This Sunday at 1pm, our Miami Dolphins look for their 3rd win (yes, WIN) in a row against the reeling Buffalo Bills. Yes people, this is what other teams call a “winning streak” or the Packers call “normal.” On the other hand, the Bills are riding a 2 game losing streak, or as the “Suck for Luckers” call it, “the good ole days.” This game is important for both teams if they want to consider…playoffs (*suppresses inner Jim Mora).
What to Watch For:
Bills’ Offense vs. Dolphin Defense:
I must say, I feel that the Dolphin defense has been playing better and better each week. Now, is this because of the lack of quality offenses they went against, they have gotten more help from our own offense, or does winning really cure all? Whatever the reason may be and despite the fact they are still ranked 25th against the pass, the Dolphin D is looking good. After all, they are ranked 8th in the one defensive stat that truly matters; points-per-game with 19.8. They also have only given up 20+ points once this year (week 1 against the Pats).
With the Dolphin defense’s success noted, the Bill’s offense started off the season blazing, scoring 20+ points every week, but the past two weeks, it has struggled. In their last two games, the Bills had below 300 total yards and 7 total turnovers. That being said, those performances came against tough Jets and Cowboy defenses. Despite their lack of success last week, Fred Jackson was still able to surpass the century mark, gaining 114 yards on 13 carries. The Dolphins D has done a better job at stopping the run recently, but haven’t faced a RB like Jackson in a few weeks.
Dolphin Offense vs. Bills’ Defense:
20+ points two weeks in a row? 2 Reggie Bush TDs? What is going on? By no means is the Miami Dolphin offense high powered, but they are finally finding ways to put the ball in the endzone. I equate this success to a few things. First, they are having success when they throw the ball on first down. They seem to start off throwing on first, then when they have the lead, stop. Its baffling. It works to open up the defense, but once we have the lead, they seemingly try to run the clock out in the third quarter. The second thing I think that has led to offensive success is the use of Brandon Marshall and the TE…that happens to be Anthony Fasano. Targeting Marshall should be obvious…you would think…but the Dolphins have finally been getting him the ball more and more. I am also a big support of using your TE; they often can cause mismatches against LBs(right Dansby. don’t be fooled, that INT was luck) and create short yardage situations. I hope these success points continue for the Dolphins. They should have a favorable match-up against a poor Bill defense that has given up 20+ points in all but two games this season. Despite, their poor run/pass stopping and points-per-game, they have been able to rack up impressive 20 takeaways.
Two Minute Drill:
Dolphins’ Key to the Game: Foot on the Gas. As I mentioned before, the Dolphins have a tendency to play what I call “prevent offense” once they have the ball. If they get a lead, they need to continue to throw the ball on non-passing downs. Everyone knows we wanna run so your not surprising them when you try to.
Bills’ Key to the Game: Run before you Throw. The Bills obvious strong suit and the should be possible against our defense. If they get Jackson going, they may be able to ride him to victory; which may be necessary with Steve Johnson’s health in question.
Dolphin’ Player to Watch: Brandon Marshall. I do not think that the Bills will have anyone that can stop him and with Moore targeting him more-and-more (see what I did there?) he should have a big day.
Bills’ Player to Watch: Fred Jackson. This guy has a great story and is a great runner. I still think our defense will have trouble with a strong runner; which Jackson is.
How it plays out: More Competitive…than the past two weeks. I think the Dolphins short run of easily won games will come to an end here. As I have stated, I do think the Dolphins will struggle stopping the run; which will open the pass somewhat. That being said, I see no reason, other than a self-destruction, the offense should be shutdown by the Bills.
Prediction: 24-17 … Dolphins. 24, yes, that means 3 TDs.
As always, PhinsUp! -John
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