It’s Dolphins week, Bills Mafia! It’s satisfying saying that because for years there weren’t any real rivalry games in the AFC East due to the New England Patriots’ dominance. Now there’s a whole new level of excitement surrounding the week that is Buffalo Bills-Miami Dolphins, and their Week 4 matchup has the makings of an instant classic divisional game. Quarterback Tua Tagovailoa has come out of the gates on fire and the Dolphins come into this game boasting the best offense the league has seen this season after embarrassing the entire AFC West on behalf of the Denver Broncos in a 70-20 victory. The Bills are also coming off a strong performance against the Washington Commanders and now look to restore balance in the AFC East with a victory over the Miami.
Here are my thoughts and things to look for during this game:
- Quarterback Josh Allen has been phenomenal for two weeks in a row now. In the last two games the Bills have protected the ball and involved several players on offense to methodically move the ball down the field and pick apart the Las Vegas Raiders and Commanders. I’m looking for more of the same from Allen this weekend. Miami’s defense has improved under defensive coordinator Vic Fangio, and they’ll be looking for the handful of plays where Allen typically takes chances. As great as Allen is when improvising, there are other moments where his improv turn into regret. We have to take the good with the bad when it comes to Allen, but I need the good to outweigh the bad this weekend. The Dolphins are too good on offense and they’re hungry on defense. Giving them extra drives will only hurt the Bills.
- No All-Pro Po? No problem. I get the concern for a lot of Bills fans. I also understand the criticism of bringing back safety Jordan Poyer because of his age. But I don’t think I’m ready to say he’s injury prone or anything like that. We forget what his season looked like last year. He drove to Kansas City to play because he wasn’t cleared to fly, and he played most of the season with a torn ligament in his elbow and a torn meniscus. But for this game, he’s unavailable. And this is why you sign safety Taylor Rapp in the offseason. This is why you keep safeties Cam Lewis and Damar Hamlin on the roster. The depth that Bills fans have boasted about will be tested against the most explosive offense in the league. The task of slowing down wide receivers Jalen Waddle and Tyreek Hill is daunting, especially without a player like Jordan Poyer.
- Which run game wins? Through three games, James Cook looks explosive and ready to step into the RB1 role. When comparing the run game of the Buffalo Bills, spearheaded by Cook, and the Miami Dolphins, led by Raheem Mostert, it becomes evident that both teams possess strong ground attacks. Mostert’s impressive four-touchdown performance against the Broncos undoubtedly showcased his ability to effectively find the end zone. Nevertheless, Cook’s consistent production cannot be overlooked, as he’s managed to accumulate at least 95 yards rushing in each of his previous two games. This ability to consistently gain significant yardage on the ground implies his reliability in moving the chains for the Bills. Ultimately, while both teams possess potent run games, did you know the Dolphins lead the league averaging 6.1 yards per carry? And, did you know the Bills surrender a league-worst 5.9 yards per rush? If Buffalo can’t stop Raheem Mostert and rookie De’Von Achane, nothing else will matter.
Score Prediction: 28-17, Buffalo over Miami.
I know, we just saw the Dolphins and the Bills combine to put up 107 points last week. So why am I taking the under on points here? Because the Bills don’t have the Broncos’ defense and the Dolphins don’t have the Commanders’ offense. Both of these teams were gifted perfect warm-up games for this week. But in reality, neither game did much to prepare either team for this week. Defense wins championships and McDermott will slow down Miami’s creativity and keep this game from being an offensive explosion.
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