Final score predictions for Dolphins vs. Bengals in Week 4 on TNF

It feels like 2021 all over again for the Cincinnati Bengals as they head into “Thursday Night Football” against the Miami Dolphins.

After a very slow start in 2021, the Bengals came alive to win in Week 3, then play on TNF. This year, they started 0-2, torched the Jets in Week 3 and now face the Dolphins on TNF.

Question is, though that Thursday game was a win last year, will the same thing unfold yet again?

Pulling off the same feat this year will prove considerably more difficult against a Dolphins team that looks like a contender. The Dolphins are 3-0 and have already bested three would-be playoff teams in the AFC by beating New England, Baltimore and Buffalo.

Along the way, Tua Tagovailoa has thrown eight scores and two picks, with Jaylen Waddle and Tyreek Hill combining for more than 600 yards and five touchdowns.

By comparison, the Bengals have looked much rougher, especially as Joe Burrow and his offensive line struggled through the two opening matchups. That corrected some in Week 3 when everyone looked better (coaches and play-callers included) and Burrow threw for 275 yards and a trio of scores.

All things equal, this is a very hard-to-read matchup. The Dolphins have looked great but there’s plenty of reasoning to suspect the Bengals were always going to start slow (Burrow’s training camp surgery, lack of offensive line reps, etc.) before heating up.

But one of the interesting things here is that all things simply aren’t equal here. The Bengals are at home for a whiteout in what is a big moment for the franchise.

Those Dolphins, on the other hand, had to leave Flordia early due to the approaching hurricane and practiced at UC. They just played in an extended, emotional win on Sunday that included 90 defensive snaps (40-plus minutes for that unit on the field). And Miami’s injury report is extensive, headlined by quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, who has multiple injuries and would be a question mark on a normal week.

This isn’t a normal week, and that swings what would otherwise be a dead-even matchup. There’s an opening for the stout Bengals defense to fluster Tagovailoa and Bengals weapons to make enough plays against a fatigued defense on a short week to get the win.

Prediction: Bengals 23, Dolphins 20

List

Dolphins vs. Bengals key players, storylines for TNF

Story originally appeared on Bengals Wire