Oct 18, 2015; Nashville, TN, USA; Miami Dolphins linebacker Jelani Jenkins (53) recovers a fumble during the first half against the Tennessee Titans at Nissan Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports
When the Dolphins are on defense they will have their work cut out for them. Forget the fact that Cameron Wake isn’t playing the Dolphins have boasted about their depth at the defensive end position so now it’s time to prove that depth is real. Tyrod Taylor will start for the Bills and he was near flawless in week three. The Dolphins defensive front was not able to get much pressure on Taylor and when they did they couldn’t contain him in the pocket to force incomplete passes or sack him. That can’t happen this week.
The Bills have a very good offensive line but remember if the team is so good in so many areas then why are they 3-4? This is a team that can be and has been beaten. The Bills have lost to the Giants, Patriots, Bengals, and Jaguars. Three of those teams are sitting atop their divisions. The Bills have beaten a poor Miami team, the Titans, and an even poorer Indianapolis Colts team. The key here is that in the four games they lost, they didn’t simply get outscored they got physically out played. All of the Bills losses have been close or relatively close. They lost to the Patriots by eight, the Giants by 14, the Bengals by 13, and the Jaguars by three.
If the Dolphins are going to win on Sunday the defense has to play at a physical and dominating level. The Bills offense is good and they can put up points but only if Tyrod Taylor is given time. Miami needs to force the Bills to beat them through the air.
This week the Bills will have a healthy LeSean McCoy and will be getting his back-up Karlos Williams back as well. They will not have Percy Harvin and it’s likely they will be without receiver Sammy Watkins as well. Their best pass catchers on Sunday will be McCoy out of the back-field, Charles Clay from the TE spot, and Robert Wood at receiver. The Dolphins let Clay run around them in week three but that was also a result of poor pressure on Taylor.
If Miami can get pressure on Taylor the receivers won’t be able to run their routes. Clay and McCoy are Taylor’s outlet receivers so the Dolphins need to take them out of the passing game but it’s the running game that will test the Dolphins front.
In week three the Bills ran for 110 yards on 12 carries by Williams. McCoy touched the ball 11 times for 16 yards but McCoy was playing banged up. Miami can’t afford to let the Bills run on their defense or they will allow Taylor to move the ball and continue drives using, like what Miami should, play action passing.
The secondary won’t get tested deep by the Bills so they need to play up closer to the receivers and Miami needs to become far more physical at the line of scrimmage not allowing Bills receivers to get into their routes without getting hit first. This could be a big game for Reshad Jones who might be able to play freely against the Bills offense. The Dolphins need to use Jones in disguised blitzes and let him make plays on the ball by giving him the freedom to react to what the Bills are doing. If Buffalo gets a rushing rhythm Jones may be the one guy who will need to stop the rushing attack.
Overall this game doesn’t match well on paper for Miami but the Dolphins are not the same team the Bills faced in week three and there is a new attitude and pride amongst the players. Last week the Dolphins simply looked outmatched. This is the real test for Dan Campbell. He must get this team ready to play on Sunday and the Dolphins can not come out flat to open the game dropping behind early as the Dolphins are not built as a comeback team.
The margin for mistakes is not very big and this game could very well come down to field goals or missed field goals and untimely penalties.
Despite the Bills being healthier and having more time to prepare I think the Dolphins are settling into this whole “culture” change from within and last weeks loss to the Patriots is something that they don’t want to answer for again on Monday. I think the Dolphins won’t have a great game but I think they will have enough.
Dolphins 27 – Bills 23