3 KEY MATCHUPS
1. Jordan Phillips vs. Michael Deiter
Fresh off a three-sack performance, Phillips should be given opportunities against Miami’s struggling left guard. He could have a repeat performance against an offensive line that’s surrendered 23 sacks in five games.
2. Jordan Poyer vs. Mike Gesicki
Poyer usually draws tight end coverage assignments and he’s got a tall drink of water to face this week in the 6-6, Gesicki. Sneaky down the seam and able to catch passes in traffic, Poyer will need to plaster against the second-year tight end.
3. Bills receivers vs. Dolphins DBs
Miami’s secondary is a bit banged up with injuries and it’s part of the reason they’re giving up more yards per completion than any other defense in football. Buffalo’s receiving corps needs to take advantage of the Dolphins deficiencies on the back end, which isn’t helped any on the front end due to a lack of consistent pass rush.
2 THINGS TO KNOW ABOUT THE OPPONENT
Miami head coach Brian Flores last week committed to Josh Rosen as his starter for the remainder of the regular season. Then he benched Rosen for the fourth quarter of last Sunday’s game against Washington and Ryan Fitzpatrick staged a comeback that almost won the Dolphins their first game of the season.
On Wednesday, Flores did a 180 and named Ryan Fitzpatrick the starter for Sunday’s game against he Bills. He said there were a myriad of reasons, but it’s a quick reversal after initially backing Rosen for the last 11 games of the season.
The Dolphins defense hasn’t been any better than the offense. Ranked last in yards allowed and points allowed, Miami has been unable to keep opponents out of the end zone. They’ve given up 15 touchdowns on 20 opportunities inside their 20-yard line for a league-high touchdown rate of more than 71 percent.
On 50 percent of opponent possessions this season, Miami has surrendered points (28 out of 56) giving up 21 touchdowns and seven field goals.
Opposing quarterbacks have a combined passer rating of 131, which far and away is the highest opponent passer rating in the league for a defense. Quarterbacks are completing more than 70 percent of their passes against Miami (70.4) and are averaging 9.7 yards per attempt.
1 THINGS THAT COULD DECIDE THE GAME
Sustained offensive drives
Buffalo’s offense is still developing their identity, but if they can keep the chains moving against the league’s 30th ranked third down defense, it should go a long way into putting the Bills ahead on the scoreboard. The Dolphins send opponents three-and-out just 14 percent of the time, fourth-lowest in the NFL.
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.
--Miami’s top CB Xavien Howard is still working his way back from his latest knee injury. There is growing concern that with this being Howard’s third knee injury in four years that his knee problems could become chronic.
--It’s alarming the lack of takeaways that the Dolphins defense has been able to generate. Through five games, Miami has just two takeaways, one interception and one fumble recovery. It’s tied for the lowest total this season with Jacksonville. And off those two turnovers, Miami has not scored any points.
--There’s a new addition to Miami’s offensive backfield. RB Mark Walton was inserted into the lineup this past week after he was picked up off waivers from Cincinnati and he did not disappoint. Working largely as a tandem with starter Kenyan Drake, Walter had six carries for 32 yards and five receptions for 43 yards. The second-year player has passed Kalen Ballage on the depth chart and figures to see even more time against the Bills this week.
--Miami starting C Daniel Kilgore is dealing with a knee injury and may not be ready in time for Sunday’s game in Buffalo. He didn’t practice Wednesday. If he can’t go, RG Evan Boehm would slide into the pivot for the Dolphins.
--The Dolphins could be in the market for a return specialist. Their primary returner, Jakeem Grant, has been dealing with a hamstring injury and missed last week’s game. WR Preston Williams handled punt returns and RB Kenyan Drake handled kick returns against Washington last Sunday.