The record still stands at 9-5-1 for the five weekly picks as we don’t count the Monday Night Football under projections. Using injury analysis the two year record is 60% against the spread.
It is not just about the team SIC score for health but the directional health of the team. For example, in Week 3, the Bills defensively were significantly injured leading to a Miami outright upset win. Now the loose yet another cornerback.
Although we don’t typically make single games part of the weekly picks, we want to here due to some clear advantages.
I get that the Dolphins are undefeated and just beat everyone’s Super Bowl early favorite Bills, but remember that Buffalo was weakened with injury issues. Also, Cincinnati just got it’s first victory against the Jets after an 0-2 start, but the Bengals have the clear health advantage to me.
Let’s start with the short rest week giving the advantage to the home team and in this case the travel is not a one hour “puddle jumper” as the NFL tries to often do for Thursdays. Miami is coming off a hard fought division rivalry game in the torrid heat that takes it out of you, even if you are acclimated to the humidity. The Dolphins had only one light practice this week and left early for the midwest due to Hurricane Ian. In my experience as a NFL head team physician, players fare better with a routine.
The Bengals have lost run stopper D.J. Reader for awhile with a presumed MCL sprain. However, the rest of the injury landscape favors Cincinnati. Tua Tagovailoa hurt his back on a 1st quarter sneak and was limited in the only practice with that and an ankle issue and may not be full go. WR Jaylen Waddle is dealing with a quad issue and may affect his ability to accelerate. The Fins also have issues at tackle with RT Austin Jackson out and LT Terron Armstead trying to play thru a toe issue. Defensively the Dolphins are impact at cornerback with #1 Xavien Howard dealing with a groin issue that is hard to play thru especially on a short week and #2 Byron Jones is still recovering from ankle surgery.
Injuries get accentuated on a short week and the analysis points strongly to the Bengals. Let’s start Week 4 out right with a win.