In a unique scheduling quirk, the four teams with the worst regular season records will face each other in Week 16. A pair of 3-11 teams square off as the Giants travel to face the Redskins, while the 1-13 Bengals head to Miami to play the 3-11 Dolphins.
The results of those Week 16 games will paint a much clearer picture for the 2020 NFL Draft. It is also a chance for the Bengals to avoid going winless on the road for the fourth time in franchise history. To do that though, head coach Zac Taylor and company will face a Dolphins squad that has played better in the second half of the season.
Here are the three things to watch in Cincinnati's final road game of the year.
1. Stars Must Come To Play – When the Bengals defeated the Jets in Week 13, the team's best players all enjoyed big games. Defensive end Carlos Dunlap tied a career high with three sacks, running back Joe Mixon rushed for a touchdown and wide receiver Tyler Boyd hauled in a receiving touchdown. The Bengals also out-gained the Jets, took only two penalties and controlled the clock for almost 32 minutes.
A similar effort will be needed against a Dolphins squad that has played better of late, but lost four of their last five. Miami enters this matchup having allowed the most sacks in the NFL this year (54). That should present opportunities for Cincinnati's big three of Dunlap, defensive end Sam Hubbard and defensive tackle Geno Atkins. Hubbard has been on fire of late with a sack in each of the last three games.
Check out photos of previous meetings between the Cincinnati Bengals and the Miami Dolphins.
2. Make It A Track Meet – If quarterback Andy Dalton gets time to throw, it could be a long day for the Miami defense. The Dolphins rank 24th in the NFL with 257.9 passing yards allowed per game, and over the last five weeks against Eli Manning, Sam Darnold, Josh Allen, Carson Wentz and Baker Mayfield, that number is 348.4 passing yards a game. In addition to the Dolphins' struggling pass defense, their pass rush has collected a league-worst 18 sacks on the year, with only six sacks in their last six games.
What should help the Bengals receivers is the improved running game. In the previous seven contests, the Bengals are averaging 130 rushing yards. Success in the ground game should open up field for Dalton and company to run play action and take advantage of mismatches on the outside with Boyd and fellow receiver John Ross.
3. Watch The Turnovers – Of course the great equalizer in football is turnovers. These are two teams that rank at the bottom of the NFL in turnover margin. The Bengals are tied with the Los Angeles Chargers at minus-16, while the Dolphins are the third-worst in the league at minus-12.
Since the bye week the Bengals have committed 13 turnovers. The only game the Bengals did not turn the ball over, the win against the Jets. In fact the Bengals are 0-6 this season with a minus turnover differential and have only won the turnover battle once this season.
Kickoff: 1 p.m. ET
Television: The game will air on CBS-TV. In Cincinnati, it will be carried by WKRC-TV (Ch. 12). Broadcasters are Andrew Catalon (play-by-play), James Lofton (analyst) and Michael Grady (sideline reporter).
Radio: The game will air on the Bengals Radio Network, led by Cincinnati flagship stations WLW-AM (700), WCKY-AM (ESPN 1530) and WEBN-FM (102.7). Broadcasters are Dan Hoard (play-by-play) and Dave Lapham (analyst).