Cincinnati Bengals at Miami Dolphins
Time: NOON (EST), CBS
Spread: MIA -12.5
Odds c/o 5dimes
The Miami Dolphins have improved a lot this season. Entering Week 13 with a 7-4 record, the Dolphins host the visiting Cincinnati Bengals as 12.5-point favorites. The over-under is set at 42 points, for the game, which will air on CBS at Noon (EST).
The Miami Dolphins have won six of its last seven following its 23-31 loss to the Seattle Seahawks. Those six wins are carrying some quality, though the Dolphins still wonder how it stacks up against the truly elite clubs. This week will hardly test that, though.
Miami is just not a good offensive team, for a team that is three games above .500. Miami ranks No. 25 in pass yardage and No. 30 in rushing, yet somehow it cracks No. 14 overall in scoring offense. Those 25.8 points per game have proven enough with the third-most-stingy defensive unit in the NFL, allowing just 18.6 points per game to its opponents. The Dolphins have held three of its last four under 30 points, though that also included a 13-20 loss to the Denver Broncos. The point is, Miami’s defense has kept it in games, that its offense has “just good enough” to secure victory in.
The Dolphins have a few bones to pick with their quarterback, for starters. While Ryan Fitzpatrick has not been horrible, he has been just bad enough that Dolphins fans eagerly await Tua Tagovailoa to be ready to head a team. Fitz is completing a high ratio (68.5 percent), but he has launched an average of one interception per game while having incurred 1.75 sacks per game for a loss of over eight yards per game. His passer rating hovers at a decent 93.1. Again, all that is fairly decent, even better than mediocre, but the Dolphins need better efficiency with its offense showing so many signs of being, overall, just less than satisfactory.
The Dolphins pick up just 3.6 yards-per-carry and Fitzpatrick is the only over 5 yards per, on his 30 attempts for 151 yards. Lead rushers Myles Gaskin and Matt Breida both average just 3.9 and 3.6 yards-per-carry, respectively, and the Dolphins have just nine rushing touchdowns this season. It has managed twice as many via the passing game, with its top three pass options all possessing four or more touchdown catches. Devante Parker leads in yardage (642), first downs (37) and is tied for the lead in touchdown catches (4). The Dolphins have seven players with at least 100 receiving yards this season.
The Cincinnati Bengals are just 2-8-1 and are in the last place in the AFC North. It finds itself nearly two-touchdown underdogs in this Sunday’s showdown against the Miami Dolphins.
The Bengals rank No. 18 in passing yards, with a fairly decent set of receivers capable of causing problems. Problematically, the rushing attack sports inferior weapons to it. The Bengals managed just 96.3 rushing yards per game, ranking in the worst-five teams in the NFL. The overall effect is an offense that lingers near the bottom at No. 26, accumulating just 20.9 points per game. The defense has not been good enough to withstand that futility, allowing 26.3 points per game and giving the Bengals a -5.4 point differential.
Focusing on the bright spot, the passing game, one finds some pleasant surprises in rookie quarterback Joe Burrow. The LSU alum has thrown for 2,688 yards with a 65.3 percent passing ratio. He has 13 touchdowns with five picks, and he’s been sacked 3.2 times per game for 231 lost yards this season. His passer rating is under 90. And yet, despite all of this, he has shown enough with his volume passing to indicate he has a strong career ahead of him. Beyond his passing, Burrow has rushed for 142 yards and three touchdowns, and this has all been with an offensive line that is doing little to support his efforts. Tyler Boyd is thriving as a wide receiver with a team-best 725 yards and 41 first downs. He ranks No. 2 in touchdown catches with three, as No. 2 receiver Tee Higgins has five of the team’s 14 total receiving touchdowns.