The Buffalo Bills host the Miami Dolphins this week in the second of their two games. In Week 2, Buffalo earned their first win while simultaneously dealing Miami their first loss, winning 35-0 in a romp. The Bills are 4-2 now and in first place in the AFC East, while Miami has continued free falling, settling in at 1-6.
The Bills would like to make sure that Miami keeps on their free fall out into nothing and, in order to do that, they won’t even have to write any names in the sky. All they’ll have to do is contain Miami’s key players like they did in Week 2.
Who are those key players? Glad you asked. Here is our list of players to watch this week against Miami.
QB Tua Tagovailoa
It was a short start for Miami’s quarterback of the present when these two teams met last, as Buffalo defensive end A.J. Epenesa walloped him on fourth down, breaking Tagovailoa’s ribs with a vicious, clean hit. Since returning from that injury, Tagovailoa has shown flashes, completing 75 percent of his passes for over 600 yards with six touchdowns in two starts. However, he’s thrown three interceptions in that time, and some of those have just been on horrendous throws. He clearly has the ability and the potential, and we need to remember that he hasn’t even made 16 starts yet in his young career. Tagovailoa was sacked on two of his six drop-backs in Week 2, so look for the Bills to keep the pressure on him again this week.
RB Myles Gaskin
A negative game script kept the Dolphins off the running game in Week 2, but if they can use Gaskin both as a runner and a receiver, they can do the only thing that will keep Buffalo’s offense from scoring, which is to control the football and keep them off the field. Gaskin is coming off his best game of the 2021 season, having rushed 15 times for 67 yards against the Atlanta Falcons last week, but it’s more his ability as a receiver that will need to be shut down this week. Matt Milano and Tremaine Edmunds will have to be sound in their responsibilities, especially given the next player on our list.
TE Mike Gesicki
Miami’s best pass catcher has been the tough tight end, and even though Buffalo handled him earlier this year by holding him to just three catches for 41 yards, he has had another stellar season. Gesicki has 37 grabs for 427 yards and two touchdowns. If some of Miami’s injured receivers, namely DeVante Parker, are able to suit up, then the Bills won’t be able to focus as many resources on the inside. However, if Tre’Davious White can handle Parker, leaving Levi Wallace to deal with a less physical player like Jaylen Waddle, then Buffalo should be able to bracket Gesicki on the inside, thereby limiting his effectiveness.
CB Xavien Howard
Howard is one of the game’s top defensive backs, and quarterback Josh Allen hasn’t been afraid to attack him. That hasn’t always worked in Allen’s favor, however, as Howard has an interception in Buffalo’s last two games against Miami. He’s also come up with four pass breakups in addition to the two interceptions in those games, so it’s safe to say that Howard isn’t afraid of the budding superstar QB Allen, either. He’s been limited in practice with a shoulder injury this week, though he did play against the Falcons. He’ll be out there on Sunday, I assume, so Allen will need to place the ball well in order to avoid a third straight game where Howards picks a pass.
S Jevon Holland
Neither of Miami’s safeties provides much help over the top, and Allen has feasted on Miami’s pass defense over his career as a result. Holland has been especially bad in coverage this year. Pro Football Reference tags Holland with ten completions allowed in 13 targets where he was the closest defender in coverage. He’s allowed 187 yards and three touchdowns on those plays for a quarterback rating against of 157.9. Remember, 158.3 is a perfect rating. Holland also only has two pass breakups on the year. If a Bills’ receiver beats his man and Holland is the help over the top, Allen is going for it. The numbers suggest that Buffalo will win that matchup more often than not.