Tonight's TNF football game is a tale of potential fives. The Bengals have won four straight games and are running away with the AFC North as a result. The Dolphins, meanwhile, have lost four in a row after starting a perfect 0-3 and are in jeopardy of letting what had once looked like an extremely promising season tailspin out of control with a fifth loss and push a playoffs appearance further away.
Cincinnati raised a lot of eyebrows last night by not only winning their fourth game in a row, but doing so in a convincing manner by blowing out the Jets 49-9. It was a breakout performance for a Bengals offense full of talent that had underachieved through the beginning part of the season. Now they are starting to fire on all cylinders and other teams in the league are taking notice.
In the win against the Jets, Andy Dalton threw for five touchdown passes, adding to a three-game touchdown pass total off 11. His offense has scored 103 points over those three wins and Dalton has thrown for at least 325 yards in each game. As importantly, Dalton has only throw two interceptions against the 11 touchdown passes.
Where there is a hot quarterback there are hot receivers, and the guy to emerge on the Bengals is Marvin Jones. While A.J. Green got most of the press to start the season, Jones has quietly scored six of the past seven touchdowns from Dalton and had four against the Jets, the first receiver to catch that many since Randy Moss did it back in 2007. When we watch Thursday Night Football online live free streaming on NFL Network Bengals vs Dolphins tonight, Jones will be in the spotlight and expected to catch another couple touchdown passes.
With the offense clicking, Cincinnati's defense continues to perform as well as advertised. They rank fifth in the NFL in allowing 18 points per game. Their yards allowed is a little higher at 322.5 per game, but that's still good enough for eighth in the league. As a group the Bengals defense scored a pair of touchdowns against the Jets and put Geno Smith on his back with sacks four times.
Miami was in good shape against the favored Patriots last weekend with a 17-3 lead at the half. In the second half they completely collapsed and Tom Brady led his team to 24 straight points and a 27-17 win, the fourth loss in a row for the Dolphins. In each of the past three losses they have led during the game and given up most of the points to their opponent in the second half.
The Dolphins suffered a blow in the Patriots loss when receiver Brandon Gibson was lost for the year with a knee injury. He had caught three of Ryan Tannehill's 11 touchdown passes on the year. Tannehill as five touchdowns over the past three games, but he has thrown even interceptions in his past four games, all losses.
One key matchup to watch tonight on Thursday Night Football live is the running duo of Daniel Thomas and Lamar Miller for Miami going up against Cincinnati's stingy run defense that allows 97.2 yards per game on the ground. Something will have to give in either direction as the Miami runners tallied 156 ground yards against the Patriots last week.
Tonight's NFL Thursday Night Football game is televised exclusively on NFL Network with the usual 8:25pm EST / 5:25pm PST start time from Sun Life Stadium in Miami, Florida. NFL Network provides a high definition (HD) presentation of TNF so be certain to check your local listings for what channel to watch Thursday Night Football live on.
NFL Network subscribers can watch NFL Thursday Night Football online free live streaming here on a variety of mobile devices including phones, iPads, tablets and computers. Unfortunately not all providers offer this online stream option for NFL Network so you will need to match your provider against the provided list. NFL.com offers a simulcast that regularly checks in on the game with stats, highlights and analysis, as well as the live score, but there is no continuous uninterrupted live stream of the Thursday Night Football game there.
Tonight's Thursday Night Football game on NFL Network is also available to watch on DirecTV NFL Sunday Ticket, including live online streaming provided with the additional Max upgrade, if you're a subscriber to that service or found a promotion before the NFL regular season schedule got underway. I love the way the Bengals are playing right now and think they'll play the Dolphins tight and ultimately score a seven-point road victory in primetime.