The 1-1 Buffalo Bills travel to south Florida this Sunday to take on the 1-1 Miami Dolphins. Both teams are dealing with injuries and coming off week two losses. Both teams understand that while it is still very early in the 2015 season, that this game is crucial in what is emerging as the NFL's strongest division. The winner could end up with a tie for the best record in the division, and the loser is guaranteed to be in last place. The New England Patriots and the NY Jets share 2-0 records. Oh, the AFC East.
The good news for the Dolphins is that they are coming off a painful early season loss that exposed some areas they can and must certainly improve moving forward. The bad news is that they are playing the Buffalo Bills, who just lost at home to the Patriots. Then they play the Jets in week four. Miami is going to throw everything they have at the Bills. This game has the makings of a true slugfest, but in the end the Buffalo Bills will defeat the Miami Dolphins in their own stadium. Here is how it will happen...
The Dolphins Can't Run The Ball.
The Dolphins couldn't run the ball well against Jay Gruden's team in Washington week one. In week two, they were completely shut down by the Jacksonville Jaguars, rushing only 16 times for 42 yards, including the three times Ryan Tannehill ran for his life to the tune of 17 yards. They are currently ranked 30th in the NFL for total yards rushing. The Jaguars leading tackler was former Buffalo Bill Paul Posluszny. Yes, you did just read that. Dolphins RB Lamar Miller has a sprained ankle. Now, the Buffalo Bills defense comes to town. The Dolphins aren't going to run the ball well on Sunday, forcing them to throw a lot more than they want to.
The Bills Run The Ball Well
The Bills are ranked 3rd in the NFL for overall rushing yards, behind only the San Francisco 49ers and Washington, who already played this week in their loss to the NY Giants. The Bills 1-2-3 lineup of LeSean McCoy, Karlos Williams, and Anthony "Boobie" Dixon is a combo move that would make the developers of Mortal Combat proud. Bills quarterback Tyrod Taylor has already rushed for 84 yards which is 4th in the NFL among quarterbacks behind only Cam Newton, Russell Wilson, and Colin Kaepernick.
The Buffalo Bills Are Coming For Ryan Tannehill
Ryan Tannehill has been hit 10 times already this season, including 5 sacks. He's been hurried 16 times. And that was against Washington and the Jaguars. The Dolphins may be without arguably their best player on the offensive line in left tackle Branden Albert who has a strained left hamstring. That means Jason Fox should get the start. Since the pope is in town I will be kind: Fox is a "mismatch" against Jerry Hughes. The Dolphins will be forced to make Tannehill unload the ball early on many occasions against the Bills.
Look, I still expect Tannehill to have some success. He is a gifted passer who is still getting better. It is worth noting that Tom Brady threw for 466 yards last week against the Bills, who will likely be without star safety Aaron Williams who was carted off the field last week. Miami has a very talented group of receivers who have underachieved the first two weeks. We all know the names Kenny Stills and Greg Jennings. Add in second year player Jarvis Landry, and under-used rookie DeVante Parker who are joined by Rishard Matthews and tight end Jordan Cameron, and on paper, this is one of the most talented groups of pass catchers in the NFL. The big question is whether that will be enough to beat the Buffalo Bills on Sunday. It won't.
The Dolphins Secondary Will Struggle To Contain The Bills Pass Catchers
The Dolphins defense hasn't lived up to expectations so far this season, but I expect them to show up ready to play this Sunday. That said, they haven't faced a roster like this yet. The Dolphins have a good, and in fact, a great player in cornerback Brent Grimes. I fully expect Grimes to be all over Sammy Watkins for the full 60 minutes. But after Grimes, there is a deep step down with their other corner Brice McCain. Bills tight end Charles Clay and running back LeSean McCoy will help open up the passing game for Robert Woods and Percy Harvin, who may go deep again this weekend. Who is going to cover all of these guys, Kelvin Sheppard? Also, the Dolphins only have one sack so far this season. Cameron Wake should be healthier this week, but will it be enough? Probably not.
Rex Ryan And Greg Roman Will Outcoach Joe Philbin And Bill Lazor
Rex Ryan is known for getting his players energized and emotionally riled up. Joe Philbin is the opposite. Miami fans and beat writers seem to place much of the Dolphins woes within the expanse located between the earpieces of Joe Philbin's headset. I expect the Bills to reign in the penalties this week against the Dolphins, which has been Rex Ryan's achilles heel through the first two games. After all, it can't get much worse. But I don't expect Philbin to suddenly change his personality and coaching style. Ryan may be brash, but he is a good coach. I expect him to prove that this Sunday.
BONUS! Richie Incognito vs. Ndamukong Suh
Oh, this should be fun: More often than not, it will be Bills guard Richie Incognito lined up against dolphins defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh. Incognito is possibly the most hated player in the city of Miami not named LeBron James or Tom Brady. Suh has had his own share of fines and personal foul penalties, and was accused last week of ignoring his coaches and their play calling/assignments against Jacksonville. Keep a bowl of popcorn ready. I believe we can count on some shenanigans.
Bills 29, Dolphins 19
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