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Pregame Rumblings: Bills vs Dolphins for early control of AFC East

Buffalo and Miami offenses are here to party

Matt Warren is Associate Director of NFL coverage for SB Nation and previously covered the Bills for Buffalo Rumblings for more than a decade.

The Buffalo Bills and Miami Dolphins kick off Week 3 at 1:00 PM Eastern on Sunday and the two teams are unbeaten, fighting for the early lead in the AFC East. While I definitely want you to check out all of our coverage in this week’s StoryStream, here are the biggest things I’m looking at as we hit the weekend:

Three questions

1) Is this the week the defense cracks with all the injuries?

The injuries are mounting on Buffalo’s defense, and the solid unit is really going to be put to the test. Safety Micah Hyde hasn’t practiced all week and is getting a second opinion on his neck. Safety Jordan Poyer was out of practice on Thursday dealing with his own injury. Cornerback Dane Jackson is out indefinitely with his neck injury. Two rookies are going to be starting at boundary CB, and it’s not just the secondary dealing with injuries. Defensive tackle Jordan Phillips has been a revelation so far this season but hasn’t practiced since pulling his hamstring on Monday. Defensive tackle Ed Oliver was limited this week and missing Monday night’s game with an ankle injury. Defensive tackle Tim Settle also missed the game and has been limited. The Dolphins have an explosive offense with head coach Mike McDaniel calling the shots and the Bills will need a big day from the two healthy groups—the defensive ends and the linebackers—to have a chance against Miami’s group of wide receivers.

2) Can anyone stop the Bills’ offense?

Miami has some solid pieces to their defense, but wide receiver Gabe Davis says he’s 100% playing this Sunday, Wide receiver Stefon Diggs has been unguardable, and the rest of the offense has been clicking around quarterback Josh Allen. It looks like they avoided any major injuries. If the Dolphins want to put their best cornerback on Diggs and bracket him to try and take him away, the Bills have other weapons to make them pay. (See Gabe Davis vs Kansas City Chiefs in 2021 playoffs.) Kevin Nogle at The Phinsider thinks Miami may put a spy on Allen to prevent him from running, which would open up even more passing lanes. I don’t think this is the week for a slowdown for Buffalo’s explosive offense.

3. Are these the same old Dolphins?

The Bills have owned Miami since Josh Allen arrived, but there’s a new sheriff in town and he might just be the man to turn it around in South Beach. Mike McDaniel isn’t just fun to watch in press conferences, he’s an excellent offensive designer and play caller. He had the Dolphins clicking on all cylinders by the end of their game last week and they have confidence from handling that adversity. Buffalo has been a bit of shock and awe with Miami recently, where a few big plays early have completely demoralized the Dolphins. I’m not sure that’s going to happen this week.

Buffalo Rumblings SGP, Week 3

The Buffalo Bills’ offense has been white hot this year and I see no reason why that’s going to change in Week 3.

Buffalo’s defense has also been electric in 2022, but half their starters are now dealing with injuries. Last week, they were able to slow the Tennessee Titans using their backups at defensive tackle and cornerback, but the game was well in hand by the time Micah Hyde and Jordan Phillips left the game. Buffalo has a short week and it’s going to be hard for all those guys to be ready to go on Sunday at something close to 100%.

Buffalo’s pass rush could completely blow up Miami’s passing attack as it did a year ago, but the Bills have thrived with pressure up the middle in addition to coming off the edge. If Oliver’s ankle or Phillips’s hamstring or Settle’s calf don’t let them get off the ball, the Bills defense will be hurting.

Last week I lost the SGP because the Titans couldn’t even muster a garbage-time field goal, and we came up half a point short on the over. The Dolphins’ offense is heads and shoulders above Tennessee’s, and I’m expecting a shootout. Along those lines, my Same Game Parlay pick is about scoring points:

  • Bills over 27.5 points
  • Total points over 52.5 points

I have a sneaking suspicion the last team to have the ball will be in a position to win this game, so I’m not messing with the 5.5-point spread. At least not with the injury report Buffalo is throwing out there right now.

Head over to the DraftKings Sportsbook app now to place your Buffalo Rumblings parlay bet. It’s a special at the top of the screen.

Every week this season we’ll be cooking up our own parlay that our good friends at DraftKings will put right on their home page, for all of you, our loyal fans to follow.

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