The Buffalo Bills playoffs (basically) started several weeks ago when they fell to 6-6 and needed to (basically) win out for a shot at the playoffs. They’ve done that, winning four straight to get themselves in a spot where a win over the Miami Dolphins not only puts the Bills in the playoffs but earns them a fourth straight AFC East crown. Buffalo beat Miami 48-20 at home back in Week 4. Now, they visit the Phins in Florida for all the marbles. Looking at this game through the lens of Las Vegas, Buffalo is a three-point favorite, with an over/under of 49. The implied score is a Bills win, 26-23. Everyone in Bills Mafia would sign up for a three-point win, one-point win, or another 28-point win. So, with that, here are my five keys to a Buffalo victory when the Bills visit the Dolphins on Sunday at 8:20 down in the Sunshine State.
Wanna See Me Do It Again?
The Bills smashed the Dolphins the first time they played, 48-20 in Orchard Park. Buffalo saw Josh Allen throw for four touchdowns and run for another. They put up over 400 yards of offense, led by the 120 receiving yards from Stefon Diggs. The passing attack was prolific, and the game never really felt in doubt. It would be a fun time on Twitter if the Bills did that again. Miami will be without its top two edge defenders, and there is a chance Xavien Howard will miss the game. Even if Jalen Ramsey shadows Diggs, this should be a game where the Bills offense has a chance to explode and the defense just needs to hold tight.
As of writing this, stud WR Jaylen Waddle has not practiced this week with an ankle. If he doesn’t go, all attention focuses on Tyreek Hill. Now, Hill is the centerpiece of the Miami passing attack regardless, but being able to dedicate either Rasul Douglas or a bracket to Hill and not have to worry about Waddle would be a nice problem to have for Sean McDermott and the Bills’ defense.
Plunder and Pillage Penalties
For the second straight week, the Bills are playing one of the most penalized defenses in football. Miami isn’t quite as bad as the Patriots, but they are near the bottom in a couple of major stats. The Dolphins rank 22nd in penalties per game at 5.6. They are 28th in penalty yards per game at 42.4. If they want to give you free yards, let them, but don’t get caught as the second guy in and give some away.
Bend, Don’t Break
Miami is first in the league in touchdowns per game at 3.7 and fourth in red zone scoring, getting a touchdown on nearly 65% of drives inside the opponent’s 20. Meanwhile, the Bills are sixth in opponents’ touchdowns at two per game, but they are only 18th in red zone defense, allowing a TD at a 54% clip. If the Bills can hold Miami to field goal attempts instead of tuddies, I like their chances.
Miami fans love to remind you that the weather is nice in South Florida during the winter months. Fans on both sides of the Bills/Dolphins rivalry took the arguments about snow vs. hurricanes a bit too far last year. Anyways, let them remind you how great their weather is and how ‘we’ turn this game into a vacation when you take over Hard Rock Stadium once again. I want to see videos and photos of seas of red, white, and blue on South Beach and flooding the stands. Show them the strength of the Bills Mafia!