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2019 Buffalo Bills opponent preview: Miami Dolphins

The Buffalo Bills and Miami Dolphins split their two AFC East games last year, with Buffalo falling 21-17 at Miami in Week 13, and Josh Allen accounting for five total touchdowns during a 42-17 squishing of the Fish at home in Week 17.

This year, the Bills’ first showdown with the Dolphins comes in Week 7 (after the bye) when Buffalo welcomes Miami to New Era Field for a 1 p.m. clash on Oct. 20. The game kicks off a critical stretch of three straight home games following the team’s Week 6 bye.

As our opponent previews for the Bills’ foes in 2019 continues, we went to The Phinsider, SB Nation’s Dolphins blog for more information on how the Fish look leading up to the start of the season.

Miami Dolphins

Notable free-agent additions: QB Ryan Fitzpatrick, TE Dwayne Allen, OL Jordan Mills, CB Eric Rowe, QB Josh Rosen (trade)

Over/under: 5 wins—Over. Maybe I am wearing aqua-colored glasses too often these days, but I do feel like the Dolphins have more talent than people realize. The secondary is going to be strong with Xavien Howard, Minkah Fitzpatrick, Reshad Jones, and Bobby McCain leading the way. The wide receivers are good—and fast!—with Kenny Stills, Albert Wilson, Jakeem Grant, DeVante Parker, and Brice Butler. Running back should be set with Kenyan Drake and Kalen Ballage. And the tight ends should get better with Mike Gesicki entering his second year and the addition of Dwayne Allen.

I am not trying to say this is a playoff-bound team or anything, but I also do not feel like this is the 1-15 team for Miami from 2007. I feel like six is the right number for the Dolphins, so I will go over—but not by a lot. I feel anywhere from three to six or seven is about the range where this team, in the first year of a complete rebuild, should land.

Rookie I’m most excited about: DT Christian Wilkins. I mean, how can he not be the right choice here? He should come in and start right away, providing the cornerstone around whom Miami will build the defensive front. He brings a skill set the Dolphins need at a huge position of need this year, plus he has the personality that will quickly make him a fan favorite. He is fun. He is talented. And, he is going to be around the team for a long time.

Biggest story line heading into camp: Who will be Miami’s starting quarterback? This could feature as one of the Dolphins’ best position battles, but it is the overarching story line of camp this year. After trading 2012 first-round pick Ryan Tannehill to the Tennessee Titans this offseason, Miami is starting over at quarterback. They signed Ryan Fitzpatrick to seemingly be the bridge quarterback to a 2020 or 2021 first-round pick, but then found 2018 top-ten pick Josh Rosen unexpectedly available. After making that trade, the Dolphins could have a quarterback position battle on their hands.

Will Fitzpatrick play like Fitzmagic and make Miami start him this year? Will the team’s need to know what they have in Rosen force him into the lineup? Can the second-year player learn the playbook well enough to force the veteran to the bench? A lot of questions will have to be answered this summer—and into the fall—and it will be the story line that continues to provide content all summer.

Under-the-radar story line heading into camp: Where is the pass rush? The Dolphins have what should be a great secondary with some solid, and still developing, linebackers. They do not have a pass rush. At least, on paper that is the case. The coaching staff seems to believe scheme will be enough to free up some players to get after opposing quarterbacks, but after moving on from a disappointing 2018 pass rush despite featuring Cameron Wake, Robert Quinn, and Andre Branch, Miami does not have much left in the cupboard.

Charles Harris has to be a star if Miami is going to get after the quarterback. The team is expected to use a 3-4 set more often this year, which could play into Harris’ strength, but no matter what, if Miami’s defense is going to succeed, they have to find a pass rush.

The Bills will also travel to South Beach to face the Dolphins on Nov. 17 in a Week 11 showdown. Thanks to the Phinsider for their thoughts on Miami.