The Miami Dolphins will host the Cincinnati Bengals tonight for a special Halloween edition of Thursday Night Football. The big question for Dolphins fans is will the team be giving out tricks or treats in their haunted house that is Sun Life Stadium.
The Dolphins will be able to hang with the Bengals if they can shut down superstar wide receiver A.J. Green. Yes, that is much easier said than done, but Miami has been able to keep other star wideouts in check for the most part this season. In their three victories, the Dolphins’ secondary has been able to shut down the likes of Indianapolis Colts receivers Reggie Wayne and T.Y. Hilton. In their win against the Atlanta Falcons, they were able to contain Julio Jones and Roddy White.
The one thing the Bengals have that neither the Colts nor Falcons truly have is offensive balance. Both teams have elite passing games, but neither has a very effective running game, even with the Colts trading for Trent Richardson in the week of their home loss to the Dolphins.
Defensively, the Dolphins will also have to get pressure on quarterback Andy Dalton. The more time he has to sit in the pocket, the more likely Green will get open. Brent Grimes and Dimitri Patterson will have to smother the Bengals’ receivers to help get Cameron Wake and Jared Odrick just a little bit more time to get to the quarterback.
Miami has been pretty good against the run so if they can shut down Giovani Bernard and BenJarvus Green-Ellis and put the game in Dalton’s hands, they will be playing into their strength on defense: their pass rush.
The difference in this game will be Miami’s ability to limit the potential for damage the Bengals can do on offense. Cincinnati can pride themselves on being one of the league’s best defensive units and with Miami having a plethora of issues on the offensive line, don’t expect much from the Dolphins’ offense.
We’re in for a treat just given the fact that there is NFL action on Halloween night, but unfortunately for the fans of the Dolphins, they may have been tricked into thinking they were going to make the playoffs as they stare the potential of five losses in a row right in the face. That’s a lot like getting a penny instead of candy — nobody likes that.