Stop me if you’ve heard this one before, but the Buffalo Bills need to win to lock up a playoff spot on Sunday. Yes, they can get in without a win, but as the late great Al Davis taught us, “Just win, baby!” and the playoff hunt is over. The crazier fact about this game in Miami is that a Bills win also makes them the AFC East champs for the fourth straight year, not a bad feat considering this team was 6-6 before the current four-game winning streak. The bookmakers in Las Vegas have had the Bills pegged as massive favorites in their last two games, but as you’re aware, they squeaked out victories over the Las Angeles Chargers and New England Patriots. As of writing this, the Bills are favored by three over Miami. Looking back to their last matchup, Week 4 in Buffalo, a 28-point drubbing of the Fins and this spread makes sense despite Miami being the home team. With the oddsmakers numbers behind us, let’s get into my five storylines to watch as the Bills visit AFC East rival Miami on Sunday at 8:20.
Win or Go Home (Maybe)
The Bills were thought to be eliminated from AFC East contention when they fell to 6-6 and the Dolphins were riding high. Buffalo winning four in a row and Miami dropping two of four has made Sunday’s game a winner-take-all divisional showdown. The Bills can also sneak into the playoffs if the Jacksonville Jaguars and Pittsburgh Steelers lose, or the Houston Texans and Indianapolis Colts tie, but again, JUST WIN!
I am Your Father
I don’t know if Josh Allen is paying Stephen Ross child support or not, but in the words of Maury: “He is the father!” The Bills’ signal-caller is 10-2 in his career against Miami. In his 12 games against the Dolphins, Allen is averaging over three touchdowns and close to 300 yards per game. He also has seven games with three or more passing touchdowns, including last year’s playoffs.
As the Bills are starting to get healthy (minus the guys on IR still), things are taking a turn for the worst in Miami. Bradley Chubb tore his ACL in last week’s game while fellow DE Jaelan Phillips was already sidelined with an Achilles. Tua Tagovailoa suffered a shoulder injury on Sunday, and the way the line moved quickly after that news perked up my ears to the idea that maybe it is worse than we know. There’s also a list of guys who appear up in the air: Xavien Howard, Raheem Mostert, Jaylen Waddle, and Robert Hunt, to name a few.
Bills’ OL vs Miami DL
As you just read above, the Dolphins’ defensive line has taken some major hits in the last few weeks. This should give the Bills’ offensive line a chance to lock up a really good 2023 season. To date, Buffalo is the sixth-best pass-blocking team with a win rate of 64%. They are also in the top ten in run block win rate at 72%, both per ESPN. As you can read in the article below, the Bills also have one of the most consistently available units we’ve ever seen.
Pad the Stats
The Bills’ main focus is clearly on winning the game, but they have a few notable season-long milestones they can achieve as well. Allen needs 53 passing yards to hit 4,000, three touchdowns to reach 30 passing TDs, and 43 rushing yards to hit 500. Gabe Davis is 90 receiving yards from tying a career-high. Jordan Poyer needs five tackles to reach 100 while Taron Johnson needs 11. Stefon Diggs is four yards away from another 1,100-yard season and he needs two touchdowns to hit ten.