During Week 2 of the 2020-21 season, the undefeated Buffalo Bills traveled to take on the winless Miami Dolphins. Miami had just come off of an opening week road loss to the New England Patriots.
Fast forward to this year, Buffalo is coming off of a tough loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers. Meanwhile, Miami was able to right the wrongs of last year and come out with the victory in New England this time around.
The turning point
Last season, the Bills not only swept the AFC East, but it also took a commanding two-game lead in the division after as many weeks. That lead proved to be insurmountable. The Dolphins remained in striking distance the entire season but could not quite close the gap.
Taking a look back
Last year, the Dolphins and the Bills both were without key players on defense. Buffalo was down a few starting linebackers. Correspondingly, Miami was without one of its starting cornerbacks. Both teams looked to exploit these deficiencies.
The Dolphins went with a heavy dose of Mike Gesicki. Buffalo’s backup linebackers were no match for the tight end, as Gesicki had a monster game with 130 yards and a touchdown. Similarly, Bills quarterback Josh Allen torched Miami secondary for 415 passing yards and four touchdowns. The main victim was rookie cornerback Noah Igbinoghene, filling in for the injured Byron Jones.
The Josh Allen factor
The Dolphins continue to struggle against the run and especially against mobile quarterbacks. Buffalo will look to take advantage of that this time around as always. To emphasize this point, Allen is 5-1 against the Dolphins and 4-0 during the Brian Flores era.
Miami will be without Raekwon Davis up front on defense. The Bills will test Miami’s defense early and often to see if they can compensate for the loss.
Miami’s path to victory
Josh Allen is 2-9 when trailing by 10 points in a game. To win this game the Dolphins must:
- Start fast / Get an early lead
- Control the ground game (establish the run and stop Buffalo’s run game)
- Push the tempo and wear Buffalo out (high of 88 degrees in Miami)
Good teams go for the knockout punch when presented with the opportunity. Franchise quarterbacks rise to these moments. Great coaches prepare their teams to seize these moments.
For that matter, Miami believes it has a good team. The Dolphins believe it has its quarterback of the future. Miami also believes in its coach. While most of the world may not agree with those statements, changing their minds starts with a win over Buffalo this Sunday.
Bills fans, affectionately known as, “The Bills Mafia,” are known for breaking tables as a pregame ritual.
The Dolphins have no interest in breaking tables, but they sure are looking to turning them this week.
A win will keep Miami in the driver’s seat in the division with a two-game lead over the consensus favorites to win the division.