The Buffalo Bills enter Sunday’s showdown with Miami as 2.5-point favorites despite the fact that their opponent is coming off of a game where they scored 70 points, won by 50, have a perfect 3-0 record, and a one-game lead on Buffalo in the AFC East. But how could the Bills possibly win versus such a juggernaut? Well, before you give up on even watching the game, here are my five keys to a Buffalo victory over the Dolphins at home on Sunday at 1:00 p.m.
The Miami Dolphins lead the league in first-half points with 24 per game. That is almost six points per the first 30 minutes more than the second-place Kansas City Chiefs. We know the Bills have an explosive offense that could make a comeback if needed. Buffalo does score 16.7 points per first half, good enough for sixth in the league, but keeping Miami off the scoreboard early will be key.
Tua Much Time
The Bills need to get after Tua Tagovailoa quickly, fast, and in a hurry! Through three games of the season, Tagovailoa is getting rid of the ball in just 2.36 seconds. That is the best in the NFL. So, how do you stop that? Well, you hit him. Nothing dirty, but you hit him, and you make clean hits count. Buffalo is coming off of a game where they pressured the Commanders’ Sam Howell on 27 of 39 dropbacks. The Bills are also second in the league in sacks, with four per game. That number went way up with nine last week. If they can get to the quarterback somewhere between that four-sack average and the nine from last week, Buffalo should be smiling when the clock strikes zero.
17 + 14 = 6
A lot is being made about the stats that Tyreek Hill is putting up, but it’s not like the top dog on Buffalo is some punk. Stefon Diggs is currently eighth in the league in yards per game at 93. He has the fifth most receptions per game. Allen and Diggs have connected for two of the top 20 most improbable catches, per NextGenStats. It goes without saying but the Bills need to remember they have an alpha and utilize him properly.
That’s My Ball
The Bills currently lead the NFL in takeaways per game at three. Dolphins’ QB Tua Tagovailoa has been willing to throw picks against Buffalo in his career. The Alabama product has thrown four interceptions in five games versus the Bills. The Miami offense can’t put up points if it doesn’t have the ball. Buffalo stealing a couple of possessions would certainly help in this category.
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— Cover 1 (@Cover1) September 29, 2023
We talked a lot this season about the Bills having the deepest safety room in the NFL. That will be tested on Sunday when Jordan Poyer will be inactive due to an injury, and Damar Hamlin is expected to fill that void. Hamlin received plenty of snaps last season, with Poyer and Micah Hyde missing significant time. No, Hamlin isn’t better than Poyer, but at their current ages, he may be an athletic spark versus a team that runs a track meet at receiver.