The Buffalo Bills and Miami Dolphins play for the top spot in the AFC East on Sunday. Both teams enter this one coming off of the biggest wins of the young season in Week 4; Miami topped the Broncos by 50, and Buffalo bested the Commanders by 34. Despite the Dolphins having one fewer loss than the Bills thus far, Las Vegas has the home team as a 2.5-point favorite entering Highmark Stadium. If that holds us, we will probably have a shootout in Western New York. Without further ado, here are my top five storylines to watch as Bills Mafia gets set to welcome Fins’ fans to Orchard Park.
Beast of the East
With the way things are going for Buffalo under Sean McDermott and Miami under Mike McDaniel, this should be a storyline for the next decade. Entering Sunday, Miami sits a game ahead of the Bills, with that confounding loss to the Jets still making us all scratch our heads. Regardless of that outcome, the winner of this one will be first in the AFC East. This game will not only be important for immediate bragging rights but could play a pivotal role in playoff seedings and tiebreakers down the line.
The Bills need to find a way to lay hands on Tua Tagovailoa early and often in this game. No, not to injure him like many down on South Beach want to scream into their keyboards about, but to get him off his spot and make it harder for the Miami signal caller to complete passes to all his track stars. Entering this game, Tagovailoa gets the ball out at a 2.36-second average, the best in the NFL. Conversely, the Bills are coming off a game where they pressured Washington’s Sam Howell on 27 of 39 drop backs. That’s the second-highest pressure rate in a game since NextGenStats has been tracking that stat. Add to that the fact that Buffalo has three of the top 37 EDGE in Pro Football Focus’ PRP (a formula that combines sacks, hits, and hurries relative to how many times they rush the passer), and we have ourselves a helluva matchup.
Allen vs. Miami
Dolphins fans will try and tell you that Josh Allen shouldn’t demand stock options from Stephen Ross, and they’d be right. Why? He already owns the franchise. In his 11 career starts vs. Miami in the regular season and playoffs, Allen-led Bills teams are 9-2. In his ten regular season starts, he has a rating of 106.1 with 2,684 yards, 27 touchdowns, and fine interceptions. Who Is Your Daddy? Josh is…
McDermott vs. McDaniel
This could be titled Buffalo’s defense vs. Miami’s offense. Both units are humming right now, with the Bills being second in points per game against and yards per game against. The Bills are also leading the league in sacks percentage. On the other sideline, Miami leads the league in pretty much all offensive categories. It might be an oversimplification, but which play-caller gets the best of the other should lead his team to victory.
The Bills’ secondary has had some moments this season where they looked a little long in the tooth. We know Micah Hyde and Jordan Poyer are still elite safeties, but they will be tested on Sunday. The Dolphins have a plethora of offensive weapons, but we all know the head of their Olympic track team is Tyreek Hill. Entering Sunday, Hill is second in the NFL in receiving yards with 412, he is first in receiving touchdowns at four, his 25 receptions are fourth, and his 116 YAC is ninth. The guy can do it all! Stopping Hill should be priorities number one, two, and three on Sunday.
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— Cover 1 (@Cover1) September 28, 2023