The Bengals are on a tear, the Dolphins are in a slump. When they meet tonight in Miami, nothing indicates a Cincinnati loss. Yet Miami is only a 2½ -point underdog.
That seems charitable for the Dolphins, who have dominated this series, going 15-5, but are stuck in a rut. They’ve followed three opening victories with four losses, can’t protect quarterback Ryan Tannehill, and have seen Tannehill lose a league-high five fumbles.
“We are in a tough spot, obviously coming off of four losses,” Tannehill said. “Big game at home, short week, it’s a very good opponent. It’s a big game for us.”
He knows the Bengals (6-2, No. 8 in the AP Pro32) can get after the quarterback — they have 22 sacks shared among 10 players. He also knows his counterpart, Andy Dalton, is on a torrid streak, throwing 11 TD passes in the past three games, including five against the Jets last Sunday.
“I feel like I’m playing with a lot of confidence and our guys are doing the same thing. That’s been big for us,” the third-year quarterback said. “We know what we’re doing out there, and they’re in the right spots and they’re making plays. That’s kind of what it comes down to.”
Cincinnati has won four in a row and gets a bye next week. Miami (No. 19, AP Pro32) won’t curtail the Bengals’ momentum.
No. 14 Chicago (plus 11) at No. 7 Green Bay, Monday night — Battered Bears in for more punishment against archrivals. ... BEST BET: PACKERS, 33-17
No. 27 (tie) Atlanta (plus 7 1-2) at No. 12 Carolina — Who would have thought the Panthers could be such heavy favorites against Atlanta? ... UPSET SPECIAL: FALCONS, 21-20
No. 1 (tie) Kansas City (minus 3) at No. 20 Buffalo — Some see this as Chiefs’ first loss. We don’t, but a close one. ... CHIEFS, 17-16
No. 30 Minnesota (plus 10 1-2) at No. 13 Dallas — Hurting Cowboys lucky they get woeful Vikings this week. ... COWBOYS, 34-16
No. 4 New Orleans (minus 5 1-2) at No. 17 New York Jets — Jets’ string of wins in odd-numbered games ends here. ... SAINTS, 30-20
No. 21 Tennessee (minus 3) at No. 24 St. Louis — Rams showed toughness on defense against Seahawks. ... RAMS, 17-13
No. 11 San Diego (pick-em) at No. 23 Washington — Chargers come off bye, Broncos on tap next. Trap game. ... REDSKINS, 27-23
No. 31 Tampa Bay (plus 16 1-2) at No. 1 (tie) Seattle — Been burned plenty by laying big point spreads. Haven’t learned from it. ... SEAHAWKS, 30-10
No. 15 Baltimore (minus 2 1-2) at No. 26 Cleveland — Keep waiting for the real Ravens to show up. Maybe this week? ... RAVENS, 17-13
No. 5 (tie) Indianapolis (minus 2 1-2) at No. 29 Houston — Keep waiting for real Texans to show up. Not this week. ... COLTS, 23-17
No. 27 (tie) Pittsburgh (plus 7) at No. 9 New England — Roethlisberger thinks Brady is best of all QBs. ... PATRIOTS, 21-16
No. 25 Philadelphia (off) at No. 18 Oakland — Uncertainty at Eagles QB eliminates spread. ... RAIDERS, 24-16
Against spread: 7-8 (47-58-3). Straight up: 11-2 (74-47).
Best Bet: 4-3 against spread, 7-0 straight up.
Upset special: 1-6 against spread, 1-6 straight up.