BUFFALO — The Dolphins need a win to keep their playoff hopes alive. They’re also 3-point underdogs at Buffalo on Sunday, which means Vegas sees the talent level on these squads as fairly even.
But there are some obvious keys to beating the Bills. And for that to happen, these groups must flourish on Sunday:
LeSean McCoy is one of the most dangerous rushers in the NFL. And Tyrod Taylor can be a very dangerous rushing quarterback, so much so that Ndamukong Suh considers him a running back who can throw. Lawrence Timmons has bounced back from a slump, but this is a tremendous challenge. At least he’s used to playing in the cold. Kiko Alonso has begun to make more plays. And Chase Allen seems to be gaining some traction, too. The Bills have an average offensive line and former Dolphins tight end Charles Clay has not shined so far this season. Stephone Anthony had a reduction in reps last week but this could be a good matchup for a bounce-back in playing time.
Jay Ajayi went for 214 and 206 yards against the Bills last season, so all eyes will be on Drake to see if he can provide a staggering yard total this season. Miami’s rushing game is improving as Ted Larsen has done a few things at left guard and Jesse Davis is emerging at right guard. Bills defensive tackle Kyle Williams is always capable of causing issues. But the Bills linebackers have not been very good. If Drake is able to break a few plays into the second level, the opportunity for big plays will again present themselves. If Drake can produce a third straight 100-yard game, he will truly begin to silence some skeptics.
The Bills corners have played pretty well. Tre’Davious White is an excellent rookie. E.J. Gaines and Leonard Johnson are solid. This brings us to Miami. Kenny Stills and Jarvis Landry have had breakout games the last two weeks. Perhaps this is an opportunity for DeVante Parker to show he can make a valuable contribution down the stretch. You wouldn’t think the cold weather would help any lingering aches or pains Parker may have. Could Jakeem Grant be called upon for a few extra reps this week? He may deserve a few. After throwing the kitchen sink at New England last week, how much creativity does Adam Gase dial up on Sunday? Facing the Bills twice in three weeks, perhaps he doesn’t show all his cards in this one.