10. History of the matchup
September 18, 1966 is when the Dolphins and Bills met for the first time. After scoring 48 points in the first half, the Bills went on to win 58-24 at home. From there, the up-and-down rivalry roller coaster took off.
For about a decade, it was all Miami when Don Shula took over as head coach in the 1970s. But the competition started to grow a few years later during the Jim Kelly and Dan Marino era. Now, it's up to Allen and Tagovailoa to see which team will ride the next wave of the long-standing rival.
The Dolphins have the upper hand in 113 regular season games with a 61-51-1 record. But the Bills hold the better playoff record, 3-1, including the win over the Dolphins in the 1992 AFC Championship Game.
Since 2017, McDermott's first year in Buffalo, Bills have a 5-0 record at home vs. Miami and are 9-2 vs. the Dolphins overall under the head coach.
9. Allen's success on Saturday + against Miami
So far in his NFL career, Allen is 7-2 against the Dolphins. In those nine games, Allen has 27 touchdowns and has completed 202 of 316 pass attempts for 2,380 yards.
The QB has also won three player of the week honors versus the division rival.
No.17 has also enjoyed success playing on Saturdays with a 4-2 record. In six Saturday games, including playoffs, Allen has a 108.3 QB rating, has completed 135 of 209 passes for 1,669 yards, 12 TDs, and 0 INTs.
8. Primetime Saturday night football
The importance surrounding this extremely crucial divisional matchup made for the perfect Saturday night primetime game for eyes all over the world to be on. The last time the two teams played under the lights was in Miami on November 13, 2014, where the Dolphins beat the Bills 22-9.
Saturday marks the 15th time the Bills and Dolphins are facing off in primetime in their series history. There have been 10 games on Monday, two on Sunday, and two on Thursday.
Buffalo will be playing a regular season game in primetime on a Saturday for just the third time in franchise history (At Seattle in 2000 and vs. Denver in 2005).
7. Jesse Winker and Bills Mafia make it a destination game
Buffalo native and outfielder for the Milwaukee Brewers, Jesse Winker is making the trip to Buffalo for Saturday night's game.
The avid Bills fan grew up celebrating every game day with his family. Now, he's looking forward to being a part of a wintery game-day experience at Highmark Stadium for a battle of the East.
"It's definitely a storied rivalry," Winker said. "There's been great players part of both franchises forever. It's fun to have the AFC be strong again. I think it's great for the fans and for football."
Winker had the Week 15 matchup between the Bills and Dolphins highlighted on his calendar since the schedule was released. And then after the Bills lost to Miami in Week 3, he knew this was the game he wanted to come to this season in hopes of seeing the opposite result.
"Personally, Bills-Dolphins is my favorite rivalry," Winker said. "I think it's up there with all the other sports rivalries, so it's going to be a fun one. I hope it snows, it's freezing, and it's the exact opposite of Miami weather."
6. South Florida connections
LS Reid Ferguson and Dolphins LS Blake Ferguson are the only pair of brothers to be long snappers in NFL history.
Offensive Coordinator Ken Dorsey played at the University of Miami from 1999-02 and left as the winningest QB In school history with a record of 38-2.
DE Greg Rousseau played at the U of Miami from 2018-19 and led the ACC with 15.5 sacks in 2019.
DT Jordan Phillips was a Dolphins second-round draft pick in 2015 and spent his first three seasons in Miami. DE Shaq Lawson also played 13 games for Miami in 2020.
RB James Cook and WR Isiah McKenzie are both from Miami. S Jaquan Johnson is also a Miami native and played DB at the U of Miami.
RB Devin Singletary is from Deerfield Beach (about an hour away from Miami) and CB Xavier Rhodes is from Miami Gardens, FL.
5. Diggs v. Hill
From his time in Kansas City to his new job in Miami, WR Tyreek Hill has always been a problem for the Bills. And no matter what QB is throwing to Hill, they love to get the ball in his hands.
But the same goes for WR Stefon Diggs, who is an offensive threat regardless of who he's lined up against because of his connection with Allen. So, expect all eyes on the QB-WR duos come Saturday night.
"I think we haven't seen the Josh Allen and Stefon Diggs connection that we got used to seeing early on in the season, and I think they're ready to explode," Jason McCourty said on GMFB. "They're ready to go out there and have a 300-yard day where Stefon Diggs has 150 yards … I think in this cold weather, they're going to have a great day."
Hill (1,460) and Diggs (1,239) both rank among the top receivers for most receiving yards this season. Saturday's game will be the fourth game in NFL history featuring opposing players that each had 1,200+ rec. yards that season entering a matchup in Week 15 or earlier.
4. Marquee QB matchup
Josh Allen and Tua Tagovailoa are two of the NFL's most valued quarterbacks. They are 2 of 4 qualified QBs that have averaged at least 2 passing TDs per game this season, along with Kansas City Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes and Cincinnati Bengals QB Joe Burrow.
As for their history against one another, Allen has three wins and Tagovailoa has one. Week 3 was Tagovailoa's first win in four head-to-head matchups with Allen. Here's a look at their numbers in their first four meetings:
ALLEN: 65% COMP%, 263 PASS YPG, 9-2 PASS TD-INT, 96.5 PASS RATE
TAGOVAILOA: 58.8% COMP%, 191.3 PASS YPG, 2-4 PASS TD-INT, 69.5 PASS RATE
3. A tale of two weather situations
The last time these two teams faced off, it was at Miami's Hard Rock Stadium in intense heat with a blazing hot sun that was beating directly on the Bills' sidelines. The high 80-degree temps felt like almost 100 degrees.
This time around, Buffalo will welcome the Dolphins to Highmark Stadium with an approximated nine inches of lake effect snow sprinkled in with a bitter temperature of 30 degrees and a frigid wind chill right around kickoff.
But this isn't the first rodeo for Bills players, coaches, and fans. Players have learned how to properly prepare to play in Buffalo's winter weather conditions and are embracing the home-field advantage. But are the Dolphins up for the task?
"In the cold is how football is meant to be played," Knox said. "I think everybody that's up here is happy to play in the cold … We're super excited for the elements and we hope it's as cold as it can possibly be on Saturday night."
2. Playoff Positioning
December and January football is what it all comes down to. With a handful of divisional games left on the schedule, every game matters.
The Bills can clinch a playoff berth with a win over the Dolphins on Saturday night. This would mark a playoff appearance in five-of-six seasons under head coach Sean McDermott.
The Bills currently hold the No. 1 seed in the AFC and a win against the Dolphins would increase their chances of keeping that spot as the regular season comes to a close. According to the New York Times playoff simulator, the Bills will have a 62% chance of earning a bye week to start the playoffs with a win on Saturday night.
"We're taking it one game at a time, and it happens to be against a division rival we've already lost to this year," QB Josh Allen said on what the message to the team is. "We're just working on putting our best foot forward in practice this week and trying to put together a good game plan to try to go execute on Saturday night."
As for the Dolphins, a loss to the Bills leaves them with a 58% chance of making the playoffs while a win bumps them up to 84%.
1. AFC East Division title is on the line
Heading into Saturday night's AFC East rematch between the Bills and the Miami Dolphins, the 10-3 Bills are the No.1 seed in the competitive AFC East and the Dolphins are just behind them at the No. 2 seed with an 8-5 record.
A win against the Dolphins would bring the Bills to 3-2 in the AFC East and one step closer to clinching the division title. Week 16 is the earliest the Bills can clinch the AFC East if they get the win on Saturday night AND the following week against the Chicago Bears. If all goes as planned, this will mark the Bills' third-straight season winning the AFC East.
The Bills started this season 0-2 versus divisional opponents, with their first regular season and divisional loss coming to the Dolphins in Week 3. But recent wins over the New England Patriots and the New York Jets moved the Bills to 2-2 in the division.