NFL Preview - Buffalo Bills - Miami Dolphins
This week we’ll be taking a look at one of the early games where the Buffalo Bills (5-9-0) host the Miami Dolphins. (8-6-0) Last time these two teams faced each other was on Week 7 where the Bills won the game 23-21. This will no doubt be just as tight as the last game and the winner will most likely be decided late in the 4th quarter.
The Bills are already out of the playoff race, even if they would win their remaining two games they would still not be able to get a wildcard spot in the AFC. The Dolphins on the other hand are still chasing that wildcard spot, being tied with the Baltimore Ravens at 8-6-0. The Ravens have the tie-breaker in this match-up so the Dolphins definitely need a win this week.
This game will be very interesting to watch seeing as these two team, while very similar in performance, have very different ways of getting those numbers. Offensively both teams have about the same overall yards per game as well as points per game. The difference is that the Dolphins get their yards on the air while the Bills love to run the ball.
The Dolphins have relied on their quarterback Ryan Tannehill (3627 yards, 23 touchdowns) to keep their offence going. His favourite targets have been Brian Hartline (72 receptions for 925 yards and 4 touchdowns), Mike Wallace (64 receptions for 867 yards and 4 touchdowns) as well as their tight end, Charles Clay. (61 receptions for 682 yards and 6 touchdowns.
A strong passing game opens up the defence for runs and while the Dolphins’ two running backs, Lamar Miller (628 yards and 2 touchdowns) and Daniel Thomas, (400 yards and 4 touchdowns) don’t have impressive yards they still have averaged about 4 yards per carry which is certainly enough to keep the offence going.
Defensively the Dolphins are ranked 17th in the NFL in total defence (yards) and 9th in points allowed per game. They are ranked 16th in stopping the pass and 22nd in stopping the run, something which could cause problems against the Bills.
As I mentioned earlier the Bills prefer to move the ball on the ground. They have had quarterback problems all year long and there is no sign of a solution. Both EJ Manuel and Thad Lewis have been playing during the season, with EJ Manuel being the starting QB. However, this week against the Dolphins he is out with a knee injury so Thad Lewis is expected to start. So far Lewis has managed to throw the ball 103 times for a total of 62 completions, 652 yards and 3 touchdowns.
While they have certainly struggled to move the ball through the air their ground game has been impressive. Both CJ Spiller (745 yards and 2 touchdowns) and Fred Jackson (725 yards and 7 touchdowns) should be seen running the ball against Miami this week. Both of these running backs are also used a lot in the passing game. Jackson has 42 receptions and Spiller has 25.
Defensively the Bills are 15th in the NFL (yards) and 18th in points allowed per game. They are 6th in pass defence and 26th in rush defence. Their impressive pass defence is their key weapon against the Dolphins and any mistakes in that area will surely be costly.
The Bills need their defence to be excellent if they hope to be able to challenge the Dolphins. Their QB situation is simply too weak for them to be able to achieve much through the air so if they fall behind it will be a very tricky situation for them. They need to play a good defensive game which will allow them to run the ball throughout the game.
As long as the Dolphins manage to score fast they should be able to control the game and win it in the end. A couple of touchdowns are necessary during the first half in order to force the Bills to abandon a part of their effective rushing game. If the Dolphins fail to do this they could be in trouble due to the Bills being able to control the clock with their running game.
I have faith in Ryan Tannehill and the rest of the Dolphins offence. They also have a good defensive pass rush which will cause problems for the already weak Bills passing game, limiting their chance of creating points and possibly leading to a couple of turnovers.
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Alex Lucken 2013-2014 Season - Hit Rate 61.1%- Staked 1800.0 Returned 2072.10 ROI 15.1%