The Bengals are on a tear, the Dolphins are in a slump. When they meet Thursday night in Miami, nothing indicates a Cincinnati loss. Yet Miami is only a 2½ -point underdog.
That seems charitable for the Dolphins, who have dominated this series, going 15-5, but are stuck in a rut. They've followed three opening victories with four losses, can't protect quarterback Ryan Tannehill, and have seen Tannehill lose a league-high five fumbles.
"We are in a tough spot, obviously coming off of four losses," Tannehill said. "Big game at home, short week, it's a very good opponent. It's a big game for us."
He knows the Bengals (6-2, No. 8 in the AP Pro32) can get after the quarterback — they have 22 sacks shared among 10 players. He also knows his counterpart, Andy Dalton, is on a torrid streak, throwing 11 TD passes in the past three games, including five against the Jets last Sunday.
"I feel like I'm playing with a lot of confidence and our guys are doing the same thing. That's been big for us," the third-year quarterback said. "We know what we're doing out there, and they're in the right spots and they're making plays. That's kind of what it comes down to."
Cincinnati has won four in a row and gets a bye next week. Miami (No. 19, AP Pro32) won't curtail the Bengals' momentum.
No. 14 Chicago (plus 11) at No. 7 Green Bay, Monday night
Battered Bears in for more punishment against archrivals.
BEST BET: PACKERS, 33-17
No. 27 (tie) Atlanta (plus 7 1-2) at No. 12 Carolina
Who would have thought the Panthers could be such heavy favorites against Atlanta?
UPSET SPECIAL: FALCONS, 21-20
No. 1 (tie) Kansas City (minus 3) at No. 20 Buffalo
Some see this as Chiefs' first loss. We don't, but a close one.