Week 17: Bills vs. Dolphins
The Bills enter the final game of the season still alive for the playoffs for only the 2nd time since the playoff drought began. The Bills need to beat the Dolphins for the 2nd time in three weeks and get some outside help to get in. A Bills win coupled with the a Ravens loss or losses by Tennesee and the Chargers gets them in. Of course all three of those teams are at home and favored to win to make it even more difficult to accomplish the long awaited goal.
Sunday, Dec. 31st
FACTS AND FIGURES
||Buffalo (8-7) vs. Miami (6-9)
||Hard Rock Stadium
||Network: CBS; DirecTV: 715; Sirius: 133; SiriusXM: 380
||Andrew Catalon and James Lofton
||Bills by 2½
||Dolphins lead 59-43-1 (Bills 3-1 in playoffs)
||Bills Won 1
||Bills 24-16 in Buffalo (2017)
||Rush (28th); Pass (19th); overall (28th)
||Rush (15th); Pass (17th); overall (18th)
||Rush (6th); Pass (32nd); overall (29th)
||Rush (30th); Pass (18th); overall (25th)
The Bills biggest question mark this week is E.J. Gaines who missed last week's game with a knee injury after hurting it against Miami two weeks ago. He is improving and has a chance to play. The team placed other injured players on injured reserve this week. RB Damien Williams returned to practice this week after missing four games with a shoulder injury.
The Dolphins have put four players on injured reserve this week. OL Jermon Bushrod, TE Julius Thomas, WR Leonte Caroo, and DT Vincent Thomas had their seasons end prematurely.
Check out our Bills Daily Injury Page throughout the week for the latest updates on the injured players.
RT Jordan Mills vs. DE Cameron Wake:
Mills will need to keep Wake and his 9 sacks on the season out of the backfield and away from Tyrod Taylor's blindside.
RG Vlad Ducasse vs. DT Ndamukong Suh:
Ducasse will have his hands full and will get plenty of help from Eric Wood. Suh is a dominant force in the backfield and can disrupt the Bills offense.
RB LeSean McCoy vs. LB Kiko Alonso:
Shady made Alonso look silly on several runs two weeks ago. The rematch between these two adversaries will be fun to watch as well.
DT Kyle Williams vs. RB Kenyan Drake:
Williams will likely play like his hair is on fire with a chance to finally make it into the playoffs in what could be his swan song. Drake has been one of the most productive backs in the league over the past month.
KEYS TO THE GAME
1. Stay Focused: The Bills can only control what they do on the field not what the Chargers, Titans, and Ravens do. So they need to keep the scoreboard watching to a minimum and focus on the task at hand.
2. Get Second Half Touchdowns: WGR's Howard Simon came up with this incredible stat. The Bills have not scored a 4th quarter point in the last five games and have not scored a 3rd quarter TD in the last 9 games. This has to change now as the Bills need to score in the 2nd half to pull this game out.
3. Take Chances: They can't afford to tighten up because that will lead to mistakes. They need to play lose and take chances, that includes coaching decisions. This is the ultimate must win game and they need to pull out all the stops to do it.
BILLS DAILY PREDICTION
This is the biggest game for the Bills since 2004 when they imploded in the finale against the Steeler backups to miss the playoffs. I think they will win this game against a Miami team that is reeling down the stretch. Unfortunately I don't think they will get the help they need to get into the playoffs:
Bills 17, Dolphins 13
Season Prediction Record: (9-6)
Season Record Against The Spread: (5-8-2)
Bills Blitz - Coming Sunday Night!
Gameday Grades - Coming Monday!