Top 3 Individual Matchups
1 – Robert Foster vs. Xavien Howard The emerging deep threat for the Bills passing game will likely square off against Miami’s fastest corner in Howard, who leads the Dolphins with five interceptions.
2 – Jordan Mills vs. Cameron Wake The Dolphins ageless pass rusher has had been a disruptive force versus the Bills in the past. He had 2.5 sacks in his two games against Mills last season.
3 – Kyle Williams vs. Jesse Davis Coming off of one of his best performances this season, Williams could have his way with the Dolphins right guard both versus the run and the pass.
Bills Top 2 Advantages
Good advantage – Run game Buffalo’s rushing attack has been enhanced by the return of Josh Allen, who presents the added dimension of a read-option game. Knowing the Dolphins are giving up almost 140 yards on the ground, it could be a good day for LeSean McCoy.
Best advantage – Pass defense The Bills top ranked unit hasn’t given up much despite facing QBs by the name of Brady, Cousins, Luck, Rodgers, Rivers and Watson this season. With a pass rush that is trending up right now, Buffalo stands a good chance of holding the Miami passing game in check.
Bills Number 1 Must
Continue first down success Buffalo’s offense has seen a major uptick in production due mainly to their efficiency on first down. Over their last two games the Bills have averaged 7.5 yards per play on first down. Against a Dolphins defense that ranks 29th in yards per play allowed, Josh Allen and company should be able to stay in manageable down and distance.
Amendola a question mark Already battling a hamstring issue going into last week’s game at Indianapolis, Danny Amendola sustained a knee injury early in the game against the Colts and did not return. The slot receiver leads the Dolphins in receptions and receiving yards by a wide margin.
Head coach Adam Gase said Amendola likely will not practice until Friday when his status for Sunday will ultimately be determined. If he can’t play Sunday, Kenny Stills is expected to fill Amendola’s slot receiver role.
Ballhawks Over the past couple of season, Miami has done a lot to raise the playmaking level of their secondary. This season they’re reaping the rewards of those player investments. Through 11 games, the Dolphins ranks third in the league in total takeaways with 22, and second in interceptions with 17. Only the Chicago Bears (20) have more INTs than the Dolphins. As a result Miami is second in the AFC with a plus-six turnover margin.
Red zone woes Miami’s offense has experienced monumental struggles when it comes to punching it in after reaching the red zone. First and foremost, the Dolphins are tied for the second fewest red zone possessions in the league with the Bills (22). But Miami has been one of the least successful teams are crossing the goal line once inside their opponent’s 20-yard line. The Dolphins have scored a league-low nine red zone touchdowns this season for a success rate of just 41 percent. That ranks 31st in the NFL.
Big play givers If there’s one area of Miami’s defense that has been a persistent problem, it’s giving up the big play. Through their first 11 games, the Dolphins defense has surrendered a whopping 54 plays of 20 yards or more, with eight of them going for touchdowns.
Those 54 plays of 20-plus yards is the fifth-highest total in the league. Surprisingly, 13 of those 54 plays of 20 yards or more allowed have come on running plays.
Ace returner out If there is one area where Miami has excelled it’s in the return game. The Dolphins rank third in the league in kick return average and second in the league in punt return average. However, their primary return man, Jakeem Grant, was placed on injured reserve this week.
He was the only returner in the league who had a touchdown on a kick return and a punt return. Grant was fifth in the league in kick return average (29.7) and he leads the league in punt return average (16.3). He was replaced on the roster by practice squad call up WR Isaiah Ford.
Quote of the week “We’ve got to continue to develop all of these players, and not just the young ones, but all of our football players. [For] these young guys, it’s not always going to look like it should, so you kind of have to balance that with continuing to teach these players and then at some point they’re either going to get it or they’re not. To the coaches’ credit, most of them are starting to get it.”
--Head coach Sean McDermott
Stat of the week Matt Milano needs one interception to make it three straight games with an INT, which would be the first three-game streak in the NFL by a linebacker since Tampa’s Lavonte David did it in 2013.
Milestones in reach Robert Foster needs 90 receiving yards or more Sunday to become the first Bills player with three consecutive games of 90-plus receiving yards since Lee Evans did it in 2007.
Stephen Hauschka (16) needs to make his next three field goal attempts for the longest consecutive field goal streak in team annals (19).
LeSean McCoy needs 74 rushing yards to move into 25th place on the league’s all-time rushing list, passing Thomas Jones (10,591).
The Bills and Dolphins have alternated season sweeps each of the last three seasons. Buffalo swept the Dolphins in 2015 and 2017, with Miami taking both matchups in 2016.