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Saturday Preview: Buffalo Bills vs. Miami Dolphins

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The Buffalo Bills will finish off their season series with the Miami Dolphins at Highmark Stadium this Sunday before even seeing their other division foes. The two games against the Dolphins were a great way to ease into AFC East play in 2021. Last month, when I previewed their Week 2 matchup, I described the Bills-Dolphins relationship as domination. Since then, the Bills went on to defeat Miami 35-0. Maybe ”domination” is not strong enough, so let’s try “annihilation” on for size this time around.

The Last Five

Bills 35 Dolphins 0 (2021)
Bills 56 Dolphins 26 (2020)
Bills 31 Dolphins 28 (2020)
Bills 37 Dolphins 20 (2019)
Bills 31 Dolphins 21 (2019)

There’s not much to say about these scores. In their past two matchups, the Buffalo Bills have outscored the Dolphins 91-26. The Bills are riding a six-game winning streak against their divisional rival and are looking to stretch it to seven. That would set a franchise record for consecutive wins against Miami.

What To Watch For: Bills

Red Zone Offense – We could all go around (as many Bills fans have) and take turns blaming different players and units for the team’s last-second loss to the Titans. One of the units who held themselves most responsible after the game was the offense. Their lack of execution in the red zone was a key reason for the loss. It is a hard point to dispute. Going two for five in the red zone, compared to Tennessee’s perfect three for three, was a crucial factor in the loss.

A common trend has already shown up for the Bills in their losses. Their lack of red zone touchdowns are an easy predictor of why they could possibly fall short in their Super Bowl ambitions. While the Dolphins won’t be the best barometer of the offense’s improvement in that area, this is a great opportunity to get rolling inside the 20.

Offensive Line Response – Spencer Brown has taken his turn in the doghouse of Bills fans for his performance against the Titans. While Brown is doubtful to play on Sunday, fans will want to see how this OL unit responds after being utterly dominated at the line of scrimmage two weeks ago. We will have to wait to see how Brown rebounds. But there is one player that sat on the final play the past two weeks: franchise left tackle Dion Dawkins.

While Josh Allen slipped, Dawkins was blown up at the line of scrimmage. He was instantly pushed backwards on the final play against the Titans. Prior to that play, Dawkins had an excellent game. Everyone expects to have a bad rep once in awhile. Unfortunately for the Bills, Dawkins’ bad rep came at the worst possible time. The mental toughness of the offensive line, especially Dawkins, will be something to watch this week against a Dolphins defensive line that can put some pressure on a quarterback.

What to do without Knox? – Due to a broken bone in his hand, Buffalo Bills tight end Dawson Knox will miss a few weeks of action. Knox, who is experiencing the best year of his career, will be tough for the Bills to replace. With a favorite target of Allen off of the field, the question becomes: How does Brian Daboll adjust his personnel?

Some fans are suggesting we will see a simple Knox-for-Sweeney swap, keeping many of the same formations and personel groupings. Personally, I wouldn’t be surprised to see a resurgence of Gabriel Davis over these next few weeks. With Cole Beasley getting back on track versus the Titans, I expect Davis to have his turn over these next few games. Yes, Tommy Sweeney is built similar to Knox. Yes, the Bills might want to keep things similar in his absence. However, I think they would miss an opportunity to get other players involved. They could put some new plays on film to keep opposing teams guessing. Frankly, there couldn’t be a better three-game stretch for the Bills to play around with things.

What To Watch For: Dolphins

Tua (Closing) Time? – With rumors of a Deshaun Watson trade swirling and the Dolphins facing another failure of a season, could this be the end of Tua Time in Miami? Brian Flores tried his best back Tua, but nobody is convinced. The Bills have seen Tagovailoa just once in his career so far. (He left the Week 2 game earlier this year with a rib injury.) Could this be the last time the Buffalo Bills see Tua in a Dolphins uniform?

Gesicki – I will continue to toot Mike Gesicki’s horn as often as I can. He is one of the best TE’s in the game, hidden on one of the worst teams in football. After a slow start to the year with Tua, Gesicki caught fire when backup quarterback Jacoby Brissett was leading the offense. Once Tua returned to the starting lineup, the Dolphins made the wise choice to continue to feed Gesicki.

The Bills struggled defending the play action against the Titans. So expect the Dolphins to try to suck them in and look to Gesicki. The Bills did a great job shutting him down in Week 2, holding him to three receptions for 41 yards. That was one of the main reasons the Dolphins offense laid an egg that day.

Pride – Out of all of the things the Dolphins could do on Sunday, the best thing would be to show a little pride to their fans. In a rivalry that’s looking eerily similar to the 2000s Bills-Patriots, you’d think the team would want to show some signs of competitive life. Will the Dolphins be able to stand up to their daddy and dethrone Josh Allen? It’s possible, but doubtful.

The Bills tweeted out some of the insane stats that Allen has put up against the Dolphins. Check them out. For as much as Brady dominated the Bills, Allen can do something on Sunday Brady never did. If Allen throws two TD passes this Sunday, he will become the first player in NFL history to throw at least two in his first eight career starts against a team. We will look back on this father/son relationship someday and revel in the magic that Allen is giving us.

Prediction

Bills 34 Dolphins 17

The Buffalo Bills will get back on track this Sunday afternoon with another divisional sweep of the Dolphins. I think the Bills also figure things out in the red zone, going four for five this time around. I expect the Bills defense to grab another turnover or two in what will become a horrifying Halloween for Miami. The latest chapter in the complete destruction, eradication, and extermination of the Dolphins. Put PETA on watch… again.

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