Dolphins vs. Bills: How do they match up in Week 17?

How do the Miami Dolphins (6-9) and Buffalo Bills (8-7) match up for Sunday’s NFL Week 17 game at Hard Rock Stadium?

Charles Harris #90 of the Miami Dolphins and teammate Ndamukong Suh #93 attempt to tackle Tyrod Taylor #5 of the Buffalo Bills during the first quarter on December 17, 2017 at New Era Field in Orchard Park, New York. (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)

When the Dolphins have the ball…

Miami total offense (28th in NFL) vs. Buffalo total defense (25th in NFL)
Miami scoring offense (26th) vs. Buffalo scoring defense (18th)

Miami passing offense (19th) vs. Buffalo pass defense (18th)

Mistakes were the deciding factor for Jay Cutler and the Dolphins offense against the Bills two weeks ago in Buffalo. Miami relied heavily on the passing game, but despite Cutler throwing the ball 49 times, he failed to reach the 300-yard mark, didn’t register a touchdown and tossed three interceptions. He bounced back a bit against Kansas City, but still showed troubling inaccuracy, completing only 19 of 38 attempts. Buffalo’s pass defense has forced the fourth-most interceptions in the league and, with Cutler’s struggles, more turnovers could be in store. Edge: Bills

Miami rushing offense (28th) vs. Buffalo rush defense (30th)

Kenyan Drake came back down to earth last week against a stingy Chiefs defense, but his performance was at least partially a byproduct of Adam Gase’s play-calling. The Dolphins’ uneven play-calling plagued Jay Ajayi early in his Dolphins career, too, and has, at times, severely handcuffed the offense’s most talented weapons. With little left to play for, it’s possible that Gase shifts his attention away from the passing game. If that happens, expect Drake to find holes along Buffalo’s defensive front, as he did on his 16 carries for 78 yards and a touchdown in their first matchup. Edge: Dolphins


When the Bills have the ball…

Buffalo total offense (29th in NFL) vs. Miami total defense (18th in NFL)
Buffalo scoring offense (24th) vs. Miami scoring defense (28th)

Buffalo passing offense (32nd) vs. Miami pass defense (17th)

Tyrod Taylor’s dual-threat ability has carved up the Dolphins several times over the past few years, including two weeks ago when he completed 17 of 29 passes for 224 yards and a touchdown, and added another 42 yards and a score on the ground. Miami’s front seven will need to get pressure on Taylor if they hope to flip the script this time around. Miami couldn’t get enough pressure in the first matchup, and it’s hard to envision a drastic change just two weeks later. Edge: Bills

Buffalo rushing (6th) vs. Miami rush defense (15th)

LeSean McCoy ran all over the Dolphins early in their Week 15 game, something Miami will need to rectify if they want to keep their defense off the field. The Dolphins have the chance to close out an impressive turnaround campaign, at least from the perspective of their run defense, as they’ve improved quite a bit after being one of the worst defensive units against the run last year. McCoy has been running well, especially of late, having gained 71 yards on just 17 carries against the Patriots last week. With the motivation of a playoff spot on the line, the Bills should be able to move the ball. Edge: Bills


Special teams

Buffalo’s Steven Hauschka missed a field goal last week against New England, his fourth miss in 30 attempts this season. Miami’s Cody Parkey also missed last week, just his second of the season and his first from inside 50 yards. Punters Colton Schmidt and Matt Haack have nearly identical average-yardage stats, though the Dolphin has pinned his opponents inside their 20 a few more times. Edge: Dolphins