The Cincinnati Bengals are entering week 16 as they prepare to take on the Miami Dolphins. With every game of the season, there will be things to watch and focus on. Here are five things to watch for in week 16.
1. Can The Bengals Lock up the First Pick?
The Bengals have had a rough season, but it could give them a chance to rebuild. They have just one win on the season, which is the worst in the league. If they lose one more game, the Bengals will have locked up the first pick in the 2020 NFL Draft.
Miami is doing their own version of a rebuild, as they have three first-round picks. Even though they have traded away a lot of their quality players, Miami has three wins this season. The Giants also have three wins, so the Bengals just need to lose one more game to lock up the first overall pick. Miami has had more success this season and opens up as one point favorites.
2. Joe Mixon’s Hot Streak
Over the last two games, Joe Mixon has been on fire. Mixon has 286 rushing yards against the Browns and Patriots. He has had a great second-half of the season, which is surprising because the first half of the season was not good for the third year running back. Mixon also hasn’t had the best offensive line in front of him.
There should be plenty of rushing room for Mixon, as the Dolphins have the second-worst rush defense in the league, with only the Bengals giving up more rushing yards per game. Mixon should be able to eclipse the 1,000 rushing yard mark on the season in this game, which was a pipe dream earlier this year.
3. Wide Receivers
Following the Patriots game, Zac Taylor and Joe Mixon didn’t have great things to say about the wide receivers. They thought they were bullied and didn’t win many 50-50 balls. Now the wide receivers will have to respond this week.
The most receptions anyone had in the game against the Patriots was three. If that stays the same for the game against the Dolphins, it likely isn’t a result of the Bengals spreading the ball around. It is rather likely ineffective offense, whether it is on the quarterback or the wide receivers.
4. Carlos Dunlap
Through the first 10 weeks of the season, Carlos Dunlap had just one sack. It looked like it was going to be a rough season for the veteran defensive end, but he has since turned it around. Since week 10 he has 5.5 sacks.
Dunlap has a few more years left on his deal, so it is good for the Bengals that he is still producing. He can still finish the year out strong and head into next season with some momentum. With just a few more sacks this seasons, he will have one of his best seasons yet.
5. Zac Taylor’s Second-Half Adjustments
Zac Taylor has had a rough first season with the Bengals. He still just has one win on the season. The Bengals have had several close games, but have failed to come out on top. While this team isn’t good enough to compete for a playoff spot, the Bengals could’ve made better adjustments to win a few more games this season.
Last week against the Patriots, the Bengals kept the game close for the first half, but blew it in the second half with four second-half interceptions. That may or may not be on the adjustments that Taylor made, but either way, the Bengals need to start playing better in the second half.