The Miami Dolphins will host the Cincinnati Bengals in week 12 action right in the thick of the Dolphins’ AFC Playoff race. Looking to pick up its eighth win of the season, Miami will look to take advantage of a depleted Bengals team who will be missing both their starting quarterback and running back in the matchup.
Bengals to be Without Burrow, Mixon, Will Start Allen, Bernard
The two wins for Cincinnati this season came against the Jacksonville Jaguars and the Tennessee Titans when it had QB Joe Burrow, but Burrow will miss his second straight game after suffering a season-ending ACL and MCL injury two weeks ago against the Washington Football Team. Additionally, RB Joe Mixon, who had a 1,000-plus yard season in 2019, will miss his sixth straight game with a foot injury.
Dolphins Should Have Similar Game Plan Against Bengals as They Did Against Jets
A team that has struggled to find any type of consistency on the offensive side of the football will match up with a Dolphins defense that has done a great job at beating teams they were supposed to outside of a fluke week against the Denver Broncos. A lot of that is due in part to their defense.
Looking at how the Dolphins have done against relatively bad teams too, Miami can feel confident going into Sunday. The New York Jets are the only team in the league that is worse than the Bengals on both sides of the football. Last week, the Dolphins gave up only three total points while having multiple takeaways. Miami will likely have a similar game plan of locking down key receivers, all three starters of whom are healthy for Cincinnati, and attempting to load the box against Bernard.
Will Miami Hone in on Tyler Boyd this Time?
Cincinnati will start WRs Tyler Boyd, Tee Higgins and A.J. Green on Sunday and the Dolphins have to be hoping Boyd doesn’t repeat his nine catch, 128-yard, two-touchdown game from just one year ago in a near-comeback win again. Thankfully for Miami, Allen and Boyd were nowhere near being on the same page last week as they connected for just 15 yards.
QB Situation, Yards Per Game Still Miami Struggles
The Dolphins have grown in many ways since last season and they now have a shot at the playoffs, especially with another win on Sunday. They are averaging 26 points per game while giving up 18. Their defense has been the testimony so far this year, especially as they’ve had somewhat of a rotating QB situation. While that will still be a question heading into Sunday, they’ll also need to address another eyebrow raiser. They have given up more yards on the field on defense then they have gained total all season long. The difference is they’re keeping teams from totally reaching the end zone, hence their current record.
Who Will Start? Tagovailoa, Fitzpatrick Still Not Named
At QB, Miami missed starter Tua Tagovailoa last week against the Jets due to a thumb injury. Turning back to veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick, the Dolphins may roll with him again as Tagovailoa’s injury is a little more serious than head coach Brian Flores initially thought. Despite the QB decision coming down to the pregame warmup last week, as of Saturday, Flores had still not named a starter for the next day’s home game. However, Flores did say Miami would not be activating practice squad QB Reid Sinnett like it did last week, signaling Tagovailoa is at least good enough to play if needed. But it is still to be seen if he will start.
Myles Gaskin to Return from IR
Additionally, Miami RB Myles Gaskin has been activated from IR and has been cleared to play on Sunday after missing the previous four games with an MCL injury. This is a saving grace for the Dolphins as their RB room is essentially up in smoke. Gaskin is expected to have a prominent role with backup Salvon Ahmed doubtful with a shoulder injury, Matt Breida out with COVID-19 and DeAndre Washington doubtful with a hamstring injury. Patrick Laird and Lynn Bowden Jr. are expected to backup Gaskin.
Dolphins’ Malcolm Perry: Game-Time Decision
The only other key injury to note is QB/RB/WR Malcolm Perry. Perry suffered a chest injury against the Jets, but has since logged two limited practices to end the week. This has improved his game status to questionable, but if he cannot go, WR Mack Hollins will start as Miami’s WR No. 3 behind DeVante Parker and Jakeem Grant.
Having a key offensive player back along with a possible veteran QB under center will bolster Miami’s offense immensely.
AFC Playoff Race Tight As Ever on Sunday
Entering Sunday, ESPN gives the Dolphins a 67.9 percent of winning the game on Sunday. Currently, Miami is battling No. 3 Tennessee (8-3), the No. 4 Buffalo Bills (8-3), the No.5 Cleveland Browns (8-3), No. 7 Indianapolis Colts (7-4) , No. 8 Las Vegas Raiders (6-5) and No. 9 Baltimore Ravens (6-5) in the AFC Playoff picture, all who are active in week 12. Most teams kickoff at 1 p.m. eastern.
Kayla Morton contributed to this article.
– Kayla Morton is the Managing Editor for Full Press Coverage Miami Dolphins. She is also a co-host on the Full Press Fantasy Podcast. Like and follow on Follow @northdakayla74 Follow @FPC_Dolphins and Facebook.