The Cincinnati Bengals look to extend their four-game winning streak when they travel to Miami to face a Dolphins squad trying to snap a four-game losing streak, in a “Thursday Night Football” encounter at Sun Life Stadium.
With half the season complete, the Bengals look like strong contenders for a playoff berth. The Bengals have a 6-2 record while the rest of the AFC North are all under .500.
The Bengals enter the game with an offense that ranks seventh in passing and 19th in rushing. A.J. Green is coming off his third straight game of more than 100 receiving yards. The star wide out has 15 catches in that span to go along with two touchdowns.
Andy Dalton has done a solid job this season with a 99.0 passer rating and having completed 65.6 percent of his passes. The 26-year-old has also thrown for 16 touchdowns and seven interceptions. Dalton has been particularly effective in the past three games, with 11 touchdown passes and just two interceptions.
Cincinnati’s defense has also been effective this season, ranking fifth in scoring defense.
"We're very good," safety Chris Crocker said. "We're very, very, very good. But we have to play like it."
The unit faces a Miami squad that is ranked 20th in scoring and 28th in offense. The Dolphins have been in tight battles in their last three games. In defeats to the Baltimore Ravens, Buffalo Bills, and New England Patriots, the Dolphins were outscored by combined total of just 15 points.
Ryan Tannehill has had his struggles this season and in the past few games. On the season, the 25-year-old quarterback has completed 59.4 percent of his passes, and has thrown for 11 touchdowns and nine interceptions. His 79.5 passer rating is 19th in the NFL. Tannehill threw four interceptions in his last two games.
Tannehill's protection will be under scrutiny due to a missing tackle. Jonathan Martin will not play and has left the team to seek treatment for emotional issues, multiple sources told the Miami Herald. Martin, who was drafted in the second round of the 2012 NFL Draft, reportedly left the team and didn't return after a lunch-room prank on Monday.
Despite the losing streak, Miami head coach Joe Philbin remains optimistic about the Dolphins second half.
"If you don't have a strong locker room, if you don't have good character individuals, I think it could be a concern," he said. "I have a lot of faith in our guys. I believe in them. I think we'll get this thing right and fixed. We have to do it quickly; this is a good team coming in here on Thursday night."
Player To Watch: Andy Dalton
TIME: 8:25 p.m. Thursday
PLACE: Sun Life Stadium (Grass)
TV: NFL Network
Online Stream: nfl.com/tnf
Updated Betting Odds: Bengals by 3
Prediction: Bengals over Dolphins, 24-14