One thing we’ve discovered in recent years is that NFL teams are resilient from one week to the next after blowing big leads and losing.
That bodes well for Miami on Thursday night when it hosts Cincinnati. Last week, the Dolphins squandered a 17-3 edge at New England before falling 27-17.
Since October 2011, the past 20 times a team coughed up a lead of 14-plus points in a defeat it has come back with gusto the next week, going 15-5 ATS. Teams are 4-1 in this scenario this year. Most recently, Dallas snapped back from a 51-48 loss to Denver to beat Washington 31-16. A week earlier, Oakland rebounded from a 24-14 loss to Washington by upsetting San Diego 27-17.
Anyway, that’s something to chew on. Now for a closer look at Thursday’s game, with the point spread provided by the LVH SuperBook.
PRO FOOTBALL – THURSDAY, OCT. 30
Cincinnati Bengals (6-2) at Miami Dolphins (3-4)
Time: 10 a.m. PST
Line: Bengals by 2½ (44)
Facts: Cincinnati’s Andy Dalton has climbed from 18th to fourth on the passer charts thanks to throwing for 11 TDs and only two INTs the past three weeks. His five-TD effort Sunday against the Jets knocked New York from 15th to 22nd on the defensive passer rating chart… Miami QB Ryan Tannehill was sacked another six times last week vs. the Patriots, giving him a league-leading total of 32. Cincinnati has 22 sacks… The Dolphins have lost four straight after their 3-0 start. The worst collapse in history for a team opening with three straight wins was orchestrated by the 1969 Bengals, who went 1-9-1 down the stretch… Thursday home underdogs are 1-8 vs. the spread the past two seasons… Cincinnati enters Week 9 with the biggest division lead in the NFL, by 2.5 games in the AFC North over Baltimore (3-4). Miami, meanwhile, is in a five-team log jam within a game of the last AFC wild-card berth.
Analysis: Despite the gloom and doom from the preceding notes, two things are working in the Dolphins’ favor here. Sure, Dalton has been lights-out in recent weeks, but against mediocre pass defenses ranked 15th or worse. In games against the three toughest units he’s faced (Patriots third, Steelers eighth and Browns 13th)) he has one TD throw and two INTs. Miami’s unit is 11th and held Tom Brady to 116 yards last week. Also, Miami enjoyed its bye week three weeks ago and might be fresher on mega-short rest against a Cincinnati team that won’t catch its break for another three weeks. A similar scenario played out in Week 8 this year and last year, with the team off a recent bye earning a rousing victory. Included was a 36-17 Tampa Bay victory in Minnesota last season as a 6-point underdog. Plus, where did that Miami running game come from all of a sudden. It had 156 yards against New England.
Forecast: Dolphins 26, Bengals 17
“Popular” Bob Christ has been forecasting NFL games for more than 30 years. His work has appeared in newspapers from coast to coast in Canada and the U.S. Contact him at [email protected].