You may have heard that the Buffalo Bills and Miami Dolphins are set to clash on Sunday in an NFL Week 4 battle that could establish new fault lines in both the AFC East, and along continental boundaries.
There’s no lack of firepower between the Bills and Dolphins, especially so with Miami which scored 70 points on offense against the Denver Broncos in Week 3. That sort of production is historic, having been met or exceeded only three times since 1940. Yes, the Dolphins are fiendishly good on offense. That’s nothing new to Bills Mafia. Each time Buffalo and Miami face off, many Bills fans recycle the debate about how Buffalo can and will slow down wide receivers Tyreek Hill and Jalen Waddle. Well, they’ve had some success in the past... against Hill.
In 2022, rookie first-round cornerback Kaiir Elam played a masterful game of chess against Hill, tasked with the key role in limiting his production in two meetings — 2 catches for 33 yards in Week 3; 9 catches for 69 yards and a touchdown Week 16.
Last season Waddle had his way with Buffalo’s defense. In two meetings, he tallied seven receptions for 216 yards and a touchdown (4/102 Week 3; 3/114 1 TD Week 16).
So while Hill gets the lion’s share of national and on-field attention, it’s Waddle who’s foiled the Bills plans more often of late. Interestingly, despite Buffalo’s injury situation last season, the defensive backfield limited the real damage by Miami’s dynamic receiving duo to just a pair of touchdowns.
But as most people are aware, the Dolphins don’t simply live and die by the passing game. Their running back room is just as devastating to defenses. Running backs Raheem Mostert and De’Von Achane possess true elite speed — with track backgrounds to each of their names. Mostert may be 31 according to the Gregorian calendar, but he’s seen far less use and abuse over his career than many other running backs can claim.
Last season’s games were closely contested affairs, the sort of must-see television that the NFL drools over for its fans and beyond. Both games weren’t decided until the very end. In total, five points separated the Bills and Dolphins in their two regular-season matchup last year, with Miami winning 21-19 in South Beach, and Buffalo victorious 32-29 in Orchard Park, NY. The teams would meet again once more in the playoffs, but the Dolphins were without quarterback Tua Tagovailoa. But once again, only three points separated the winner from the loser — 34-31 in favor of the Bills.
Perhaps key to this weekend final score will be how the Bills’ defense stacks up to the Dolphins’ rushing attack — maintaining gap integrity and executing sound tackles at every opportunity possible. That’s all while continuing to limit Tyreek Hill and hopefully finding an answer to the lightning bolt that is Jalen Waddle, should he clear concussion protocols in time to suit up. Clearly, the Dolphins didn’t miss a beat due to Waddle’s absence in Week 3. It’s scary to think what the final score might have been if Waddle were healthy.
Entering the week, safeties Micah Hyde and Jordan Poyer were listed as dealing with injuries — Hyde with a hamstring, Poyer with an undisclosed knee issue. Their absences last season were a major hurdle to overcome on defense, and if either were to miss this weekend’s game — it would not prove fruitful to the Bills. To this point, Buffalo has maintained a fairly clean injury report, so the hope is these are issues to manage through the week of prep, to ensure their availability on Sunday.
While it may be foolish to think the Bills can completely stifle the Dolphins’ offense, they do have a chance to show just how important elite defensive play is in determining the outcome of games in today’s NFL. There’ll be no Von Miller this week, and the Bills aren’t facing a backup quarterback like Skylar Thompson. Still, it’s paramount that Buffalo finds a way to make several huge plays on defense this Sunday.
It will also be important for Buffalo’s offense to control the line of scrimmage while eating up plenty of clock. In Week 2 and 3, quarterback Josh Allen led the offense through a playground of methodical production — featuring ball-controlling runs and underneath passes to keep the chains and the clock moving. A fair amount of that could go a long way in exiting Week 4 victorious.
Remember, eight points is all that separated these two teams after three games last season/postseason. There might be plenty of fireworks at Highmark Stadium on Sunday, but nothing will come easy for either team.
All our coverage for the Buffalo Bills’ Week 4 matchup against the Miami Dolphins is linked below. Be sure to keep it locked here to stay connected with all things Bills at Buffalo Rumblings!