The Miami Dolphins came into Orchard Park just a few weeks ago and nearly beat the Buffalo Bills. They held a 14-9 lead in the third quarter before eventually losing 31-21. Their leading rusher in that game, Mark Walton, is serving a four-game suspension as a result of three offseason arrests. Their leading receiver in that game, Preston Williams, is on injured reserve due to an ACL injury.
So, Miami will need to find some new targets this week, and they’ve been doing a nice job in that department over the last two weeks. Miami has won their last two games after starting the year with seven straight losses.
Which Dolphins will we be watching this week? Here’s the short list.
RB Kalen Ballage
The bruising second-year back is the de facto number-one running back this week, as the aforementioned suspension takes Walton out of the picture and a trade involving Kenyan Drake jettisoned their former starter. Ballage has not lived up to his potential in his young NFL career, averaging only 3.3 yards per attempt on 91 career carries. This year, he has 55 carries for 113 yards, a brutal 2.1 yards per carry average. Against a Buffalo team that has been gashed regularly on the ground over the last month, however, Ballage could thrive.
WR Allen Hurns
With Tre’Davious White sure to cover DeVante Parker for most of the day, that will leave Levi Wallace to man Hurns. Given Wallace’s struggles this year, that means Hurns should have a favorable match-up for most of the day. He’s a big, talented wideout whose biggest issue has been health. At 6’3” and 195 lbs, he’s much stronger than Wallace, whose lack of physicality has hurt him. Hurns could be a go-to for Ryan Fitzpatrick this week.
TE Mike Gesicki
The Penn State product had a big game against Buffalo earlier this year, hauling in a (to that point) career-high four passes for 41 yards. Against the New York Jets two weeks ago, Gesicki had the best game of his career, making six catches for 95 yards. Since Fitzpatrick was re-named the starting quarterback following a poor performance by Josh Rosen in Week 6, Gesicki has been targeted 26 times, making 18 catches for 225 yards. With great speed and reliable hands, Gesicki is a fantastic intermediate option, and if Buffalo sells out to stop the run, he could find plenty of room on play-action passes.
LB Vince Biegel
A 6’3” rush linebacker who weighs in at 246 lbs, Biegel made some plays against the Bills during the first meeting. He had five tackles, one sack, one quarterback hit, and one tackle for loss in the game, and he only played on 33 defensive snaps. That’s some solid efficiency right there, as it was arguably the best game of his 2019 season. Biegel is a high-motor guy with solid bend, and while he isn’t a dominant pass rusher, he has the ability to disrupt offenses if he isn’t respected. Josh Allen needs to know where Biegel is before each snap.
LB Jerome Baker
Another solid athlete, Baker is the guy that Buffalo wants to isolate in pass coverage. In 25 coverage attempts this season, Baker has allowed 17 completions for 125 yards. This is a tremendous improvement over his rookie season, where he was abused to the tune of a 74% completion rate allowed for 494 yards and a touchdown. While Baker has made some great strides in coverage this year, the Bills have the personnel to give him fits. Sending players like Cole Beasley, Dawson Knox, and Isaiah McKenzie into the middle of the field will give the Bills a distinct advantage if any of those players ends up covered by Baker. This is a place where Buffalo can win consistently on Sunday.