There is a difference between the Miami Dolphins in 2022 and last 3 years

Mike McDaniel
Mike McDaniel /

The Miami Dolphins will face division rival Buffalo on Sunday and already fans are gearing up for a big game that could go a lot of different ways. A lot of talk has surrounded the team’s inability to beat the Bills over the last three years and the last seven games.

While the Dolphins will face the best team in the AFC this week, maybe even the entire NFL, there are a few things that are missing in the narrative. This isn’t the same team that played the Bills in 2021 or 2020 or 2019.

The media and the fans of both the Bills and Dolphins can focus on the winless record of Tua vs. the Bills but we need to look a little differently at the situation.

For the most part, the Dolphins’ defense is about the same. Josh Boyer is calling the shots and there is no interference or input from Brian Flores. That could be a good thing or a bad thing but the real changes are on the offensive side of the ball.

Offensive system

  • George Godsey and Eric Studesville
  • Chan Gailey
  • Chad O’Shea

This is not to say that Mike McDaniel is a genius but through two games so far in 2022, the young head coach has shown a much more diverse and unpredictable offensive system. It is hard to put pressure on the Bills’ offense, defensively, when the offense is inept and can’t move a football.

Jaylen Waddle

Waddle is the only WR returning from last year’s team and no other receiver is on the roster from 2019 and 2020. Since being drafted by the Dolphins, Tua has had to face the Bills with DeVante Parker, Lynn Bowden, Jr., Isaiah Ford, Albert Wilson, Mack Hollins, and Preston Williams, among a few others.

This year, the Dolphins are not just deep on paper. The addition of Tyreek Hill has already made a major impact on the Dolphins’ offense and while Cedrick Wilson, Jr. has yet to make a major impact, he is still a quality player that will make teams have to cover him. Last week against the Ravens, the Dolphins got Mike Gesicki involved for the first time this season.

Offensive line

In Tua’s first start against the Buffalo Bills in 2020, Jesse Davis gave up an uncontested sack that broke Tua’s ribs. He missed the rest of the game and a few games. This year, we can’t be certain that Greg Little, who will start again on Sunday, will fair better against the tough Bills edge rushers but he can’t be worse.

Terron Armstead is the best tackle Miami has had since Laremy Tunsil anchored the left side and he is elite. Against the Bills, he will provide quality blocking, something Tua has not had against the Bills. Will the Dolphins’ offensive line be the difference? They very well may and if they play well, the Dolphins will move the ball.

Running game

The Dolphins rushing attack has not been good this year but against a Bills team that will try and use quick blitzes and a lot of pressure to stop Miami’s Hill-Waddle offense, the run game could be a major key to beating the Bills. Time of possession will be important and keeping Allen off the field will as well.

Miami will use combinations of Raheem Mostert and Chase Edmonds but will also use a lot of Alec Ingold and that could help Miami counter the Bills’ blitz. As opposed to the last couple of years where Myles Gaskin, Matt Breida, and Salvon Ahmed have been the starters.

This year’s Dolphins

It is easy to say that the Dolphins are stacked against a wall this week and the Bills deserve if not demand respect. The Dolphins will have their hands full but let’s not pretend the Bills are facing the same-old Dolphins because this team, is very different than the last three years.