It’s been 12 weeks since the Miami Dolphins beat the Buffalo Bills in Miami to take the lead in the AFC East. Now, in Week 15, the Bills are back on top. Two straight losses from the Dolphins have opened the door for the Bills to take a three game lead in the AFC East. Both teams will be battling more than each other this Saturday night. What will affect these two squads and how will it play out? Let’s dive into what to expect in this rivalry game: Dolphins vs Bills, part 2.
Dolphins vs Bills Game Information
- Date: Saturday, December 17
- Time: 20:15 ET
- Venue: Highmark Stadium; Orchard Park, NY
- TV: NFL Network and NFL+
- Records: Dolphins (8-5) Bills (10-3)
- DraftKings Sportsbook line: Bills -7
1. Battling the Winter Weather
In Week 3, the heat in Miami proved to be a factor. Players were dropping like flies. More than a handful of players needed to head to the locker room for IV’s and to cool off. It was a close game in Week 3, and if it wasn’t as warm, maybe the outcome is different.
The snow won’t be as bad as Week 11 in Buffalo, where they had to move the game. However, it will still be a major factor. The forecast predicts up to six inches of snow by gametime, with a chance for more. With a severe weather alert of lake effect snow for Saturday, it could come down heavy.
On top of the snow, the temperature is expected to be a low of 26 degrees, with the wind chill in the low teens. The cold temperature, gusts of wind, and snow falling will make this game tougher for most players and could affect them in a big way.
2. Playing through Injuries
This Week 15 matchup will be a little bit kinder to both teams in regard to injuries than in their Week 3 matchup. For the Dolphins, they will be without safeties Elijah Campbell (concussion) and Eric Rowe (hamstring). Miami also has QB Teddy Bridewater (knee), RB Jeff Wilson (hip), and OL Terron Armstead (toe/pec/knee) listed as questionable. The Buffalo Bills will be without OL Ryan Bates (ankle) and DT Jordan Phillips (shoulder).
Both teams have some key players who are playing through injuries. For Miami, they will have LB Elandon Roberts (ribs), TE Durham Smythe (quad/knee), WR Tyreek Hill (ankle), CB Kader Kohou (thumb/neck), and DT Justin Zimmer (back). For Buffalo, they will have FB Reggie Gilliam (ankle), DT Ed Oliver (pec), LB Matt Milano (knee), QB Josh Allen (elbow), CB Cam Lewis (forearm), and OL Mitch Morse (elbow) playing through the pain.
Those are some big names playing through injuries to try to help their teams get the win in a big game.
Dolphins vs Bills: Keys to Success
Miami Dolphins – Don’t make Tua do too much
In the past two losses for the Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa has struggled. He’s averaged 220 passing yards per game, thrown for three touchdowns and turned the ball over three times while having a 45.9% completion percentage. Head coach Mike McDaniels should look to take some pressure off of Tua to get him going again.
His recent struggles aren’t the only reason Miami should look to ease the pressure off Tua. Tagovailoa has struggled in his young career in cold weather. This could be the coldest game Tua has played in his football career. In games below 50 degrees, Tua has thrown two touchdowns while turning it over four times. He has had a combined QBR of 14, and is 0-3 in those games.
This weather could be the worst he’s ever seen, so it’s crucial for the Dolphins to make it easier for him.
Buffalo Bills – Win the Turnover Battle
In all three losses for the Bills this season, they have had more yards than their opponent. That’s the positive of their losses. On the flip side, they have also lost the turnover battle in each of those games. They have lost by 3 or less in each loss. If they win or tie the turnover battle, who knows, they could be undefeated right now.
With a top defense on the other side, turning the ball over might not seem like that big of a deal. But going into a game expected to have bad weather, turnovers could be more costly. Every possession will be crucial as both teams could struggle to move the ball down the field. If the Bills can take care of the ball, they should win this game. Especially considering the Bills are 3-0 in games where Josh Allen doesn’t have a turnover.
This could be an ugly offensive game, due to the weather. Miami will be looking to increase their chances at the AFC East. We could see them open up the playbook more than usual. On the other side, the Bills are looking to clinch a playoff berth and put themselves one win away from the division crown.
I expect a low scoring, close game that will come down to who can put the ball in the endzone last. Regardless of the outcome, the Bills vs Dolphins rivalry is clearly back.