You can argue that the Buffalo Bills have the two most impressive wins this season, topping the defending Super Bowl champs in Week 1 and then dominating the reigning AFC No. 1 seed in Week 2. Now, they get the division rival Miami Dolphins down in the Sunshine State for the early lead in not just the AFC East, but in the AFC as a whole. Here are five storylines to keep an eye on once things kick off in Florida.
This one is pretty simple. The Bills and Dolphins are two of the three remaining undefeated teams in the AFC and the only teams without a blemish in the AFC East. The winner of this game will have a leg up in the division and will, at worst, be tied with Kansas City at 3-0 in the conference.
We’re going to avoid being too nerdy, for now, and look at some surface numbers between these teams so far. Both squads are in the top four in the NFL in points scored, Buffalo’s 72 being the most and Miami’s 62 sitting at fourth. They’re also in the top six in point differential, the Bills again at the top with a plus 55, and the Dolphins coming in at sixth with a plus 17.
As stated in the intro, one can argue that the Bills have the two biggest wins of the year, while Miami’s comeback on the Ravens, where they outscored them 28-3 in the 4th, in what may be the best script reversal we will see this season. All that said, no trophies will be handed out on Sunday, but don’t tell BillsMafia or Phins Fans, because bragging rights will definitely be served in heaping, frozen helpings come Sunday evening.
WHO’S YOUR DADDY
Calling the Bills vs. Dolphins series the last seven games a “rivalry” is like saying it was a good battle between that Prius stuck on the tracks and the oncoming locomotive.
In those last seven games, the Bills and Josh Allen are 7-0 with Allen owning the boxscores. The Wyoming product has 19 touchdowns to just three interceptions, averaging 250 passing yards per game while completing 65% of his passes. Allen’s quarterback rating has also gone over 100 in six of those seven games.
The former No. 7 overall pick has also run the ball like a madman versus Miami. In the eight contests vs. the Dolphins, Allen averaged 53.8 yards on the ground with an average of nine yards per carry. On top of that, he has four rushing touchdowns in the series. In conclusion, play Josh Allen if you have him in fantasy. DUH! Lastly, as a team, the stats may be even worse. Of the seven straight wins six are by double-digits, and five are by over 15.
You don’t have to try hard to find where Josh Allen and Tua Tagovailoa sit in the NFL’s statistical categories after week two. Yes, it’s a small sample size, but the quarterbacks are pacing much of the competition. Heading into week three, Tua leads the league in passing yards at 739, and Allen holds down fourth at 614, despite sitting an entire quarter. The duo is part of a four-way tie for first in touchdowns at seven.
Josh Allen’s 123.7 rating ranks second even though he skipped a quarter, and Tua comes in fourth at 116.5. Their advanced stats are also among the best. According to our friends over at Pro Football Focus (PFF), Allen has the second-best passing grade with an 87.7, and Tua is seventh at 71.8 this, again, is with Josh missing 15 minutes of action. Ok, I’ll stop with the “Josh Allen and his Bills were up by so many points he didn’t play the 4th quarter nonsense.” Anyways, both guys rank in the top 10 of PFF’s adjusted completion percentage, Allen at #1 (among QBs with more than five attempts) at 85.7%, Tua is 10th at 77.8%. I could keep rambling on, but I think you get the point.
Through two games, Josh Allen and Tua Tagovailoa are playing the signal caller position at a high level. The Bills’ defense is playing much better than the Dolphins, so we will see if that plays a factor in where these stats sit come Monday.
There is no disputing that this game features the best quartet of wide receivers for the Week 3 slate. Miami’s duo of Tyreek Hill (a known Bills killer) and Jaylen Waddle have been dominant in 2022. Through Week 2 they were first and third in yards, respectively, and combined for 524 yards. The combo also has five touchdowns and 34 receptions. In short, they have been the best statistical duo in the early portion of the 2022 season.
On the visiting sideline, the Bills have Stefon Diggs, who has 270 receiving yards, sitting just behind Hill for tops in the league. Diggs’ four touchdowns on the year are the most of any WR, and his 20 receptions rank only behind Cooper Kupp. The fourth player in this group is Bills’ Gabe Davis, who sat out last week versus the Titans. In the Bills’ Week 1 win over the Rams, Davis hauled in four of his five targets for 88 yards and a touchdown. Again, it’s not arguable that this is the best viewing in Week 3 if you like WR play.
OLD DOG VS. YOUNG BUCK
This could have been titled “Frazier/McDermott vs. McDaniel.” Right now the Bills are the No. 1 overall defense in basically every unit of measure. To me, the best compilation of all stats is Football Outsiders’ DVOA, and they have Buffalo scored as the best D. Their rating, according to Football Outsiders, is 48.8, and no other team scored over 45.1. Buffalo now puts that up against the coach being called a “man scientist” by many national talking heads in Mike McDaniel.
Each week, resident weirdo @AaronQuinn716 tracks Toxic Differential (Turnover differential + Explosive play differential).
— Cover 1 (@Cover1) September 21, 2022
The Dolphins’ offensive DVOA is currently second in the league behind the Ravens. It’ll also be old heads Jordan Poyer and Micah Hyde trying to patrol the middle of the field vs. the aforementioned Hill and Waddle. Can the old dogs scheme up a plan to slow down the young gun? It’ll be fun to watch and learn.