The Buffalo Bills enter their Week 7 contest against the Miami Dolphins in prime position in the AFC. The team is 4-1, with its only loss a 16-10 nail-biter against the undefeated New England Patriots. Buffalo is entering a stretch of the schedule where they play three straight home games. Their next six games (against Miami, the Philadelphia Eagles, Washington, the Cleveland Browns, Miami again, and the Denver Broncos) are all winnable.
Miami, on the other hand, comes in with a league-worst point differential of minus-138. They sit at 0-5 and have fans dreaming of next year’s quarterback class, not next week’s game. While fans may look past the matchup, the Bills themselves can’t afford to (and aren’t going to, as head coach Sean McDermott has made abundantly clear this week).
Which Bills are our players to watch this week? Find out below.
QB Josh Allen
Buffalo’s second-year signal caller needs a clean sheet this week. He has appeared in 17 games thus far in his career. He has either thrown an interception or fumbled (and sometimes both) in 14 of those games. While Allen has clearly made strides this year, his main bugaboo continues to be ball security. Against a Miami team that has allowed 1,351 yards and 14 touchdowns through the air this year with only one interception, Allen needs to dominate. If all goes well, he won’t necessarily have many attempts, but he needs to protect the ball and take advantage of Miami’s suspect defense this week.
RB Devin Singletary
Buffalo’s rookie rusher should be full-go this weekend, and his presence should mean less work for veteran Frank Gore. Singletary looked electric prior to injuring his hamstring against the New York Giants in Week 2. In only two games, he handled ten carries and turned them into 127 rushing yards and one touchdown. Without him, Buffalo’s rushing attack has been solid, but it’s lacked the guy who can break the big run. Miami has allowed 848 rushing yards and seven touchdowns on 181 carries, an average of 4.7 yards per attempt. Singletary should be in line for a big day this weekend.
DE Jerry Hughes
Buffalo’s top edge rusher hasn’t had a huge impact on the stats sheet, but his presence combined with the team’s effectiveness in the stunt game have made for a better pass rush in Buffalo this year. Against left tackle Jesse Davis, who is better suited to play the right side, Hughes should thrive. His quickness, burst, and strength should give Davis fits. Even if it isn’t Hughes taking down quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick, the Dolphins will have to account for him all game. If they don’t, Hughes could wreak havoc.
LB Lorenzo Alexander
Alexander is having a tremendously effective season at age 36, as his pass-rush efficiency is third on the Bills this season. He has 19 tackles, two of which went for a loss, to go with two sacks, four quarterback hits, four pass breakups, and one forced fumble. Given the variety of places Alexander lines up, the Dolphins’ offensive line will be under constant stress in trying to identify where he is and what he’s doing on a given play. The veteran has been fantastic this year, and I expect that he’ll have another strong day on Sunday.
CB Levi Wallace
I called my shot last game, predicting that defensive tackle Ed Oliver would notch his first career sack. I was wrong—it was Jordan Phillips feasting on a weak Tennessee Titans offensive line instead—but Oliver still had a strong day, totaling six tackles on the afternoon. This week, I feel good about Wallace coming up with his first career interception. Fitzpatrick is known to turn the ball over, and Wallace has been sensational this year. He has four pass breakups on the season while allowing 22 completions on 39 targets. Wallace should have plenty of opportunities to make a game-changing play, and I think that this is the week where he does it.