Sunday’s regular season finale between the Buffalo Bills and the Miami Dolphins still has importance to the overall AFC playoff race despite the Dolphins already being eliminated from playoff contention. If the Bills win, and get a little bit of help from other teams, they can make the playoffs. However, Miami will be doing everything possible to prevent their AFC East foe from making the postseason on their home turf. This game has been flexed by the NFL to 4:25 PM ET.
This is the 108th time these two rivals will battle it out on the field. The Dolphins lead the all-time series 60-46-1 and have an all-time home record of 34-18-1 against Buffalo. The Bills won the first meeting between these two teams this season by a score of 24-16 in Week 15. Buffalo is 6-4 against Miami over the last 10 head-to-head meetings and look to sweep the Dolphins for the first time since 2015.
Miami (6-9) is 4-3 at home and have won their last two games there. Unfortunately, with their loss to KC last weekend, they were officially eliminated from playoff contention. In reality, it was their loss to Buffalo 2 weeks ago that put them on the outside looking in at a Wild Card spot. Miami would love to return the favor this weekend against Buffalo.
Buffalo (8-7) has a road record of 2-5 and is coming off a tough road loss to the Patriots last weekend. They’ve won 3 of their last 5 games, with both losses coming to the Patriots. Buffalo is looking for their first winning record since 2004 and their first playoff appearance since 1999.
The spread opened at the Bills favored by 2.5 points. Depending on which book you look at, the spread can be anywhere from the Bills favored by 2 to 3 points. If you can get it for anything less than 3 points then I say take it. The Over/Under opened at 43 points and is has come down to 42.5 total points.
For the Bills to get into the playoffs, they need one of two scenarios to happen: the Ravens to lose or the combination of the Titans and Chargers losing. All 4 of these games have been scheduled for the later slate of games on Sunday to maximize the excitement over which two of those four teams will make the playoffs.
In order for Buffalo to defeat the Dolphins, they will need another strong defensive performance and rushing attack as they did in Week 15. Buffalo was able to bring pressure on QB Jay Cutler and force 3 turnovers. They go out to a 21-6 lead at half time and put it in cruise control for the second half. Miami was able to make the score look closer than the game really was as they closed it to within 8 points (24-16). Buffalo will need to keep up the defensive pressure and control running back Kenyan Drake who finished with 113 total yards and 1 TD. Dolphins receiver Jarvis Landry poured in 10 catches for 99 yards and helped the Dolphins to get back into the game.
Offensively, Buffalo needs 4 quarters of strong football. They can’t just dominate a half and put it in cruise control. Look what happened last weekend against the Patriots when Buffalo played a great first half but failed to come out in the second half. This weekend, that Bills offense will need to keep their foot on the gas pedal and ride Shady McCoy to at least 100 total yards and a touchdown. QB Tyrod Taylor will need a good performance and not hurt the team like he did in the second half of the Patriots and the first Dolphins games. Taylor needs to make quicker decisions and not take sacks. I think he has a chance for a big game this weekend as the Dolphins have nothing really to play for.
I expect Buffalo to play aggressive football and get this win. I believe they have too much to play for and that the new coaching staff and front office have beaten into that team a mentality to play hard. I expect Buffalo to come away with a tough win that will come down to a late score. Taylor will surpass the 224 yards he threw for in their game two weeks ago and get at least 250 yards and 2 touchdowns. I expect Shady to contribute in a big way too. Buffalo’s defense will need consistency through all four quarters and no letdowns in order for the Bills to win.
Even if Buffalo doesn’t make the playoffs, they have taken a huge first step with this new regime. Buffalo will win 27-24 and notch their first winning season since 2004.
Buffalo is 6-3 ATS in their last 9 games against the Dolphins. Miami is 5-10 ATS in their last 15 games against the AFC East, 2-4 ATS this season against teams with winning records, and 2-6-2 in their last 10 overall games.