So this week our Bills get to travel south during the winter for a date with the Miami Dolphins at Hard Rock Stadium. This pits two teams who are barely holding onto playoff hopes so this is a huge game for both teams. Not to mention the long history of bad blood and fights, etc during the games. The two teams are trending in different directions as the Dolphins lost the last two games while the Bills won the last 2 games they played. For a series record the Dolphins lead 60-47-1 including the playoffs In Miami the Dolphins lead 34-20-1 but in Buffalo the Bills lead 27-25. However, the Dolphins will be visiting cold wintry WNY later this season for the second game. The past 4 meeting have been decided by 8 points of less.
While the Bills are mostly healthy Clay is questionable and Miller is out but, the Dolphins may be without two of their prime receivers. DeVante Parker and Danny Amendola are both questionable and if they're unable to go this will put a lot more pressure on the run and on Tannehill. The Bills rank 2nd in overall defense but still only 31st in total offense. The Dolphins rank 29th in total defense and 28th in total offense. So, you have a very good defense against a struggling offense. While our offense has not been fantastic it has looked better the past 2 games and thankfully our defense has stayed stellar.
I think the biggest key for the Bills is bottling up the Miami rush. Both Drake and Gore have over 400 yards each this year and average over 4.5 yards a carry. If the Bills are willing to put an 8th man in the box and force Tannehill to throw the Bills may be able to turn the game their way quickly. Tannehill is coming back after a shoulder injury and I suspect the Dolphins are going to take that into high consideration when developing the game plan. As I noted earlier if Parker and Amendola are both out this puts enormous pressure on the Dolphins to either force some throws or go to a mainly rush based offense. However, they are both great running backs. Somehow Gore doesn't age and still has gas in the tank and Drake can be quite a force when he's on.
However, while their defense is not the Bills that doesn't mean you can overlook them. The Dolphins do have Xavien Howard who just had 2 interceptions last week. Eight Dolphins have at least 1 interception this year including former Buffalo Bill linebacker Kiko Alonso who has 3. So Allen has to be careful when making those throws as his accuracy is suspect and while our receivers have been playing better they have to make sure they have a heightened offensive awareness today. I'd also like to see Shady break out today. He's had a mainly quiet year but I believe a lot of that falls on the quarterback issues. When you can't strech the field it makes rushing pretty difficult. The Dophins are 29th in the leauge in rushing defense and give up 139.8 yards per game. Not to mention what should of been 100 yards Allen had last week (the kneeling put him at 99) the Dolphins are ripe for the picking. I think the Bills pull this game out as I think there is more going in their favor overall. With the confidence they've been building the past few games I think they pull this one out today with a 27-17 score. Everyone enjoy the game today and beware the stampede.
(Jasen Vinlove\USA Today Sports)