Week 16: Bills vs. Dolphins
AFC East rival Miami comes to town looking to take another step towards clinching a wild card spot. The Bills are looking to keep their less than razor thin playoff hopes alive while putting a dent in the Dolphins playoff march. The Bills are also looking to avenge their loss earlier this year when they blew an 11 point second half lead. Miami will be without their starting QB Ryan Tannehill who is out with a knee injury. Veteran Matt Moore is a capable backup who threw four touchdown passes in a win over the Jets last week.
Saturday, Dec. 24th
FACTS AND FIGURES
||Buffalo (7-7) vs. Miami (9-5)
||New Era Field
||Network: CBS; DirecTV: 705; Sirius: 113; SiriusXM 230
||Greg Gumbel, Trent Green, and Jamie Erdahl
||Bills by 4
||Dolphins lead 58-42-1 (Bills 3-1 in playoffs)
||Dolphins Won 1
||Dolphins 28-25 in Miami (2016)
||Rush (16th); Pass (27th); overall (25th)
||Rush (30th); Pass (11th); overall (24th)
||Rush (1st); Pass (31st); overall (19th)
||Rush (27th); Pass (8th); overall (16th)
The Bills have several players that have been limited in practice this week. Lerentee McCray has been sidelined three weeks with a concussion. Cordy Glenn and Kyle Williams each missed last week's game with back injuries and will likely be gametime decisions this week.
The Dolphins are without Tannehill who has a knee injury. CB Byron Maxwell (Ankle) and LB Jelani Jenkins (Knee/Hand) have missed practice time this week. S Isa Abdul-Quddus (Ankle), LB Kiko Alonso (Hamstring/Hand), and CB Bobby McCain (Knee/Hand) have had their practice time limited.
Check out our Bills Daily Injury Page throughout the week for the latest updates on the injured players.
RB LeSean McCoy vs. LB Kiko Alonso:
McCoy is by far the best player on the Bills and the Dolphins will look to stop him. He played hurt in their first meeting and was a shell of his normal self. He's healthy and hot now and the main guy trying to slow him down will be the guy he was traded for in Alonso who leads the Dolphins with over 100 tackles.
RT Jordan Mills vs. LDE Cameron Wake:
While everyone will be watching for Mario Williams to be in the Bills backfield, he only has 1½ sacks on the season. Wake will be the guy lining up against Mills who leads the team with 10½ sacks. They need to worry more about him.
DB Stephon Gilmore vs. WR Jarvis Landry:
Nickell Robey-Coleman hinted that Landry should have his head on a swivel this week as the Bills DBs have not forgotten the terrifying injury Aaron Williams suffered on the cheap shot Landry laid on him in the first meeting this season. They have to worry about defending Landry more than getting revenge though as he is already over 1,000 yards receiving on the year. Stopping him will land on Gilmore who has been shadowing the teams' best receivers in recent weeks. If that trend continues he will be on Landry most of the game.
LB Zach Brown vs. RB Jay Ajayi:
The Bills defensive players are looking forward to a second shot at Ajayi who ran wild on them for 214 yards in the first meeting. They will need to contain him and make backup QB Matt Moore beat them.
KEYS TO THE GAME
1. Stay Motivated: The players know that the playoffs are a pipe dream and the Dolphins will be extremely motivated since if they win they have an excellent shot at making the postseason but a loss puts them in trouble. If the Bills are motivated to hurt a division rival and "win one for the Gipper" than they have a good chance at winning.
2. Stay In Their Lanes: Ajayi killed them in their last meeting because the Bills defenders kept overrunning their lanes and not filling the gaps. The results were huge runs for the Dolphins running back. If the defense stays disciplined and stays where they are suppose too than they should be able to contain him.
3. Pressure Moore: While Matt Moore is a quality backup quarterback he has had very little playing time over the last few years so they need to make him feel uncomfortable. He is not nearly as athletic as Tannehill so constant pressure and exotic blitz packages could make things tough for him and the passing game.
BILLS DAILY PREDICTION
Conventional wisdom says that the Bills have a better chance with Tannehill out but the fact of the matter is, he has performed terribly in Buffalo especially late in the season. In fact, the last time Miami won in Buffalo was in 2011 and Moore was the quarterback. Miami will be highly motivated since they have more to lose than the Bills since their playoff chances are very good while the Bills chances are less than one percent. I think the Bills have one last stand in them as they may rise up and win it for their embattled coach. They also have the motivation of getting back at Miami for beating them up physically back in the October meeting:
Bills 23, Dolphins 17
Season Prediction Record: (13-1)
Season Record Against The Spread: (11-3)
Bills Blitz - Coming Sunday Evening!
Gameday Grades - Coming Sunday Evening!