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The Way I See It... From the Desk of Ed Kilgore

Bills Face Challenge in South Florida

Is this just the third game of the season?  Three games in and we already have a game that could have a huge impact on the AFC East and playoff picture later on.

 

The Bills are 6 point favorites despite the game being played in South Florida, where we might see a little rain in the first half, but mid 80’s temps which ain’t bad for September in South Florida.  The weather might be easier to predict than what Bills may be sidelined Sunday.  The outlook for Gabe Davis and Ed Oliver is promising after both missed the Titans game with ankle injuries, but they’ll both be questionable along with safeties Micah Hyde and Jordan Poyer and center Mitch Morse.  CB Dane Jackson is actually listed as questionable despite the scary hit he took Monday Night.

 

We know the Bills are good.  Beyond good in blowout wins over the Super Bowl Champion Rams and last year’s AFC top seed Tennessee, outscoring them by a combined 72-17, including 45-0 in the second half.  Josh Allen, Stephon Diggs and Von Miller are healthy.

 

But the Dolphins?  They looked good after a slow start in their opening win over the Patriots, but go figure what happened at Baltimore last week.  Down 21 points entering the 4th quarter, Tua Tagovailoa threw 4 touchdown passes (6 in all) in the fourth quarter in a stunning win.  In fact, teams entering the fourth quarter leading by 21 or more had won 711 straight games.

 

Yes, credit Tagovailoa for his breakout game as a pro, but credit new Dolphins Head Coach Mike McDaniel and the Fins front office as well.  By landing Tyreek Hill after already having drafted speedster Jaylen Waddle, the Dolphins have arguably the fastest pair of receivers in the NFL.  McDaniel, just 39 and a former wide receiver at Yale, is taking advantage of this franchise changing combination.

 

But, and there is a but, Tagovailoa is still unproven as a franchise qb.  He’s still small with a very average arm and only average running ability.  The Ravens wasted a fantastic game from Lamar Jackson by blowing coverages on Hill a couple times, which led to rather easy tosses for Tua.  The Ravens injuries in their secondary and lack of an effective pass rush did them in, but again credit goes to the Dolphins for battling back.

 

The Dolphins are now relevant at 2-0 with a chance to jump right into the thick of the AFC East race if they can pull off an upset of the Bills. For we older folks, it’s also kinda cool to rekindle what was a terrific rivalry back when the Bills were blocking the Dolphins Super Bowl hopes when they had Dan Marino. That rivalry had been lopsided for a long time in Miami’s favor, and Fins fans are just as excited about this year’s team as any in recent memory.

 

While the Bills have been blowing people out the past couple seasons – 20 straight wins by 10 points or more – they haven’t been winning the close ones.

This game could be closer than most Bills fans think despite the Bills statistical domination on both offense and defense.

 

However, the matchup certainly favors the Bills for a couple reasons.  Josh Allen has been unstoppable against Miami and they’ve tried a bit of everything.  He only had one run in the win over the Titans, but he’ll have to use his legs a bit more in this one on 3rd or 4th down situations.  The Bills should also be able to run on the Dolphins, who don’t run the ball well.  Should the Bills continue to get pressure with just their front four while dropping 7, they can make it tough on Tua to have the success he did against the Ravens.

 

The Dolphins are gonna score some points, but the Bills will get a few more.

Prediction:

 

Bills 31, Dolphins 24

 

EdK

ekilgore120@gmail.com

 

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