is needed on offense. QB Andy Dalton lit up the Jets and Steelers with 366 yards each while the running game struggled. On Sunday against the Broncos, Dalton barely cracked the 200-yard mark, but running back Jeremy Hill scored twice. It’s time to put it all together.
4. Matchups, matchups, matchups. We’ll have some good ones. Our favorite is Cincinnati Bengals DT Geno Atkins against Miami 3rd-string center Kraig Urbik. Our less-than favorite is Dolphins DTs Ndamukong Suh and Jordan Phillips vs the Bengals interior of Bodine, Zeitler and Boling. The more we look at that sentence, the less we want to think about it.