Will the Miami Dolphins "buffalo" the Dallas Cowboys defense?

Miami Dolphins running back Raheem Mostert (31) breaks free for a big gain as New York Jets
Miami Dolphins running back Raheem Mostert (31) breaks free for a big gain as New York Jets / Jim Rassol / USA TODAY NETWORK

The Miami Dolphins will host the Dallas Cowboys on Christmas Eve day.

On Christmas night, the Baltimore Ravens and San Francisco 49ers clash in a battle of 11-3 teams. Some have hinted that it could be a preview of Super Bowl LVIII.

The same could also be said for a pair of 10-4 clubs that will square off in South Florida on Sunday afternoon. The AFC East leading Miami Dolphins are looking of their 11th win (which would be the most by the team since 2008) when they host the Dallas Cowboys.

While Mike McDaniel’s club was pitching a shutout last week against the Jets, the NFC East frontrunners were being over-run, literally, at Orchard Park. Dan Quinn’s defensive unit was pounded for 266 yards on 49 attempts. Mike McCarthy’s team barely had the football (24:55) in a humbling 31-10 loss.

It’s safe to say that the Miami Dolphins’ running game has come a long way in a very short time. There were slight signs of improvement a year ago, but only six teams gained fewer yards per game on the ground.

This season, the club is running for 139.6 yards per contest. That’s topped only by the Ravens, Lions, and 49ers, respectively. Raheem Mostert (966) is the verge of becoming the franchise’s first 1,000-yard rusher since Jay Ajayi in 2016. He teams with rookie De’Von Achane (613) to give McDaniel a running game with plenty of home run potential.

The question this week is whether that kind of running game can do to the Cowboys what the Buffalo Bills did to the Cowboys a week ago at Buffalo. Bills’ running back James Cook (25 carries for 179 yards) literally battered Quinn’s defense into submission.

Dallas ranks sixth in the NFL in fewest yards allowed, but is a mediocre 19th against the run. Earlier this season, the Cowboys struggled with the ground attacks of the Cardinals (222 yards) and 49ers (170).

In this highly-anticipated game, the Dolphins will likely try to duplicate Buffalo’s winning formula. Still, how much success will they really have against the speed of Micah Parsons and Dan Quinn’s unit overall?

It makes for a high-octane chess match.