Cincinnati (-2.5) at Miami

The Dolphins suffered a 27-17 loss at New England on Sunday that was a perfect microcosm of their 2013 season: Miami started strong and dominated early, only to piss away a 17-3 halftime lead and lose 27-17.

Yup. This is the same Miami team that looked like a contender after its 3-0 start but has now lost four straight.

This week they host in primetime a Cincinnati Bengals team that is as hot as any club in football. The Bengals boast a league-best three Quality Wins (Green Bay, New England, Detroit), have won four straight and are fresh off a 49-9 dismantling of the New York Jets – the biggest blowout of the 2013 season.

In other words, we have two teams heading in different directions, and in a real hurry to get there.

  • Cincinnati is No. 7 in our Quality Stats Power Rankings and climbed four spots after the win over the Jets
  • Miami is No. 22 in our Quality Stats Power Rankings and fell three spots after the loss to the Patriots

The big advantage for the Bengals as they head to Miami is in the passing game, which we chronicled in detail this week in our Quality Stats Power Rankings Top 10: Andy Dalton is finally displaying the statistical profile of a great young gun. Cincy is

The Bengals are already 3-0 against the AFC East, winning by 7 (Patriots), 3 in OT (Bills) and 40 (Jets).

Cincinnati has been here before and Marv Lewis’s teams over the years have shown a remarkable knack of coughing up hairballs at inopportune times. In fact, they already have one hairball in their throat this year, a 17-6 loss at Cleveland back in Week 4, sandwiched by wins over the Packers and Patriots.

But barring that misfortunate effort in primetime, the Bengals are easily the superior team right now and should cruise to a 7-2 record on Halloween night in Miami.

Pick: Cincinnati 26, Miami 20