Miami Dolphins @ Buffalo Bills – Football & Racing News – Star Sports

Without doubt the Game Of The Week and one that has the potential for points and drama and one way to approach and enjoy this game would be to back the points line to go over +52.5 (4-5) with two high-octane offences going head-to-head.

Make no mistake this is a monster of a game as these two divisional rivals don’t meet again until Week 18 when one or both could be resting players, and both will hope to be safely in the AFC playoff bracket. So, this sets the tone for the division, and maybe the race for the one-seed in the AFC, although the Chiefs may have something to say about that.

The Bills and Dolphins met in 3 games decided by a total of 8 points last year, this time around Miami come into Buffalo on a run of red hot scoring form after scoring 70 (yes SEVENTY, in true video printer style) on the hapless 0-3 Broncos. The Miami Dolphins recorded 726 total yards of offence in their 70-20 victory over Denver in Week 3 and became the fourth team in NFL history, including the postseason, to score at least 70 points in a game and the first in 57 years.

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They even had a chance to tie the official record of 73 points with a late field goal but passed. While there were two drives that started inside the Denver 8, there was no shortage of yards in this performance either. It was an incredible display of speed as Miami had 350 rushing yards and 376 net passing yards. That’s the sort of offence that Buffalo will be facing this week.

But hold on, the Bills aren’t too shabby on offence themselves having scored 75 points over the last two weeks after the ugly turnover filled loss to the Jets in the opening week of the season. Plus, the Bills have had Miami’s number, winning nine of the last 10 meetings with a narrow two-point loss last September the only defeat in that stretch.

Without a doubt the focus is going to be on Miami’s offence first and foremost and can they keep piling up the yardage and the points the way they have in the first three weeks of the season. Miami has the most explosive offense in the league, ranking first in total yards and points and this will be the first time that the Bills have faced an offence that isn’t ranked in the bottom five, either in passing, rushing or both this season, so far all they have had to deal with have been the pop gun offences of the Jets, Raiders, and Commanders. That trio rank inside the bottom ten when it comes to red zone conversions also whereas the Dolphins are in the top two.

Where Buffalo must surely control this Miami offence as they have in the past is in big and explosive gains where the Dolphins rank No1 unsurprisingly, leading the 49ers (another high-powered offence) by some considerable margin in this metric. As things stand this season even against the offences they have faced the Bills have given up some big plays and that will be one of the key areas of the game.

Since Bills head coach took over the defensive play-calling duties the Bills have conceded just 29 points in three games with seven interceptions and 12 sacks (2nd in the NFL). Speed is the key to the Miami offence with Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa having the fastest average time to throw in the league (2.2 seconds) which makes it difficult to pressure him. The Bills have the third-highest pass rush win rate and had nine sacks against the Commanders in Week 3.

They’ll face a challenge this week, though, the Dolphins offensive line ranks 12th in pass block win rate. The Dolphins have four players offensively already who have clocked 21mph with the ball in their hands with Tyreek Hill the biggest threat. Hill is second in the NFL in terms of passing yards (412) and he’s twice put up 150 yards receiving performances on a McDermott defence.

Last week the equally speedy Dolphins rushing attack led by Raheem Mostert and De’Von Achane had massive games last week against the Broncos. Achane went for 233 yards and 4 TD’s whilst Mostert matched his TD count and returned 142 yards on the ground. Achane played on 42% of snaps in Miami’s 70-20 win but had 22 touches to Mostert’s 20, it will be interesting to see who gets the RB1 role this week although this ranks a tougher test than the against the paper-thin Broncos run D last week. The 11-2 on Achane to be the leading rusher in this game is quite an appealing proposition bearing in mind his stellar performance last week.

Despite losing out to the Bills twice last year in Buffalo and neither occasion did Miami have problems putting points on the board. Even in snowy Buffalo in Week 15, the team from Miami ran the ball well and scored 29 points on this defence. In the playoff rematch, despite having a 3rd-string rookie at quarterback (Skylar Thompson), the Dolphins scored 31 points and nearly pulled off a huge upset. With the Bills already missing edge rusher Von Miller the news this week that they will also be without starting safety Jordan Poyer is also a blow.

The Dolphins will have to play some defence also and let’s not forget that they have already conceded 34 points to the Chargers in Week 1 and the Bills had a total of 1,366 yards of offence and scored 85 points against the Dolphins in three outings last year. Bills QB Josh Allen has plenty of offensive talent surrounding him also not that he can’t make things happen of his own accord. Allen has 30 touchdown passes in 11 games against Miami, always throwing multiple touchdowns in every game. He was over 300 yards passing in every game last season against Miami and in WR’s Stefon Diggs and Gabe Davis along with TE’s Dawson Knox ad Dalton Kincaid he has a rounded receiving corps.

On the ground we may see a little more of Allen as a runner as the Bills tend to use him more in this scenario against the top teams. So far this year Allen hasn’t run much just four times per game for an average of 29.7 yards, but he’s still beaten his rushing yards line twice. Allen’s rushing yards line is set at +36.5 (10-11) here and that’s certainly an angle worth considering. Last year against Miami, Allen rushed eight times for 47 yards and 10 times for 47 yards in two of the games. The majority of the ground game should go in the direction of James Cook who has 267 yards on 44 attempts this year but he has yet to score a TD and the red zone/goal line work and therefore scoring opportunities look to be heading in the direction of Latavius Murray. On the season, Murray is tied for third in the league with four carries inside the five-yard line, where he has scored two twice. Miami have allowed seven offensive TDs this year and five of them have come on the one-or two-yard line. Murray looks a sporting play to score the first TD at 16-1 although the 5-2 on Murray to score at anytime whilst more conservative looks the more likely outcome.

This has all the ingredients for a shoot-out and it’s important for Buffalo to make a statement, especially because many people think their championship window is closing or may have already closed. This is going to be a high-scoring game that comes down to those marginal gains and situational football (red zone efficiency, 3rd downs, turnovers) that are so important when two top teams go head-to-head.

ANDY RICHMOND

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Author: Eugene Morris