Thursday Games of the Week

Begin the football weekend with the College Football game between Stanford and Oregon State. Mix it with some NFL Thursday Night Football and you’ve got your Games of the Week. Check out both games preview below and come play FanPicks cross sports contest!!! >>>Click here to join the game<<<

Stanford Cardinals vs Oregon State Beavers

Following a much-needed week off, No. 20 Stanford aims for its fifth straight victory Thursday in Corvallis against a re-energized Oregon State team under interim coach Cory Hall. The game will start at 9pm ET and will be broadcast on ESPN.

The Beavers have dropped five in a row and will be hard-pressed to slow down Heisman Trophy hopeful Bryce Love. Love leads the nation in rushing at 198.1 yards per game and has 18 carries of 30 yards or more. He has a remarkable 1,387 rushing yards through seven games despite carrying only once in the second half of Stanford’s 49-7 rout of Oregon on October 14.

Stanford’s offensive line has gone four straight games without allowing a sack while creating opportunities for quarterback Keller Chryst, who turned in one of his best games of the season against Oregon, throwing for 181 yards and three touchdowns with one interception. The Cardinal are tied for first in the Pac-12 North but need to avoid a letdown against Oregon State, which headed into its off week after playing one of its most competitive games of the season in a 36-33 loss to Colorado.

STANFORD (5-2, 4-1 Pac-12)

Love ranks second nationally with 200.9 all-purpose yards per game to lead the Cardinal, who have averaged 295 rushing yards with 12 touchdowns during their four-game winning streak. Linebacker Curtis Robinson had a team-high seven tackles against Oregon but the Cardinal run defense struggled again as the Ducks rushed for 276 yards. The Cardinal have been stronger in the secondary where safety Justin Reid (five) and cornerback Quenton Meeks (two) have combined for seven interceptions.

OREGON STATE (1-6, 0-4 Pac-12)

Hall took over for Gary Andersen on October 8 and immediately placed a greater emphasis on the run game as Ryan Nall finished with 172 yards rushing and three touchdowns against Colorado. Junior wide receiver Seth Collins, who leads the team with 43.3 receiving yards per game, missed the contest because of an unspecified illness and could be out for the rest of the season. Senior linebacker Manase Hungalu has been a bright spot on defense with 59 total tackles, five for loss, 2.5 sacks, two interceptions and three quarterback hurries.

Miami Dolphins vs Baltimore Ravens

Journeyman Matt Moore is fresh off a brilliant comeback performance and now will serve as the starting quarterback when the Miami Dolphins visit the Baltimore Ravens on Thursday. You can catch that game at 8:25 pm on CBS.

Moore came off the bench after Jay Cutler suffered multiple cracked ribs on Sunday to rally Miami from a 14-point deficit and record a 31-28 victory over the New York Jets. He threw two touchdown passes during a 17-point fourth quarter and brings a more boisterous approach than the introverted Cutler, who could miss multiple contests. Miami has won three straight games, so it is experiencing better times than the Ravens, who have allowed an average of 27.6 points while losing four of their last five contests.

DOLPHINS (4-2)

Running back Jay Ajayi (442 yards) is saddled with a 3.5-yard average that is well below the 4.9 mark of last season’s breakthrough campaign, but he will have a shot at posting his third 100-yard performance of the year against a Baltimore squad that ranks last in the NFL in rushing defense (145.3 yards per game). Moore will try to pump life into a sagging offense that ranks 31st in scoring (15.3 points) and dead last in total offense (261.8 yards) as well as try to make a downfield threat out of receiver Jarvis Landry, who is averaging just 8.1 yards on 45 receptions. Defensive end Cameron Wake has recorded six sacks after posting 2.5 against the Jets, but the defense has made only two interceptions.

RAVENS (3-4)

Baltimore ranks 23rd in the NFL in scoring offense (18.8 points) and 28th in total offense (277.6 yards) while quarterback Joe Flacco has been an underwhelming performer with five touchdown tosses and eight interceptions. Cornerback Brandon Carr has recorded a club-leading three interceptions. Outside linebacker Terrell Suggs (team-best 4.5 sacks) is expected to play through a knee injury.

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Posted in CFB, NFL

NFL Games of the Week

Sunday’s lives for NFL Football and FanPicks has your fantasy football fix. Usually the Green Bay Packers are unstopable with quarterback Aaron Rodgers, but this Sunday Rodgers is out and the New Orleans Saints are in town. . With eight games in line, there will be no shortage of draft picks. Check out our Saints versus Packers preview along with all other 1pm games below and join the action for cash prize!!!   >>>Click here to join the game<<<

New Orleans Saints vs Green Bay  Packers

Aaron Rodgers is sidelined with a broken collarbone, and that leaves all eyes on quarterback Brett Hundley when the Green Bay Packers host the New Orleans Saints on Sunday (1 p.m. ET on FOX). Hundley will be making his first career start and must upgrade his play after throwing three interceptions in relief of the injured Rodgers in last Sunday’s loss to Minnesota.

ABOUT THE SAINTS (3-2)

The Saints have rattled off three straight wins after an 0-2 start. Quarterback Drew Brees tossed his first two interceptions of the campaign and compiled a season-low 186 yards in last Sunday’s win over Detroit, but he has been superb this season with 1,321 yards and 10 touchdowns. Running back Mark Ingram (284 yards) started slowly but revved up his game against the Lions with a season-best 114 yards and his first two touchdowns of the season. The defense allows 23.2 points per game (21st in the NFL), but defensive end Cameron Jordan has registered five sacks as he looks to reach double digits for the third time in his career.

ABOUT THE PACKERS (4-2)

The chatter all week has been about Green Bay falling apart without Rodgers due to now having a novice at the helm. But Hundley has performed superbly in the preseason during his three years with the Packers, and he says the squad’s playoff aspirations shouldn’t take a hit with Rodgers lost for at least two months. Second-year inside linebacker Blake Martinez (team-best 48 tackles) has excelled, but the defense has struggled against the run as it is allowing 119.8 yards per game (24th in NFL).

New York Jets vs Miami Dolphins

The Dolphins have won two straight following back-to-back ugly defeats, including a 20-6 loss at New York. Miami pulled off an incredible comeback to win 20-17 at Atlanta last week after trailing 17-0 at halftime. The Jets had their unlikely three-game winning streak snapped with a 24-17 setback against New England last week. They squandered a 14-0 lead but were hurt when an apparent touchdown was ruled a fumble and a touchback on a controversial call.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs Buffalo Bills

Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston sustained a sprained AC joint in his throwing shoulder on a sack in last week’s loss at Arizona and appears headed for a game-time decision. Ryan Fitzpatrick came off the bench and rallied for the Bucs from a huge deficit last week in a 38-33 setback. Bills quarterback Tyrod Taylor has yet to throw for more than 224 yards in any game this season and posted a career-low yards per attempt in a 20-16 loss last time out at Cincinnati. Buffalo coach Sean McDermott, however, told reporters earlier in the week that Taylor retains his full confidence.

Jacksonville Jaguars vs Indianapolis Colts

With 1,209 yards passing, Colts quarterback Jacoby Brissett has played fairly well in Andrew Luck’s stead, but the former Patriot backup has thrown just three touchdown passes on the season. The Colts have also coughed up three second-half leads and have fallen into last place in the division. Jacksonville hopes to have rookie sensation Leonard Fournette in the backfield for Sunday’s game. Fournette left last week’s 27-17 loss to the Rams in the second half after suffering a leg injury and he has missed two practices during the week.

Baltimore Ravens vs Minnesota Vikings

The Vikings seem to have found an answer to their injury woes at quarterback with Case Keenum excelling in place of Sam Bradford (knee), and Jerick McKinnon has put up big numbers in two games since rookie running back Dalvin Cook was lost for the season. Minnesota has the benefit of leaning on one of the league’s best defenses, which has been especially tough against the run. Baltimore is coming off a bad loss – 27-24 in overtime to visiting Chicago – and has plenty of problems on both sides of the ball. The teams are meeting for the first time since 2013.

Arizona Cardinals vs Los Angeles Rams

The 32-year-old running back Adrian Peterson, who was acquired from New Orleans for a draft pick on October 10, gave a huge boost to a Cardinals ground attack that was averaging a mere 51.8 yards per game and this week will be facing a run defense that ranks 29th in the league (139.5 yards). Los Angeles is coming off its third win in four games, a 27-17 victory at Jacksonville that featured a 103-yard touchdown return by Pharoh Cooper on the opening kickoff. The Rams have a rushing threat of their own in Todd Gurley, who is fourth in the NFL with 521 yards and tied for first with seven TDs – including three of the receiving variety. Both teams also can get things done through the air, as Arizona’s Carson Palmer (1,856) is second in the league in passing yards while Los Angeles’ Jared Goff (1,484) ranks seventh.

Carolina Panthers vs Chicago Bears

The Bears haven’t asked too much of rookie quarterback Mitch Trubisky in his first two starts, as he has passed for only 241 yards with two touchdowns and one interception while primarily focusing on handing off to Jordan Howard. Leaning on the ground game might not be a viable option against the Panthers, who rank fifth in the NFL against the run and allow just 3.4 yards per carry. Carolina had a two-game winning streak snapped with a 28-23 loss to Philadelphia last week.

Tennessee Titans vs Cleveland Browns

Browns quarterback DeShone Kizer watched from the sidelines as Kevin Hogan threw three interceptions and is heading back out on the field ready to limit his own mistakes and hold himself accountable. Kizer is completing 50.9 percent of his passes and owns nine interceptions to go with just three touchdowns. Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota sat out a 16-10 loss at Miami on October 8 with a hamstring injury but returned on Monday with limited mobility and threw for 306 yards in the 36-22 victory over Indianapolis while working from the pocket.

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Posted in NFL

NFL Football 2017-18 Season

AFC East Division Preview

NFL training camps just opened, which signals the official countdown to the start of the 2017 season. As usual, there is no lack of storylines to keep an eye on as we get closer to Week 1, with the defending Super Bowl champion New England Patriots at the forefront.

The Pats are among the Super Bowl favorites nearly every year, but this season it appears they are more likely than usual to add another Lombardi Trophy to the collection. There is veteran leadership, young talent and the elite coaching that most teams aspire to. That said, the roadblocks along the way can’t be easily dismissed. The Dolphins appear to be on the precipice of becoming a worthy divisional foil. Let’s take a look at what can deliver the AFC East teams this season. And don’t forget that it all begins September 7th. Join Fanpicks now to enter all of NFL’s Week 1 contests.

Buffalo Bills

The Bills will look to improve on a unit that is lacking stars but ranked first in rushing offense and tied for 10th in scoring last season.

With few appealing options on the free-agent market, the Bills had little choice but to bring back quarterback Tyrod Taylor for a third year under a more cap-friendly contract. It was a prudent move as Buffalo’s new coaching staff under coordinator Rick Dennison will not have to waste valuable months staging a competition, and young prospects Cardale Jones and rookie Nathan Peterman can develop without any pressure. The Bills signed veteran T.J. Yates in case neither Jones nor Peterman can secure the backup job.

Taylor will need a full season out of wide receiver Sammy Watkins, who had two foot surgeries last year and was limited to 28 catches. Second-round pick Zay Jones, who caught an FBS record 399 passes for East Carolina, should be a nice complement to Watkins, along with veteran free agent Philly Brown. Tight end Charles Clay, who led Buffalo with 57 catches for 552 yards, is also begging to be used more. Watkins’ health is everything, though. The No. 4 pick in 2014 is at a crossroads of his career if he can’t stay on the field.

Taking some of the pressure off Taylor is a rushing attack that has led the NFL two years running. LeSean McCoy is still an elite cut-back runner who topped the 1,200-yard mark for the fourth time in his career. He had 50 catches and earned his fifth Pro Bowl nod. Losing top backup Mike Gillislee (5.7 yards per carry) to New England as a restricted free agent has opened a spot for second-year man Jonathan Williams.

Miami Dolphins

When quarterback Ryan Tannehill’s season ended in Week 14, Miami’s hopes for a deep playoff run were dashed as well. After a rough start partially caused by growing pains in coach Adam Gase’s system, Tannehill rebounded to enjoy the best season of his career. Tannehill’s biggest improvement came on the deep ball. He tied for the NFL lead with seven completions of 50-plus yards, and his 7.7 yards-per-completion average was a personal best.

Behind the scenes, Gase pushed heavily for Dolphins management to re-sign wide receiver Kenny Stills. Those words carried heavy weight. Stills caught a career-high nine touchdown passes and averaged 17.3 yards per reception, which ranked third in the league. Jarvis Landry should be the next Dolphins wideout to cash in. Heading into a contract year, Landry remains Tannehill’s most trusted target. He was among the league leaders in third-down grabs while becoming the sixth receiver in Dolphins history with back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons. Miami is counting on DeVante Parker to make more of an impact entering his third NFL season. If he doesn’t, the Dolphins may pass on exercising the fifth-year option in his rookie contract.

At tight end, Julius Thomas should provide Tannehill with a boost in the passing game provided he avoids the injury problems that made him a high-priced free-agent bust in Jacksonville. Anthony Fasano, who played in Miami from 2008-12, returns primarily as a blocker with Dion Sims having left for Chicago.

The running game progressed from a concern in the preseason to a strength by the end of the year. Jay Ajayi, who was left at home for the Week 1 opener because of a bad attitude, changed his tune and quickly surpassed Arian Foster as Miami’s lead back. Ajayi finished with 1,272 yards. The next step for Ajayi is consistency. He finished with 79 or fewer yards in 12 games, including Miami’s first-round playoff loss to Pittsburgh.

New England Patriots

The stirring MVP performance that Tom Brady gave in the Super Bowl win over the Falcons tells you everything you need to know about his lasting ability to play the position even as he begins the 2017 season at 40 years old. He won’t go on forever, but that’s why the team retained backup quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo despite reportedly receiving repeated overtures from the Browns to trade him away. In so doing, the Patriots will be starting an all-time great at the most important position on the field while having an insurance policy who they believe can carry them to the promised land if Brady gets hurt.

On top of that, the Pats significantly upgraded Brady’s wide receiving corps when they dealt the No. 32 pick in the draft for ex-Saint Brandin Cooks. With the speedy Cooks in the fold, the Pats add the valuable element of a deep threat to an already potent unit. Cooks can also line up in the slot and be effective in traffic, something he will do more in New England than he did in New Orleans.

There is some uncertainty around the tight end position. Rob Gronkowski will be coming off back surgery, and the increasingly injury-prone star is becoming less and less reliable in terms of his availability. The Pats acquired Dwayne Allen to fill the void left by Martellus Bennett, who left for the Packers in free agency, but Allen has his own injury history.

The questions surrounding the running back position are of a different nature. The team swiped restricted free agent Mike Gillislee from the Buffalo Bills, and he could be the lead back in a deep rotation. But Rex Burkhead and Dion Lewis also can be effective in multiple facets, and third-down back James White seems like he will hold down that spot after receiving a contract extension in April. Rather than settle on a consistent rotation, the Patriots could use the backs based on game-plan need and leave opponents guessing as to which one they’ll have to worry about from week to week. That kind of personnel flexibility is something head coach Bill Belichick likes.

New York Jets

The main focus for the Jets in 2017 will be on the quarterback position. The Jets didn’t draft a QB, so they’re rolling with journeyman Josh McCown and youngsters Christian Hackenberg and Bryce Petty. This is a prove-it year for Hackenberg, whom the Jets drafted in Round 2 last year.

The Jets are also trying to incorporate younger wide receivers, now that Brandon Marshall is playing for the Giants and Eric Decker is with the Titans. Can Quincy Enunwa prove himself as a potential No. 1 threat, rather than just a hybrid receiver/tight end? What do the Jets have in Robby Anderson, who flashed last year as an undrafted rookie?

While the Jets drafted two receivers (ArDarius Stewart and Chad Hansen), they also selected tight end Jordan Leggett to bolster a position that was nonexistent under offensive coordinator Chan Gailey. Gailey retired, and the Jets replaced him with John Morton.

The running game was respectable — the Jets ranked 12th in the league — but Matt Forté averaged only 3.7 yards per carry, his lowest number since 2009.

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Posted in NFL

AFC East biggest needs in the 2017 NFL Draft

The Bills, Dolphins and Jets have work to do if they want to close the gap on the Super Bowl champions

The New England Patriots won the AFC East by a wider margin than any other division champion in the NFL in 2016. That’s pretty much how things went over the last decade and a half, as Bill Belichick, Tom Brady and Co. continue their unfathomable success as the other three teams in the division seemingly rotate finishing second, third or fourth.

New England has dominated in free agency, but they still have holes to fill and depth to build. Unlike its divisional counterparts, the Patriots will be without a first-round pick in the draft on April 27th 2017 (barring another shrewd move or two) to help them fill those gap and build that depth. The Bills and Jets, meanwhile, will have very early picks at their disposal to help with their biggest needs.

Buffalo Bills

The Bills finished the 2016 campaign with a 7-9 record, losing four of their last five games. The only win during that stretch came against the lowly Cleveland Browns. The Bills were doomed by a laughable passing attack, thanks in large part to another season of a hobbled Sammy Watkins and a limited stable of weapons at the receiver position. Obviously, the Bills need a more dependable playmaker at receiver. Robert Woods and Marquise Goodwin were the top two producers at the position a season ago, but both have found new homes on the West Coast during free agency. Buffalo also could use more stability on the offensive line — especially at right tackle.

First-round pick: No. 10 overall

Potential Picks: Buffalo will be in position to take one of the top two wide receivers on the board: Clemson’s Mike Williams or Western Michigan’s Corey Davis. Either one is an instant starter and No. 1 option in the passing attack, relegating even a healthy Watkins to the second option at this point — if not making him expendable altogether. The Bills can pick up adequate offensive line depth later in the draft, but they won’t find elite talent at the receiver position beyond Williams and Davis.

 Miami Dolphins

The Dolphins had a relatively successful 2016 season. They’ve had 10 victories, qualified for the playoffs and appear to have found a star in running back Jay Ajayi. The problem is, they share a division with the Patriots — regularly one of the league’s most prolific offensive teams. Young stars can be found throughout the offensive depth chart, but the defense — specifically the front seven — is just not built to stop New England right now. Miami needs linebackers — plain and simple. The Dolphins need versatile outside linebackers who can rush off the edge or drop off and cover tight ends and running backs at a moment’s notice. That’s their best hope of matching up and attempting to slow down what today’s NFL offenses are doing.

First-round pick: No. 22 overall

Potential Picks: The Dolphins will be in position to address outside linebacker by taking either Zach Cunningham from Vanderbilt or Alabama’s Tim Williams. Both are superior athletes and guys you’d expect to be long-term starters. There also is a chance that the Dolphin brass is wooed by the versatility of Michigan’s Jabrill Peppers, who spent time at both safety and linebacker during his collegiate stay.

New England Patriots

They won the Super Bowl despite the greatest quarterback in NFL history missing a quarter of the regular season. It was a stark reminder to the rest of the league just how solid the Patriot organization is and how far in front the franchise is of everyone else right now. And the Rocky Balboa-fashion in which they came back to win Super Bowl LI had the football world questioning everything we thought we knew about the game and perhaps even life itself.

Bill Belichick likes to have a good collection of versatile edge rushers, and right now his stockpile is bordering on what he would consider low. Additionally, it’s starting to feel like Rob Gronkowski’s best days are behind him. When healthy, he’s probably still the best player at his position, but the reality is that he has only played in 70 percent of New England’s games over the past five seasons and hasn’t played a complete season since 2011 — his second year in the league.

First-round pick: none.

First pick: No. 72 overall

Potential picks: It all boils down to what’s out there and what Belichick values more at this point. If he’s leaning toward grabbing an impact defender who can get after the quarterback, there’s a good chance that Ohio’s Tarell Basham — the MAC Defensive Player of the Year — is available. If he’s looking to add a pass-catching tight end to groom as Gronkowski’s eventual replacement, Virginia Tech’s Bucky Hodges is someone who might hear his name called when New England makes its first pick.

New York Jets

The Jets slogged their way to five wins over the Browns, Bills (twice), 49ers and Ravens. They did so with an aging roster and disarray at the quarterback position. Head coach Todd Bowles constantly looked like he couldn’t wait for the season to be done, and a quick glance into the stands during home games reflected the same.

Take your pick. Of course the Jets need a quarterback, but truthfully, you don’t want to plug a fresh signal-caller into a mess like this without some house cleaning and upgrades. That’s probably one of the biggest reasons why they gave journeyman Josh McCown $6 million. Remember, New York’s top returning receiving option is Eric Decker. Matt Forte and Bilal Powell leads the running back depth chart, which would be great if we were headed into the 2012 season. If you take a step back, it’s clear to see that this is a total rebuild. That’s going to require the Jets spending their early pick on the best player available, regardless of need.

First-round pick: No. 6 overall

Potential picks: Again, it’s a crapshoot. If they want to draft the most mature, prepared and accomplished quarterback available to be the face of the team going forward, the Jets are selecting Clemson’s Deshaun Watson. If they want to build the line, they either reach for or trade down to draft Wisconsin offensive tackle Ryan Ramczyk. They could go defense and take Ohio State corner Marshon Lattimore or Tennessee defensive end Derek Barnett. Best guess is that New York’s draft board resembles more like a dart board at this point.

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Posted in NFL

NFL Wild Card Weekend

Miami Dolphins vs Pittsburgh Steelers Preview

The Pittsburgh Steelers enter the playoffs on a seven-game winning streak. They tied for the most postseason victories (34) in league history. They are not focused on their string of successes though. Instead, the Steelers will be looking to atone for one of their worst performances of the season when they host the Miami Dolphins on Sunday in an AFC wild card weekend matchup (Enter contest).

Pittsburgh secured the AFC North title and the No. 3 seed in the conference with its strong finishing run, which partly was necessitated by a four-game losing streak that started with a 30-15 drubbing in Miami on October 15. The Steelers will be at home in the rematch and temperatures are expected to peak at a frosty 20 degrees on Sunday.

The Dolphins won nine of 10 prior to a loss to New England in the regular-season finale to nail down their first postseason berth since 2008, but they lost starting quarterback Ryan Tannehill to injury in Week 14 and will be forced to go with veteran Matt Moore versus Pittsburgh. Moore will be making his first career postseason start.

ABOUT THE DOLPHINS (10-6)

No matter who is under center, Miami’s game plan figures to follow the blueprint of the mid-October matchup. Running back Jay Ajayi tore through Pittsburgh’s defense for 204 yards and two touchdowns on 25 carries. It was the first of three 200-yard rushing performances this season by Ajayi. Quarterback Matt Moore, who had just 30 pass attempts in his previous four seasons with the Dolphins, put up solid numbers in his three starts (674 yards, eight TDs, three interceptions). He has a trio of talented wide receivers in Jarvis Landry, DeVante Parker and Kenny Stills. Miami’s defense ranked 30th against the run (140.4 yards per game). They did limit the Steelers rushers to 53 yards in the first matchup.

ABOUT THE STEELERS (11-5)

Le’Veon Bell ran a season-low 10 times against Miami, but he recorded at least 20 carries in each of his last six games before sitting out Week 17. He was named the AFC Offensive Player of the Month for December/January after rushing for 569 yards and four touchdowns while catching 18 passes in four games. Bell is one of two elite weapons for quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. The quarteback has two Super Bowl championships on his resume. He also has one of the league’s top wideouts in Antonio Brown. Brown is the conference leader with 12 touchdown receptions. He surpassed 100 catches for the fourth straight season and totaled 481 receptions during that time. It’s the highest reception total in any four-year span in NFL history. Roethlisberger is 11-6 in the playoffs, tied for the seventh-best all-time winning percentage. Pittsburgh’s defense led the league with 21 sacks from Weeks 11-16.

Posted in NFL

Dolphins (1-2) vs Bengals (1-2)

Adam Gase may be a first-time head coach, but the 38-year-old was quick to light a fire under his underachieving team. He benched former first-round pick Ja’Wuan James after he got burned on a rush that led to a strip sack during last week’s contest. Gase hopes his aggressive action will provide a jolt for the sputtering Miami Dolphins, who will look to prevent their third 1-3 start in five years on Thursday when they visit the Cincinnati Bengals (Enter Contest).

About the Dolphins

With veteran Arian Foster still nursing a groin injury, Gase will be using rookie Kenyan Drake as the starter in a four-tier running back carousel. Jay Ajayi, Damien Williams and Isaiah Pead. will round out the carousel. Ajayi had an 11-yard touchdown run in overtime last week. The Dolphins’ 25th-ranked ground attack is mustering just 83 yards per game. Quarterback Ryan Tannehill leads his team in that department with his 54 yards accumulated. Fortunately for the Dolphins, the air game fairs much better. Tannehill continues to click with trusted target Jarvis Landry (AFC-leading 314 yards receiving) and fellow wideout DeVante Parke. Miami will go with Dion Sims this week because fellow tight end Jordan Cameron nurses the fourth concussion in his six-year career.

The sputtering Dolphins’ defense allowed 169 yards rushing last week and an NFL second-worst 147.3 yards per game. In the last meeting with the Bengals, DE Cameron Wake recorded three sacks. The final sack resulted in a safety during overtime and led Miami to a 22-20 victory.

About the Bengals

While Miami was fortunate to walk away with its first win, Cincinnati has followed its impressive season-opening victory over the New York Jets with a 24-16 loss to Pittsburgh in Week 2 and a 29-17 setback to Denver on Sunday. Mercurial Bengals linebacker Vontaze Burfict is eager to stop the bleeding when he makes his season debut on Thursday after serving a three-game suspension for repeated violations of safety-related playing rules.

Running Back Jeremy Hill scored twice last week. He had 10 rushing touchdowns in his last 11 games. Andy Dalton (AFC-best 938 passing yards) has been limited to just 206 yards passing last week versus the Broncos. After an amazing first week, A.J. Green collected just 10 catches for 115 yards combined in his last two games. Cincinnati Pro Bowl TE Tyler Eifert (ankle) is not expected to make his season debut. CB Dre Kirkpatrick (hamstring) has been held out of both practices this week, leaving his status for Thursday’s game in question.

Posted in NFL