1. Get the offense going early.
After scoring 82 points in their first two games under Dan Campbell, the Miami Dolphins offense fell flat in Foxborough. The running game especially was held in check with only yielding 13 yards on 15 attempts. Ryan Tannehill, after setting the NFL consecutive completion record and throwing four touchdowns the week before, failed to throw a touchdown while throwing two interceptions. The Dolphin offense must come out early and shake off their poor performance. The Buffalo Bills defense has not been the dominant force they were advertised during the offseason and even with Rex Ryan as their coach they have given up 30 points or more 8 out of their first 8 games, including 34 points to the Bengals and 34 to the the Jaguars. Bill Lazor needs to build back the confidence that this offense found in its two impressive wins against the Titans and Texans by taking some shots down early and getting his playmakers involved. Leodis McKelvin is suiting up for the first time this season for the Bills coming off a broken foot, and testing him early with Jarvis Landry may yield a big play to jump start this offense. Getting Lamar Miller in space on a screen or a flat route would help get him back involved in the offense after being bottled up by the Patriots front seven. But more important than rebuilding the offense’s confidence the Dolphins need to score early and often because this game has the potential to be a track meet. With the Dolphin defense playing poorly on Thursday night and losing Cameron Wake in the process, a vital pass rusher, and the Bills offense getting back potentially both Tyrod Taylor and Sammy Watkins I see the Bills scoring a lot of points at home. The Dolphins have proven not to be a good team when playing from behind, so it is incredibly important they make some big plays early and get touchdowns not field goals on their first couple possessions.
2. Contain Tyrod Taylor.
In his first career road start, Tyrod Taylor threw for 277 yard and 3 touchdowns in a blowout win against the Dolphins in Miami. Since then, Taylor has been sidelined the last two weeks with a knee injury, but when he has been on the field he has completed 70% of his passes and has thrown 9 touchdowns and has rushed for 2 more. Taylor has already torched this defense before and his combination of speed and athleticism matched with his arm talent and ability to make quick reads Taylor has been a threat this season. Sammy Watkins will also be returning to the lineup and is looking to have an impact after a disappointing start to the season. The Dolphins need to contain Taylor in the pocket and prevent him from picking up first downs with his legs. The Dolphins need to take away his first reads press tight press coverage and make Taylor sit in the pocket and work through his progressions. As long as the Dolphins keep contain the longer Tyrod has to hold the ball the better, because he wants to make the quick easy throw the defense gives him and put the ball in his playmakers (Watkins, Harvin, McCoy,) and let them get yards after the catch.
3. Don’t let LeSean McCoy have his breakout game of the season.
Coming into the season the question mark on the Bills offense was at quarterback definitely not at running back with the offseason blockbuster trade for LeSean McCoy, but with the stellar play of Tyrod Taylor and the injury plagued rocky start for McCoy he is out to make a statement this Sunday. LeSean McCoy coming off two back-to-back thousand yard seasons in Philadelphia has yet to rush for one hundred yards in a game as a Bill. He has been hampered by a hamstring injury since training camp has had a two game rest and is finally looking like his explosive self in practice. The Bills have had success running the ball at points despite McCoy’s average start, and will definitely look to establish the running game with McCoy early and often against the Dolphins. Kevin Coyle’s defense has been a huge disappointment as a whole on the season and big name acquisition Ndamukong Suh has failed to be the dominant force he was in Detroit. The Dolphin defense faired better against the Titans and Texans, who are bottom of the league offenses to begin with so a strong performance agains the Bills would be an important step in the right direction.