Bills vs. Dolphins: Who Has the Advantage?

In this week’s version of, “Who Has the Advantage,” we take a look at the Buffalo Bills. It will be another AFC East clash, but this time from Hard Rock Stadium. The Dolphins have a great opportunity ahead of them. The team will play two games in a 5-day span, which presents the chance to turn 0-1 into 2-1 very quickly. Any Dolphin player, coach, or fan would be more than happy with a 2-1 start to the season. Before we get ahead of ourselves, the focus should solely be on Buffalo. The Bills are 1-0 and beat the New York Jets 27-17 in week 1. Although it was always the Patriots that were winning the division and having all of the success, it is the Bills vs. Dolphins rivalry that has gotten the most heated in recent years. The two teams simply do not like each other and Sunday will be another physical matchup. If Miami wants to prove that they can compete in this division and week 1 was just a fluke, they have to show up in a big way Sunday. A total of 98 teams have started a season 0-2 since 2007. Among that group, just 12 have reached the postseason (12.2%). Coincidentally, the Dolphins were 2 of those 12 and did it in 2008 and 2016. The Bills have won 5 out of the last 6 games against the Dolphins and are looking to burry Miami deep in the AFC East standings.


Passing Game

You have to believe that the Dolphins worked tirelessly on stopping the run and specifically on quarterback runs in practice this week. Although that is going to be a huge focus in week 2, Miami better be prepared for Buffalo’s air attack as well. Josh Allen threw it 46 times against the Jets for 312 yards, 2 touchdowns, and 0 interceptions. The Bills will certainly look to establish the run early on, but don’t be surprised if Josh Allen drops back and slings it around the yard as he did in week 1. The Dolphins currently rank #1 in the NFL in pass defense and will need that to continue this week. The last time Byron Jones and Stephon Diggs squared up, Jones only allowed 1 reception for 11 yards. In week 1, Diggs was Allen’s favorite target, and the two connected on 8 passes for 86 yards. If the Dolphins can take Diggs out of the equation, they have a real chance at taming this Bills offense.

As for Ryan Fitzpatrick and the Dolphins passing game, it was simply non-existent last week. Fitzpatrick was not good and handed New England 3 interceptions. I believe we will see the precise Fitzpatrick on Sunday and he will be determined to get this offense back on track. The availability of DeVante Parker will play a huge role in Miami’s success in the passing game. Parker is a game-time decision and “really wants to play.” Fitzpatrick and the Dolphins weapons are a big play type of offense. Fitzpatrick loves to give his receivers a chance to go up and high point a deep ball and come down with a huge gain. Miami needs a few big plays in this game to jumpstart the entire team and force the Bills to throw the ball. The Dolphins need to start playing with a lead instead of from behind. This will allow Miami’s greatest strength to be displayed, their pass defense. Opposing teams are forced to throw the ball when they are trailing and that bodes well for Miami. Look out for Miami to be more aggressive in this game and push the ball more downfield.

Advantage: Buffalo Bills

Running Game

In week 1, the Dolphins allowed the most rushing yards in the NFL, which earned them the 32ndranked run defense in the league. Cam Newton rushed for 75 of the 217 yards and Josh Allen can look to do the same. Like I stated earlier, the Dolphins have worked endlessly at stopping the run in practice this week, and that MUST translate to the field Sunday. This cannot be another game where the Dolphins seem lost and allow the Bills to get whatever they want. The Dolphins must own the line of scrimmage and set the edge. The Bills are well aware of Miami putting an emphasis on the run defense, and will still try to establish the rush early. In week 1, Buffalo only had 98 rushing yards but 57 of those came from QB Josh Allen. The Dolphins will be without linebacker Elandon Roberts Sunday, but the rest of the defense will be at full strength. The defensive line and linebackers simply must do their job and be in the correct spot at all times. When the Dolphins load the box and show that they will be selling out on the run, they cannot get pushed back and allow a positive gain. The Dolphins allowed the Patriots to rattle off 5,6,7, yard gains at a time, and never put New England’s offense in a tough spot. The Dolphins want the Bills to throw it and stopping the run and forcing 3rdand longs will go a long way in this game.

The Dolphins have a great opportunity to hit the ground running on Sunday, literally. The Bills will be without three linebackers at kickoff. Linebackers Matt Milano and Trumaine Edmunds are huge losses for the Bills and their run defense. Last week the Dolphins rushed for 87 yards and the Bills only allowed 52 to the Jets. The key this week for the Dolphins is to allow their backs to get into a rhythm. Miami must feature Jordan Howard and Matt Breida exclusively on Sunday. Coaches have stated that they wanted to get Breida more involved in the offense and he is a player that can change the game in a hurry. Breida, one of the fastest players in the NFL, is a big play waiting to happen. Howard and Breida should share the workload and using more screen passes will open up the rush. Miami’s run game will be the most effective if they can pass successfully. Once Miami becomes one dimensional, the offense becomes very predictable. The offensive line must play like they did last week for Miami to have a chance in this game. Just as in week 1, the team that can have the most successful running game will win.


Advantage: Buffalo Bills


This game will be won on the defensive side of the ball. This is not going to be a shootout, but more of a complete football game. Besides the running game, the turnover battle will be another key component to a win. Both quarterbacks have their kryptonite. Fitzpatrick’s is his interceptions, and he had 3 last week. Josh Allen his fumbling. Allen fumbled the ball twice last week against the Jets and has now coughed up the ball 24 times in 29 career games. We can see a lot of game-changing plays on both sides of the ball. Both teams want the other to throw the ball as much as possible. The Bills will have to make up for the losses of Milano and Edmunds. Both of them play key roles in the team’s entire success. This provides Miami with a chance to run the ball very effectively and attack the backup linebackers in the passing game. Screen passes and passes to the tight end should be a focal point of Miami’s offense. As we’ve discussed at nausea, the Dolphins must stop the Bills run. Until they are able to do that, the Dolphins will struggle to win games this season. It won’t matter how good Miami’s secondary is because they won’t ever be tested if they can’t contain the opponent’s run game. The Dolphins will need to force a turnover or two on Sunday to give the offense as many chances as possible to put points on the scoreboard. An interception, fumble, or stop on fourth down will be a huge momentum shift.

Advantage- Buffalo Bills


The Dolphins will be playing their first game at home this season and there will be fans in attendance. We have to see if that will be an advantage for Miami on Sunday but we can assume it will be. It will be nearly 90 degrees at kickoff and the Bills will have to battle the tough south Florida sun. A home game for Miami is always a tough place for away teams to play.

Advantage- Miami Dolphins


Keys to the game for Miami-

Stop the run

-Win the turnover battle

-Establish the run game

-Make 2-3 big plays in the passing game

-Control the time of possession


In conclusion, the Dolphins can win this game. The Dolphins have the advantage of being the home team and that alone can change the outcome. Hopefully, the players look like a completely different team than it did in week 1. All three phases of the game have to be better. The Dolphins will need to limit the Bills to fewer than 25 points and Miami’s offense needs to put up around 28 points to win this game. It will be a defensive, physical game that will test Miami’s grit. As I stated earlier, the Dolphins play two games in a five-day span and have a great opportunity to change their season. These 5 days will show us a lot about the team. The Dolphins play the Jaguars on Thursday Night Football, which will be a very winnable game. Miami must remain focused and come out firing on all cylinders or they will fall to 0-2.