3 KEY MATCHUPS TO FOLLOW
1. John Brown vs. Miami corners
With Xavien Howard out for the season, Miami has continued to rotate corners through the course of the game. Ken Webster struggled in the first matchup with the Bills as did Nik Needham, but word is they’re improving. We’ll see if they fare any better against Brown.
2. Jon Feliciano vs. Christian Wilkins
This matchup never got a chance to take place in the first meeting between the teams as Wilkins was thrown out of the game on the first series after throwing a punch. Wilkins has been an emerging stalwart on Miami’s defensive line.
3. Tre’Davious White vs. DeVante Parker
With WR Preston Williams out for the season after a knee injury, Parker is the Dolphins clear number one receiver. After a productive game in the first meeting with the Bills (5-55, 1 TD), it’s possible that Buffalo has White travel with Parker, without Williams in the lineup.
2 THINGS TO KNOW ABOUT THE OPPONENT
On a streak
Very quietly the Dolphins have won two in a row. After a home win over the Jets, they went on the road and beat a Colts team, albeit without starting quarterback Jacoby Brissett. Ryan Fitzpatrick has completed over 65 percent of his passes the last two games and the Dolphins had just two turnovers in those two games.
Running back carousel
Suspension and trades have forced the Dolphins to spin the wheel at the running back position. Miami traded Kenyan Drake to Arizona and Mark Walton was suspended four games for violating the league’s personal conduct policy. The game against the Bills will be game two of the suspension. So Kalen Ballage is the starter at running back with Patrick Laird and Myles Gaskin serving as the complementary backs. Ballage is currently last in the league in yards per carry average, among qualifying backs, at 2.1 on the season.
1 THING THAT COULD DECIDE THE GAME
New England provided a blueprint for defenses when facing Josh Allen. Send blitzes at him on third-and-medium to force him to speed up his internal clock when it comes to making decisions on where to go with the ball. Cleveland copied the approach and although they did not get the turnovers that the Patriots did, they did force enough incompletions to win the game.
Will Miami HC Brian Flores, who coaches a similar defensive scheme to that of the Patriots employ similar tactics? And will the Bills incorporate quicker and easier answers into the game plan to counter those calls?
--It may have been just taking advantage of a favorable situation, but the Dolphins defense, which had all of three interceptions on the season, notched three in their win over the Colts last week. Facing backup Brian Hoyer, Miami turned those three takeaways into 13 points in a 16-12 victory.
--Running the ball has proven especially difficult for the Dolphins all season. The last couple of weeks in particular have been a major struggle. Miami has averaged just 2.4 yards per carry combined in their games against the Jets (2.1 ypc) and Colts (2.7 ypc). On the season they rank last in the league on the ground, managing just 64 yards per game.
--Miami CB Eric Rowe has played mostly safety since the Dolphins faced the Bills the first time. Initially it was due to an injury to starter Reshad Jones, and he has also been brought up to the line of scrimmage at times to help set the edge as well.
--Starting C Daniel Kilgore missed the first Bills game due to injury, but is expected to start on Sunday. That has moved his backup Evan Boehm back to his right guard position.
--With the loss of WR Preston Williams to a season-ending knee injury, the Dolphins claimed speed WR Gary Jennings off waivers from Seattle last week. He did not play in Miami’s game at Indianapolis last Sunday, but the offensive staff gave indication that if he can master his role in a game plan he could get an opportunity. The rookie caught 168 passes in college at West Virginia for almost 2,300 yards and 17 touchdowns.
As the Bills prepare to play on the road against the Miami Dolphins, scroll through to view photos from previous matchups between the two opponents.