When Cincinnati hosts Miami on Sunday, the Bengals will likely be facing a desperate team. If the 1-3 Dolphins want to stay in the AFC East division race, they must win this game. But the host team is playing with a ton of confidence, looking to continue building off of its 2011 playoff season.
Here are THREE BOLD PREDICTIONS for Sunday’s Week 5 game at Paul Brown Stadium:
1. Bush will run wild
Even though the Bengals are off to a 3-1 start, tied atop the AFC North, one glaring defensive statistic is unavoidable: Cincinnati is 24th in the league in terms of rushing yards allowed (534 yards) – and dead last in yards allowed per rushing attempt (5.4).
Reggie Bush must be drooling at the thought of running against the Bengals. Bush is 6th in the league in rushing (369 yards) and third among running backs with a 5.5 YPC average. Bush has had 20+ carries in a game just once this season (26 in Week 2 vs. Oakland); and oh, by the way, he gashed the Raiders for 172 yards in that game.
Bush will record his second 100-yard game of the season against the Bengals, finding the end zone in the process.
2. Hartline vs. Green
If anyone predicted former Ohio State Buckeye Brian Hartline would lead the league in receiving yards a quarter of the way through the season, please raise your hand. Of course, the bulk of that production came last week, in a startling 253-yard performance. With a 100-yard game on Sunday, Hartline will surpass his entire yardage total from 2011.
A.J. Green is second in the league with his 428 yards, which is certainly not surprising. The former Georgia star made his presence felt as soon as he stepped onto the field as a rookie in 2011.
In this individual battle on Sunday, Hartline will come out on top, maintaining his lead over Green in receiving yards.
3. The game will be decided by a touchdown or less
After getting blown out by Baltimore in Week 1, Cincinnati has won three straight. The first two of those wins were each by a TD (before the Bengals blasted Jacksonville last week). The Dolphins are coming off of two straight OT losses, both by a FG.
Like the Bengals getting routed by the Ravens, the Dolphins were also routed in their opener (by a Houston team that is still unbeaten). But they have played much better in the three games since, and could easily be 2-2 or even 3-1.
This game will be close, decided by whichever team makes the most plays in the fourth quarter.