NFL Week 4 Thursday Night Football: Unbeaten Dolphins Visit the Bengals

River Cracraft Miami Dolphins Buffalo Bills
Wide receiver River Cracraft #85 of the Miami Dolphins celebrates after scoring a touchdown against the Buffalo Bills. Megan Briggs/Getty Images/AFP.

This week’s Thursday Night Football features the unbeaten Miami Dolphins visiting last year’s Super Bowl runners-up, the Cincinnati Bengals, who managed to get their first NFL win of 2022 on the board at the weekend.

Miami Dolphins vs. Cincinnati Bengals

Thursday, September 29, 2022 – 08:15 PM EDT at Paycor Stadium

It’s been a cracking start for the Miami Dolphins in their campaign for Super Bowl LVII with Sunday night’s win over the much-touted Buffalo Bills. That result amazingly means the Dolphins are the last unbeaten team in the AFC and one of only three unbeaten NFL teams after Week 3.

Yet still, they find themselves as 3-point underdogs at the NFL odds to the Cincinnati Bengals who’ve looked like a pale shadow of the team that surprised the NFL in the 2021/2022 season.

Miami Dolphins Analysis

The move down to 3 points for the Cincinnati Bengals is likely due to the uncertainty surrounding the Dolphins’ quarterback Tua Tagovailoa who had to be replaced by Teddy Bridgewater in the first half while his head injury was assessed.

After just missing out on last year’s playoffs the Miami Dolphins are one of the most upwardly mobile teams in the NFL. The offseason attacking option signings of Tyreek Hill, Raheem Mostert, and Chase Edmonds suggest they mean business and guarantee points on the board if Tagovailoa’s improvement in his second season continues.

Last season saw the rookie quarterback make a real impact in Miami with a seven-game win streak after a nightmare start to their season. His performances marked him down as an elite quarterback and he should continue his improvement and education in the current season.

An investigation is taking place into Tagovailoa’s injury assessment on Sunday and if he has no ill effects, a full-strength Dolphins side will be rocking up at the Paycor Stadium on Thursday.

Cincinnati Bengals Analysis

The Cincinnati Bengals righted their wobbly ship somewhat on Sunday night with an easy win over the New York Jets. It was always going to be a tall order in Cincinnati for the great heroics of last season’s Super Bowl final to be replicated or bettered. Indeed, five of the last seven Super Bowl finalists went under their team totals and two of the last three have not made the playoffs.

There is no doubt, last season’s attacking prowess overcame any defensive frailties with Joe Burrow at quarterback being a revelation. The problem is that a year on with a tougher schedule and the chance for the opposition to create better tactics to blunt Burrow’s prowess, things could have been predicted to become harder for the Bengals. Then of course, Cincinnati’s expectations amongst the fans and players have grown out of all proportion in a year, leaving a hangover in the club’s psyche potentially.

They still have a slew of scoring options with Tyler Boyd, Tee Higgins, Ja’Marr Chase, and Samaje Perine, let alone one of the NFL’s best running backs, Joe Mixon.

Mixon looks a potential injury worry for the Cats on Thursday after he didn’t touch the ball in the fourth quarter when nursing an ankle injury. Early indications are that the injury isn’t too serious and with Perine in good rushing form, the Bengals have another high-class rusher.

Do We Have Another Tight TNF Game in Prospect?

Yes, I think we do and we know that Thursday nights can be hard for teams coming off a short week with injury worries and these two sides maybe have those worries looming in the background.

Joe Mixon for the Bengals would be a major loss, but Samaje Perine is excelling on the ground at the moment so the situation is recoverable if they do, and I doubt they will lose Mixon.

The potential for star quarterback Tua Tagovailoa to miss out for the Dolphins is also in the background but like Mixon, I am going to imagine both will play for betting purposes.

Dolphins vs. Bengals: Pick and Prediction

Unless star quarterback Tua Tagovailoa is missing, this is a really tough AFC matchup for the Bengals and they will have problems stopping the Dolphins from putting numbers on the board.

The safest option I have found for an NFL pick is to take the Miami Dolphins with the three-point spread with PointsBet given they will be determined to keep their unbeaten record as long as their quarterback Tua Tagovailoa is fit.

As always, in these circumstances, I like a more modest wager on the moneyline at FanDuel of +132.

NFL Pick: Dolphins +3 (-107) at PointsBet

NFL Pick: Dolphins (+132) at FanDuel