It’s Halloween and this should be a night I enjoy not because of costumes and candy, but because last week I did well on my picks. I went 7-6 against the spread and 10-3 straight up. Looking back, I have no idea why I picked the Steelers because the Raiders always beat them. And I’m officially off the Philadelphia Eagles bandwagon. They are about to be in Jacksonville status where I will refuse to pick them every week regardless of the matchup.
Overall my record this year is 77-43 straight up and 57-63 against the spread.
Cincinnati Bengals (6-2) at Miami Dolphins (3-4)
Thursday, October 31 at 8:25 pm ET on NFL Network
Line: Dolphins (+2.5)
This matchup gives me a bit of pause. The Bengals have played relatively well these past few weeks with Andy Dalton having a solid outing last Sunday. That likely means that Dalton is due to lay an egg this week. I think Miami’s defense is good enough to keep Dalton in check. Especially since Andrew Whitworth hasn’t practiced all week, and Cameron Wake is the healthiest he’s been in six weeks. Brent Grimes should be matched up frequently with A.J. Green, which should also be a boon for the Dolphins defense rather than Nolan Carroll facing him.
The problem of course is the Dolphins offense stinks. They got off to a fast start against New England last week, but that was thanks in large part to an erratic Brady and an early interception. There was absolutely no vertical element to their offense, thanks in part to the fact that there is no trust in the pass protection in front of Ryan Tannehill. And now they are facing a very formidable Bengals front, which will feature times where we’ll see John Jerry blocking (or not) Geno Atkins. That is not a good recipe for success for the Dolphins, and thus in good conscience I cannot pick them.
The one thing I like for the Dolphins offense is the fact that the injury to Leon Hall has forced the Bengals to move Adam Jones to the outside and they are platooning Dre Kirkpatrick and Chris Crocker in the slot at nickel cornerback. That means that if Miami’s passing attack is going to be able to overcome Cincinnati’s defense, it will rest largely on Rishard Matthews, who could be a big target over the middle.
Spread Pick: Bengals
Straight Pick: Bengals