Miami Dolphins to host divisional foe Buffalo Bills in must win game
By Sean Moon
Miami Dolphins to host divisional foe Buffalo Bills in the first of two games this month, and will determine if the Dolphins can stay in the hunt for the final wildcard playoff spot.
Sunday at 1:00pm in Miami Gardens at Hard Rock Stadium, the (5-6)Miami Dolphins will host their divisional foe (4-7)Buffalo Bills. This is the first meeting of the year between these two teams and it will be in a much warmer location than in the second meeting later this year. The Miami Dolphins and the Buffalo Bills have met 108 times over the last 52 seasons, including 4 post season games. The Miami Dolphins currently lead the series 60-47 and they have one tie game between them.
Sunday the Miami Dolphins will get their first taste of new Buffalo Bills rookie QB Josh Allen and the two game win streak he rides in with. Something about December and these two teams, as they will face each other twice this month just like last season when they saw each other twice in the last three weeks of the season.
Miami comes into this game reeling from two losses in a row and are hanging on by a thread to stay in the playoff picture, and it will be a real up hill battle for them to claim that last wildcard spot, but technically they are still alive. The team has starting quarterback Ryan Tannehill back under center for the second week even though Tannehill is still dealing with a shoulder injury that he sustained back in October. Ryan Tannehill has said he still has pain but it is tolerable and can be managed for the rest of the season.
Head coach Adam Gase was asked at his press conference on Monday, following the teams second straight loss what kind of December team do you think this one is going to be? That’s where the culture comes in that you’ve talked about, and he replied,
"“We’ll find out. Guys that we’ve got will battle. I thought they played hard yesterday. It was unfortunate we lost that game because I really thought there were a lot of guys that did good stuff. It’s just hard to see right now because everybody does the same thing. Everybody goes and looks at the result and all of the good things get forgotten about. That’s where we can’t get lost in it as a team. We’ve got to focus on the things that we did improve on. The things that we didn’t, we need to get better at. And then we have to figure out a way to win this week.”"
The Miami Dolphins defense has been able to create turnovers this season, they have amassed 17 interceptions , along with 9 forced fumbles but the offense has just not been able to capitalize on them. Inconsistency on both sides of the ball have been the issue this season with this team, they cannot seem to find their groove and get a winning streak going.
With Ryan Tannehill back under center the offense did show last week it could move the football down the field, and this week they will face another tough defense with the Buffalo Bills.
The Dolphins running game should find some success against this Bills defense as they are allowing 111.3 /yds a game. Kenyan Drake and Frank Gore have been very effective this season when used, but it seems at times head coach Adam Gase seems to forget them and abandons the running game. After watching the Jacksonville Jaguars running backs run all over the Bills defense coach Gase would be wise to pound the rock on this defense early and often.
The injuries might continue to plague this Miami Dolphins team on the offensive line, as well as the wide receivers group, but they still possess talent there and coach Gase could utilize Ryan Tannehill’s atheletisim and roll the pocket out to ease any pass rush if it should become destructive.
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The deep ball has become problematic due to the weak play of the backup offensive linemen, as Tannehill will not have enough time to let those plays develop. So the screens and short passing plays will again be used in this game.
The Buffalo Bills come into this contest riding a two game winning streak and are looking to spoil any hopes the Dolphins still might have at a playoff spot. Buffalos young, strong armed, rookie quarterback Josh Allen has had some issues with injuries and consistency throughout the season, but has seemed to play better in his last two games.
Buffalo Bills running back LeSean McCoy was thought to had finally starting to show his skill set and run better after shredding the New York Jets defense for 113 yds and 2 touchdowns, but he did virtually nothing in his next game against a mediocre Jacksonville defense.
The Buffalo Bills offense has really struggled all season and this trend will most likely continue against the Miami Dolphins defense, which usually is very tough in front of their home crowd, and can definitely confuse the young QB into poor decisions and create turnovers.
Recent history has shown a problem with the Dolphins playing at a level of their opponent, and this match up could get ugly if the Dolphins choose to let the Bills hang close in this match up by not taking advantage of the turnovers and turning them into points. This is the first of a five game stretch that have all now become a must win game situations down the stretch to stay in the hunt for the final playoff spot.