Written by Chad Hahn
Heading into the much-anticipated matchup (for draft considerations) versus the Cincinnati Bengals the Dolphins come in flat-footed after the second half meltdown last week versus the New York Giants. That meltdown was from both the offense and defense as it seems like the toll of the regular season is affecting the players. Why would that be? The answer is simple. Most of the roster is made up of rookies or players that aren’t used to the 16 game grind of the regular season. With that said, it’s imperative the Dolphins continue to evaluate these players over the next 2 games to see what talent can stay with the team in 2020 when there will be a lot more talent on the roster.
Starting linebacker Raekwon McMillian was placed on injured reserve and the team signed linebacker Calvin Munson off New England’s practice squad. As the Dolphins roster churning continues one stat from last week’s game was Safety Adrian Colbert played 100 percent of the snaps and Flores seemed happy with what Colbert is doing out there as Flores stayed although he’s been here for only a few week’s it feels like he’s been here all year.
Some comments from Flores on Tuesday’s press conference that sparked some interest were about Josh Rosen. He clearly stated that Ryan Fitzpatrick gives the team the best chance at winning right now and that Josh Rosen is getting better in practice and he is part of the future and he will have his opportunity in due time. That topic will without a doubt heat up in the offseason.
Now onto the matchup at hand on Sunday against the Cincinnati Bengals. The Bengals play host in this game as they look for their second win of the year as they are currently 1-13. The league’s worst record. The Dolphins aren’t much better at 3-11. As far as to draft implications, all eyes will be on this game and it will help cement the draft order in a couple of weeks. In fact this weekend the bottom 4 teams all play each other as the other matchup is between the New York Giants who currently hold the 2nd pick in the draft and the Washington Redskins who currently hold the 4th pick in the draft. At this point more than likely, it does look like the Bengals will hold the first pick unless they win their next 2 games so the battle will now turn into the potential of the Chase Young “Chase”. Who is an early favorite of being the second pick in the draft? Young is a phenomenal talent that I will get to address in the off-season.
As far as who wins this game, I will go with the Cincinnati Bengals. After Miami’s second-half breakdown I feel Cincinnati could win this game as they are home and can really run the ball behind running back Joe Mixon. Similar to how the Giants dissected Miami’s defense with Saquan Barkley I expect the Bengals to rely on not only Joe Mixon but Giovani Bernard. I look for them to mix in play-action passes to attack the Dolphins depleted secondary.
Miami can still win this game as they do have heart and they have FitzMagic as their quarterback in this one. As we all know he can shred a defense when he’s on and he will have leading pass catcher Devante Parker ready to eclipse his first season of over 1,000 yards receiving as Parker only needs 44 yards to hit that mark. Last week he proved once again he can be relied on as he caught both touchdown passes from Fitzpatrick.
Miami fans are once again torn on how to root for their team this week. Make no mistake though, Miami isn’t a playoff contender this year. It’s imperative they lose this game if they want a shot at the first or second overall pick in April’s upcoming NFL Draft. The Dolphins need this to help speed up the rebuilding process.