Whoaaaaaaaaaaaaaah! 2-0 and WHAT a way to do it. Everything has already been dissected, analyzed, and reported about last week’s win over the Ravens, and finally, we saw the explosion of this new Miami Dolphins offense.

I know I personally, like many Dolphins fans around the world, was ecstatic to see Tua arrive in such a major way. He has won games consistently since coming into the league but has never won over the masses, but finally Sunday he showed that he has what it takes to be considered in the highest qualities. It’s what Dolphins fans have been waiting for and my word, it was glorious when it happened. We now need to see that consistently for him to put those last few naysayers to sleep.

But this week will be far from easy. This week we have two games on a short week. Thursday sees us take on Joe Burrow and the Bengals, a quarterback who will be forever linked with Tua, simply as the first two QBs to be taken from that draft class. But before that, the biggest test. A divisional match-up with the Buffalo Bills.

The bills are RELENTLESS this season, they have demolished their opponents in the first two weeks and you don’t have to search the Bills Mafia Twitterverse for long to see that they feel like they can do the same this weekend. And who can blame them, they have been dominant this season, they have elite players all over the roster and they have absolutely schooled our Miami teams over the last few years, we haven’t been able to get anywhere near them.

So to see if that tide is about to change, and to see if the Bills have seen any threat to our team at all, I have been speaking to one of the founding members of the #BIllsMafia tag, Del Reid (@DelReid) to hear all about the Buffalo fanbase’s thoughts on our upcoming fixture…

Hello mate, great to link up here, and great to get a fellow Reid in the series! Some people may be familiar with you as a recognizable member of the Bills fanbase, but for those who are unaware, give us a bit on an introduction to you, if you could.

Hey friend! Thanks so much for inviting me to be a part of this, love this idea. My name is Del and I am one of the co-founders of the movement among Bills fans known as “Bills Mafia.” What began as an inside joke between a few other Bills fans and me on Twitter way back in 2011 has now blossomed into the de facto name of the fanbase. It’s crazy. Our goal has always been to use the platform to support not only the team on the field but the community that is cheering it on as well.

I’m also the founder of 26 Shirts, an organization that sells limited edition Buffalo-themed apparel that supports local charities and families in need. Since its inception in 2013, we raised nearly $1.5m that we’ve been able to donate back into the community.

But most importantly, I’m a husband to an amazing woman and a father to two amazing girls. One in college and the other making her way through high school, with graduation just a few years away.

Love that mate, love that you have thrown that in. I know this is a football series but family first always so as a fellow girl dad, I respect that. But it IS a football series, so back to it. I mean, you HAVE to be feeling good this season right? Everything seems to be falling into place and this roster seems to be taking advantage of it in a big way. Is a Superbowl appearance the only acceptable outcome this year?

Honestly? Yes. After the past couple of seasons, anything short of a Super Bowl appearance is going to feel like a disappointment. This team lost in the AFC Championship two seasons ago, and then in the divisional round last season (in what was really a game for the ages)… at this point, there are no more moral victories to be had. And for me, I’m 46. I lived through the Super Bowl years back in the early 90s. Appearances are fun but I’m ready for a parade. Nothing would make me happier than to be doing this interview with you next year, and answering a question like “do you think they can repeat?”

Good to hear you’re locking yourself in for a repeat article again next year! Saved me a job there haha! But I get you, to go through the ups and never maximize that opportunity and watch your team drop further and further away from it in the following years, now you’re back there the appetite to capitalize must be fierce. Miami isn’t in that position just yet, but I feel like I can understand the perspective.

Because it’s been a process to hasn’t it? This wasn’t a case of signing a star and watching it blow up, you went through the underwhelming opening years of Josh Allen and stuck by him to see him flourish into a league leader. You have added pieces around him year after yet and this feels like you have the fully rounded finished article, of course, you want to see that process end in the ultimate success. Have there been any surprises or did you expect this all-round process completion?

Probably the biggest “surprise” is just how well the two rookie corners, Kaiir Elam and Christian Benford have played these first two games. With Tre’Davious White out until at least week four, the two of them have played well in rotation as they cover that spot on the other side of Dane Jackson. Obviously, with Dane Jackson’s injury on Monday Night Football a couple of days ago, the two of them are going to have quite the task on Sunday doing their best to account for Jaylen Waddle and Tyreek Hill.

Also, I wouldn’t say it’s a surprise per se, but the way Brandon Beane was able to completely revamp the defensive line is remarkable. I remember when the news broke that the Bills had signed Von Miller, I had to check Ian Rapaport’s tweet like 3 or 4 times just to make sure it wasn’t some kind of spoof account. As a Buffalo fan, it’s crazy to think of this team as now being a destination for free agents… but here we are. In the past couple of seasons, the front four has probably been the weakest unit on the roster. Now, with the addition of Miller and the return of Jordan Phillips, that unit is playing lights out.

Yeah, that defensive front is scary. Our offensive line has been weak for the last few seasons anyway, but watching you guys slice through that BEFORE Von Miller was a source of so much frustration. Thankfully I’m seeing reports of Jordan Phillips missing this week, so at least that’s one less person to stress about. Is there anywhere else that can give us hope? Are you underperforming in any area that we could exploit?

As I mentioned above, I think the Dolphins would be wise to focus on the two rookie corners that are going to be in Buffalo’s defensive backfield. That’s a lot of inexperience going up against two of the most dynamic receivers in the game.

Ok, yeah I’ll take that! After seeing Tua go off on two experienced players last week, it gives me hope that he could take advantage of the rookies at times. Now I know Humphrey and Peters were banged up last week, but regardless of that, they couldn’t hang with Tyreek and Waddle in that second half, and Tua found them consistently. Yeah, that gives me hope.

How have the rest of your rookies settled? Have they slotted in well or are they easing their way in behind more established veterans?

Aside from the two cornerbacks I’ve mentioned a few times now, James Cook is probably the most notable name to mention here. After fumbling on his first NFL carry in week one’s win over the Rams, he didn’t see the field much at all during the rest of that first game. This past Monday, he was able to get a lot of garbage time in during the fourth quarter, which was basically a preseason game once both teams had subbed in their second stringers after a Titans’ win was off the table. But he played well enough to be the game’s leading rusher when it was all said and done.

Ah James Cook, the one that got away for me personally. I was very high on his name in the draft process just gone. Knowing how Coach Mike loves his run game and how much we’d struggled in that department over recent years, I really had hopes that he would land in South Beach, but it wasn’t to be. And I hope that doesn’t come back on me on Sunday!

Talking of Coach Mike, what do you guys expect of a Miami Dolphins side built in his image? We have had examples of the efficiency side in the first week and examples of the explosive side in week 2, but what are you guys expecting? Was Sunday’s comeback a surprise to you or did you always see us as stepping up this year?

Honestly, before this season I wasn’t very impressed with Tua. But when the Dolphins traded for Tyreek Hill, I had a feeling that his stats would begin to trend upward… and lo and behold, here we are. In terms of overall expectations, I’m interested to see how the offense grows and evolves over the season. As a disciple of Kyle Shanahan, Mike McDaniel definitely has the professional pedigree for success in this league.

I wasn’t surprised with the comeback against the Ravens. It’s easy to see that Miami is on the rise, and there are going to be signature wins like that along the way.

Coach Mike is certainly legit, I firmly believe that. He was right in the mix with Shanahan and that group, a key player in that group, and now he is branching out alone it has been wonderful to see his development and fresh approach. After years of soundbites and cliches from the likes of Philbin, Gase, and Flores, to see this authentic approach from Coach Mike is refreshing.

So with that in mind, and with Coach Mike working his charm and magic, is there anyone in that aqua uniform who concerns you?

Tyreek. Hill.

That man has had a huge impact in every game he’s played against Buffalo the past several seasons with the Chiefs. He’s going to get his no matter what, there is nothing defenses can really do about it.

But especially with the banged up (Micah Hyde and Jordan Poyer), inexperienced (Elam and Benford) secondary Buffalo will be fielding Sunday, you just have to go into it knowing that the potential for a shoot-out is on the table. There are few weapons in this league that are on the level of Hill.

Yeah, and the name and reputation to go with it have him a popular name when I ask opposition fans this question, so considering the history between Hill and the Bills, it’s unsurprising to see him be the beginning and end of that list.

From our perspective though, I hope you ARE concerned by him and put focus on him. Because that could just free up the likes of Waddle and Gesicki who accounted for 3 of Tua’s 6 TDs last week. The more opposition defenses look at Tyreek Hill, the more the rest of our offense can eat.

How about your roster? You have SO much star power this year, it’s almost like every single player is a highlight reel player, a household name. But who else have you got? Who else is balling but the media are not talking about?

Greg Rousseau, last year’s first-round draft pick (from Miami!), had four sacks all last season. He’s now already at half that total, just two games in.  His professional growth at the defensive end position, coupled with the obvious attention Von Miller, just like your point about Tyreek and the other WRs, the attention Miller commands from the opposing team’s offensive line over on the other end, is going to create opportunities for Greg and make him a name that’s more well known in NFL circles by the time this season’s over.

Oh yeah, of course, what a player he is. I never nought into his tumble down the first round in his draft year. He went from a locked-in top-three pick, to falling into your lap later on and I didn’t really understand it. I mean, even us ourselves, we took his Miami teammate Jaelen Phillips ahead of him in that very same draft.

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m all aboard the Phillips train, the man is like Ivan Drago physically, like he was manufactured, but I can’t let that cloud the fact that Rousseau is making waves and I understand why you’d be excited by him.

But I’ve got to go back to our main man after last week. You already mentioned you were unimpressed with Tua ahead of the season, but what about now? Has Sunday made any alterations to that opinion?

Most Buffalo fans (from what I’ve seen) have very little fear of Tua. Like, at all. When you look at how Miami was courting Tom Brady and Deshaun Watson the past couple of offseasons in hopes of replacing him, it’s hard to have a lot of respect for the player. But that said, the addition of Tyreek Hill has obviously helped greatly. (Who knew? Lol) It’s not unlike how Buffalo traded up to draft Sammy Watkins in 2014 so that EJ Manuel would have a top-flight weapon at his disposal. The only difference is, it seems to have worked for Miami.

I think a lot has been made of the Brady and Watson stuff, and I am not going to sit here and deny it. But I also think it is important to recognize that the franchise and team were in very different places at those times. Right now, Tua and the franchise are much more cohesive, and this team is built to be Tua’s team. A lot is made of his weapons now, and that can’t be underestimated, you brought up EJ Manuel, but it’s also similar to when Diggs was brought in to give Allen better hands to throw to. But similarly, you also can’t underestimate the fact that this entire coaching staff has the belief to put him in key positions, to trust him, and to allow him to play.

Put is this way, if Brian Flores was back in the HC seat, would Tua even have had the chance to make that comeback last week? We saw how many times he Benched Tua for Fitzpatrick, Brissett, etc. And with Teddy Bridegwater stood on the sidelines, that could well have happened again. But we are different now, this team is buying into Tua and we are seeing those results.

So. Speaking of results. Give us a match prediction, how is Sunday going to go?

I think Miami is a team on the rise, but they’re not there yet. Bills win 44-30.

Wow, that is a LOT of points on the board! Has the makings of another exciting week if your prediction comes true. The optimist in me is excited after seeing just how good our offense was as last Sunday unfolded. But the realist in me kind of agrees with you.

Not necessarily with the scoreline, but I agree. We are on the rise, we are considerably better and we will continue to get better. But right now, your Bills are pretty much the finished product. I agree, I think we get closer to you guys than we have in the last 4 or 5 meetings, but I also think we may just fall short.

I think I see the Bills winning 38-27. I think we will be in the game all the way through and that itself is a vast improvement over previous years. I see us hanging in with you at 31-27 in the final knockings of the game, only for you guys to rubber stamp the victory in the closing stages.

I hope I am wrong, and I will be cheering every play that makes me wrong haha, but even in that loss, we can seek comfort in the moral victories of improvement and knowing we are getting closer and closer to the super bowl favorites. Making it only a matter of time before we are on a truly even footing, which makes for a tremendous rivalry for the foreseeable future.

Thank you so much for joining me Del, it has been a pleasure and I think our discussions have been incredibly impartial and fair from both sides. I’m looking forward to this Sunday and testing our roster against the best in the league right now. Enjoy the game mate, but hopefully not too much!


And I mean it too, I think that was a very fair discussion with BillsMafia founder Del. And I think we are both in agreement, we are a serious team now and other teams will have to take us seriously! I really think, beyond the twitter bravado, the Bills fanbase is taking us more seriously this year, than they have in the past.

But they are confident, and they have every right to be confident with recent history and their start to the season. So we need to make this game about us.

This is up to us and our Miami Dolphins, the Bills are proving themselves week after week, this is our chance to do the same. If we want to claim to be this serious team, and if we want them to continue taking us seriously, we have to back that up. This is a fantastic opportunity to do exactly that.

We did it with the Patriots, and they know we aren’t to be messed with. Belichick’s end-of-game reaction proved that. We did it to the Ravens and showed the entire NFL what we are capable of and to put respect on the names of our Coach, QB and wider roster. Now we have an opportunity to do it against the Bills and announce ourselves are real contenders.

It will be the hardest test of the season, and my prediction above didn’t have us winning. But I’m taking that realistic head off now, and putting my fan head back on… Let’s DO this Coach!! Let’s DO this Tua! LET’S GO MIAMI!!!

Fins Up!