Matchup: Buffalo Bills at Miami Dolphins
When: Sunday, September 19, 2021; 1:00 PM EDT/12:00 PM CDT/6:00 PM BST
Where: Hard Rock Stadium, Miami Gardens, Florida
How to Watch: FOX or NFL Game Pass (NFL Game Pass live games are £147.99/season or £14.99/week in UK with Pro subscription) **NFL Game Pass does not offer live games in US markets, only full games after played for $100/season**
Buffalo Bills @ Miami Dolphins
Point Spread: Bills are a 3.5 point favorite over Dolphins
Miami Dolphins Head Coach: Brian Flores (1-0 record 2021 record) Miami Dolphins Starting QB: Tua Tagovailoa (1-0 2021 record, 202 yards, 1 TDs, 1 INT) 1-0 vs. Patriots
Buffalo Bills Head Coach: Sean McDermott (0-1 2021 record) Buffalo Bills Starting QB: Josh Allen (0-1 2021 record, 271 yards, 1 TD, 0 INTs)
The last time the Buffalo Bills and the Miami Dolphins met was the last game of last season on January 3; and it wasn’t a pretty sight for Dolphins fans. The Bills blew out the Dolphins in the Bills home stadium by 30 points with a 26-56 score. It was a game that angered many fans and caused some fans to lose trust in Tua Tagovailoa as a Dolphins future franchise quarterback when he threw 3 interceptions. The loss was the Dolphins sixth loss of the season and ended their hopes for a playoff spot. However, the Dolphins will be hosting the Bills in Hard Rock Stadium after coming off a win in the season opener against a good Patriots defense. Tagovailoa is improving as a NFL quarterback and hopes the results will be different than the last time he faced the Bills.
The Buffalo Bills are coming off their first season opener loss since Josh Allen was a rookie in 2018 and hope to avoid starting the 2021 season 0-2. In that Buffalo Bills loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers, Allen threw 21 incomplete passes, which is comparable to Tagovailoa’s 23 incomplete passes thrown the last time he played the Bills.
How Josh Allen and Tua Tagovailoa differ: For size comparison, Josh Allen is much bigger than Tagovailoa. Allen is 6’5″ and weighs 237 pounds while Tua is only 6’1″ and weighs just 217 pounds. For experience, Allen has more than Tagovailoa being in the league since 2018. Josh Allen appears to be more mobile than Tua Tagovailoa. For Allen’s first two seasons he rushed for 17 touchdowns. As far as accuracy, Tagovailoa is more accurate than Allen. As a rookie, Tagovailoa completed 64.1% of his passes compared to Allen’s 52.8% completed passes as a rookie. Even though Tagovailoa had an underwhelming 59.26% completion percentage against the Patriots, it still was better than Allen’s 58.2% completion percentage against the Steelers.
How Josh Allen and Tua Tagovailoa are similar: As far as play style there are hardly any similarities with Josh Allen and Tagovailoa with the exception that they both play in the AFC East. In preseason, Josh Allen was 20 for 26 for 194 yards and two touchdowns while Tua’s preseason totals were 24 for 34 for 282 yards and one touchdown. For Allen’s season opener against the Steelers he was sacked 3 times while Tagovailoa’s season opener against the Patriots, he was sacked two times.
Key Miami Dolphins Players: Tua Tagovailoa, Jaylen Waddle, DeVante Parker, Myles Gaskin, Jason Sanders, Xavien Howard, Emmanuel Ogbah.
Coming off a win in the season opener against the New England Patriots, Tua Tagovailoa will have the momentum going his way in the Dolphins home stadium against the Bills. Even though Tua only passed for 202 yards in the season opener, his passing yards total could have been higher if not for a bad officiating call that took away a free play, which could potentially ended in a Jaylen Waddle touchdown.
However, his quick decision making ability to change a run play to a passing play late in the Patriots game kept the ball out of the Patriots hands to give the Dolphins the chance to run the clock out. Now that the ice has been broken with the season opener, look for Tua to have a better game against the Bills.
Jaylen Waddle came off an excellent game for his NFL debut, going 61 yards and a touchdown from 4 receptions out of 5 targets. Waddle and Tua have chemistry that dates back to their college days at Alabama and it appears that same chemistry had the same formula against the Patriots last week. Expect to see more big plays from Waddle against the Bills.
DeVante Parker was the Dolphins top receiver last week with 81 yards. Parker has been the Dolphins top receiver the past couple of years and it appears that isn’t changing. Expect Parker to continue to get more big plays this week.
Myles Gaskin had 49 rushing yards against the Patriots. While many people had hoped that the Dolphins would draft Najee Harris this past off-season, it must be noted that Harris rushed against the Bills for 45 yards in 16 attempts last week. However, Gaskin’s 49 yards against the Patriots were only from 9 attempts. Gaskin was also 5 for 5 in receiving totals for 27 yards. If Gaskin does better this week then expect Gaskin to have a plus fifty rushing yard game against the Bills.
Jason Sanders seems to always come through when needed and he did that last week with a 48 yard field goal. If he missed last week’s field goal, the Dolphins would have lost. Expect Sanders to continue to do his job when called upon against the Bills.
Xavien Howard seems not to have a year where he’s not being talked about with his take-aways. Last week against the Patriots he had 5 tackles and a forced fumble and a fumble recovery that secured a win for the Dolphins. If the Dolphins are going to defeat the Bills, Howard has to be in the game. It should be no surprise if Howard walks away from Sunday’s game with a Josh Allen pick.
Emmanuel Ogbah continues to be dominate on the defensive front. Last week, Ogbah had 3 tackles, one tackle for a loss, a quarterback hit, and 1 pass defended. Ogbah should continue his good defensive play this week.
Key Buffalo Bills Players: Josh Allen, Stefon Diggs, Devin Singletary, Micah Hyde, Tre’Davius White
Josh Allen has been a candidate to be this year’s NFL’s MVP since preseason. Even though his game against the Steelers seemed somewhat underwhelming, it still doesn’t take away what he is capable of doing. If Allen doesn’t beat you in the air, he can beat you with his legs. Since 2018, Allen already has 25 rushing touchdowns.
Against the Steelers, Allen rushed for 44 yards and if it were not for the 3 sacks for a loss of 16 yards, his rushing totals would be at 60 for the season thus far. Allen threw for a career high 37 touchdowns and 4,544 yards in 2020 and is expected to do better this year. If the Dolphins are going to stop Allen, they need to stop his run game and have a strong game in the secondary.
Stefon Diggs led the entire NFL in 2020 with 1,535 receiving yards to gain the top receiving crown. 2020 was Diggs’ third consecutive 1,000 receiving yard season. It appears that Diggs is on a pace to get another 1,000 yard season as he had 69 yards last week against the Steelers. Stefon Diggs is a deep threat and the combination of him and Josh Allen is a dangerous one. If the Dolphins don’t bring their best game against the Bills, Diggs could easily walk away from Sunday’s game with over 100 receiving yards and at least one touchdown.
Devin Singletary rushed for 72 yards against the Steelers last week. Even though Singletary has never rushed for 1,000 yards in a season, he should never be underestimated. If the Dolphins fail to stop the Bills’ run game, Singletary will be having another big day.
Both Micah Hyde and Tre’Davius White are two great Bills players in the secondary. White is to the Buffalo Bills to what Xavien Howard is to the Miami Dolphins. Before Howard led the NFL in interceptions with 10 in 2020, Tre’Davius White led the NFL in interceptions in 2019 as he was tied with 6 INTs with two other players. Hyde has even had a 5 interception season of his own. If Tagovailoa throws a pick, more than likely it will be in the hands of one of these two.
Important Notes: Raekwon Davis and Will Fuller will not be playing in the game against the Bills Sunday. Davis was placed on injury reserve this past week and Brian Flores announced that Will Fuller will not play due to personal matters.
Gabriel Davis may not play against the Dolphins Sunday due to an ankle injury.
Summary: Both the Bills and the Dolphins have struggling offensive lines. And the winner of this matchup may not necessarily come down to which offensive line is the strongest but rather who is the weakest, meaning it will be another defensive battle for the Dolphins. Tagovailoa knows he had a bad game against the Bills last season and doesn’t want that to happen again.
Jaylen Waddle appears poised to be the key on the offensive side of the ball if the Dolphins are going to beat the Bills. Defeating the Dolphins is nothing new to Josh Allen, but he must understand that this is a different Dolphins team than last year. If the Dolphins are going to get a win against the Bills then Tagovailoa is going to have to get his tight end Mike Gesicki involved whereas last week his presence was not a factor at all.
At the end of the day, if this is not a defensive battle between the two teams, then there is a strong possibility that this game won’t be a battle between Allen and Tagovailoa, but the difference may come down between who is the better receiver out of Jaylen Waddle and Stefon Diggs.
The Dolphins definitely want Sunday’s game against the Bills to make their last meeting a distant memory. If the Dolphins play their best game, avoid penalties and turnovers, they have a strong chance to come out winners. The best case scenario is that the Dolphins will come away 2-0. The worst case scenario would be 1-1 for the Dolphins and still be tied for first place in the division with the Bills. Game two is approaching.