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Top 6 storylines for Bills vs. Dolphins | Week 8

Tremaine Edmunds (49) sack on Tua Tagovailoa (1) Buffalo Bills vs Miami Dolphins at Bills Stadium on January 3, 2021.  
Photo by Craig Melvin
Tremaine Edmunds (49) sack on Tua Tagovailoa (1) Buffalo Bills vs Miami Dolphins at Bills Stadium on January 3, 2021. Photo by Craig Melvin

The Bills are coming off a bye week break and have the week to get ready for the Miami Dolphins. The Dolphins haven't won a game since their season opener and the Bills are undefeated following a bye under Sean McDermott. 

Here are some of the top storylines to follow heading into Week 8.

1. Buffalo's dominance over Miami

Buffalo has been dominant against Miami over the last few seasons. The Bills have beat the Dolphins in their last six matchups and outscored Miami 232 to 112 in those games. Buffalo has also scored more than 30 points in each of those contests and has the chance to tie a team record of six straight games of at least 30 points on Sunday.

With a win, the Bills will have seven straight victories against the Dolphins making it the longest win streak over Miami in team history. Walking away with a victory would also mean Buffalo would have its first sweep against a division opponent this season.

Miami ranks toward the bottom of the league on offense and defense, while Buffalo sits at the top. On offense, the Dolphins are averaging only 18.1 points per game (29th) and 307.6 total yards per game (28th). Miami is allowing 29.6 points per game (31st) and 414.9 total yards per game (32nd) on defense. The Bills are averaging 33.8 points per game (2nd) and 411.5 total yards per game (6th) on offense. On defense, Buffalo is allowing 16.3 points per game (2nd) and 270.2 total yards per game (1st).

Miami head coach Brian Flores knows they will have to play a complete game in order to compete with the Bills on Sunday.

"They're a balanced football team on offense, defense and special teams," Flores said. "They are well-coached. They got good players. When you play a good football team, we have to play well on all three phases to have success against a good team or really any team in this league because every team is good in this league. That's really what it boils down to. They got good players. They got good coaches. They execute well. They play well together. It's always a tough test, especially going up there."

Buffalo's defense is also the only team in the NFL that has yet to allow a 100-yard receiver this season. Miami's DeVante Parker was the last receiver who posted a 100-yard game against the Bills - in Week 17 of the 2020 season in Buffalo.

2. Miami's tough streak

Miami sits at the bottom of the AFC and hasn't won a game since its season opener against the New England Patriots on September 12. The Dolphins have dropped the last six games and are searching for their second win of the season.

Three of their six losses have been by three points or less. Miami just suffered a two-point loss to the Atlanta Falcons in Week 7 that ended on a game-winning field goal by Atlanta. That made it their second straight loss on a game-winning field goal and third of the season.

Miami head coach Brian Flores says the team has to get more things right on the field so it doesn't come down to just one play.

"When it comes down to a field goal at the end, there's always one or two plays that could have turned it and could have been the difference," Flores explained. "We understand that. We just have to make more plays throughout the game so it doesn't get to that point. Or if it is in that situation like it was yesterday (Week 7), we have to do more offensively, defensively and in the kicking game to pull it out, which we haven't been able to do."

3. Facing a healthy Tua Tagovailoa

Miami quarterback Tua Tagovailoa did not play a full four quarters against the Bills in Week 2 because he came out early due to fracturing his ribs. After being placed on IR and missing three games, he returned for Week 6 where the Jaguars won after a game-winning field goal.

Tagovailoa has had two full games since returning from injury and looks to be healthy heading into this week's matchup against Buffalo. In the last two games, Tagovailoa has completed 74.7% of his passes (3rd) for 620 passing yards (3rd) and thrown for six passing touchdowns (3rd) and has posted a 102.7 passer rating (12th). He also has thrown for 34 first downs during that time span, which is the most in the NFL.

Tagovailoa only had four passing attempts against the Bills in Week 2, but Buffalo will face a quarterback who's coming off two good performances. Miami head coach Brian Flores thinks his QB is making better decisions when he's on the field.

"I think he's been locked in," Flores shared. "I think he's played well the last two weeks. Not perfect but I think he's played well and moved the ball and given us a chance to win the last couple of weeks. We haven't been able to pull it out but I think his psyche is in a good frame of mind."

4. The Bills are working to stay at the top of the AFC

After the bye, Buffalo still sits at the top of the AFC East with a 4-2 record. When it comes to conference standings, the Bills rank fourth. All teams above Buffalo each have five wins and two losses. The Bengals (1st), Raiders (2nd) and Titans (3rd) are the top three in the AFC.

In order to stick to their goal of having the playoffs run through Buffalo, the Bills need another win this weekend to keep pace with the conference's top teams. NFL Network's Kyle Brandt told One Bills Live that even though the Bills lost to the Titans, he believes they are still a talented team who will have a chance in the playoffs.

"I've always felt good about the Bills in 2021," Brandt shared. "What do we know? It's just going to have to be a couple tenacious playoff wins in January for the Bills to do what they want to do. God there's good teams in the AFC and there's good quarterbacks in the AFC. Listen, Tennessee is going to be one of them."

5. Number 50 for Josh Allen

Sunday marks Bills quarterback Josh Allen's 50th start of his career and it comes against a team that has allowed him to shine. Allen has won six out of his seven matchups versus Miami. In those seven games, Allen has thrown 19 passing touchdowns and posted a 108.1 passer rating. The QB has also recorded a passer rating over 110 in all but one of the six wins.

Allen has hit many marks in 50 starts that several quarterbacks haven't come close to. He is the fifth-fastest player in league history to reach 100 total career touchdowns and did it in 47 games. Allen also has the fourth-most touchdowns in 50 games since 1970.

When he recorded his sixth win against the Dolphins and helped the team score 35 points in Week 2, Allen made sure to share that it's not just him who comes to compete against division opponents like Miami.

"We got 52 other guys on the team that contribute to this and go into the scout team as well," Allen said. "We got 60-plus in the building that are working their tail off. And division games are the ones that you need to win. You got to win a lot of other ones as well, but you can't lose in the division. That's our goal — to win every game in the division, and I don't know if it's an extra added effort, but we work really hard especially when we play teams in the division."

6. How the Bills have done following a bye

Since Sean McDermott took over as the head coach of the Bills in 2017, Buffalo is 4-0 following a bye. The Bills went into last year's bye week after suffering a tough Hail Mary loss to the Arizona Cardinals. After that bye, Buffalo won six straight games to finish the season.

NFL Network's Kyle Brandt told One Bills Live that being undefeated after bye weeks holds a lot of weight in the NFL.

"Out of the bye is a great stat and not losing out of the bye tells you the players aren't idiots during the bye, they take care of themselves and chill out," Brandt said. "The coaches know how to ramp them back up. That is a really good endorsement."

Sunday will also be Buffalo's first home game on Halloween since 2004 when they beat Arizona 38-14.

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