The Miami Dolphins‘ Week 3 statement win over the Buffalo Bills seems so far away.
The Dolphins won 21-19 in the scorching South Florida heat to improve to 3-0 and take an early lead in the AFC East. But now Miami is on a two-game losing streak and two games behind Buffalo in the division.
Josh Allen, Stefon Diggs and company seemed exhausted by the end of that blazing-hot early-season game. This time, though, the weather advantage will be with the Bills as about half a foot of snow is expected to fall Saturday in upstate New York.
One thing’s for sure: It’s going to be cold, and the Dolphins are 3-7 all-time when the kickoff temperature is 23 degrees or colder.
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What do national NFL reporters and analysts think? Here are their predictions:
The Dolphins’ road defensive woes are well documented and this is a third consecutive challenge after loses at the 49ers and Chargers. Tua Tagovailoa is slumping while Tyreek Hill is hurting and the running game is non-existent. The Bills’ offense has been shaky around Josh Allen, but this is a quick rebound get-well game in the division as they will take full advantage of favorable passing off blitzing and one-on-one coverage.
With Hill and Wilson ailing, I don’t expect the Dolphins to actually win this game. Their offense didn’t look good against the Chargers last week, and Buffalo boasts a much better defense than L.A. However, I do think Miami can keep it relatively close in this divisional matchup.
This is a large line for any divisional matchup, and Buffalo hasn’t been particularly great at protecting the football. The Bills offense has committed 20 turnovers this season (fourth-most in the NFL) and has been turnover-free in just three contests. Miami is 5-1 when forcing a turnover, and while I expect that record to fall to 5-2 this week, I see the Dolphins capitalizing enough to remain within striking distance. As the New York Jets did against Buffalo last week, Miami will narrowly cover in a loss.
The Dolphins have adopted a full-blown “serenity now!” approach to the elements awaiting them on Saturday night.
The 49ers uncovered a flaw in the Dolphins’ big-play passing game and the Chargers must have copied it Sunday because Tua Tagovailoa was dreadful. The Dolphins have been held to 17 points in back-to-back losses. The Bills cannot afford another loss to Miami if they want to win the division.
A lot has gone wrong for the Bills despite them currently being the AFC’s top seed. Two of their most valuable defensive players (Micah Hyde and Von Miller) aren’t coming back. They still haven’t settled on a No. 2 cornerback. Their running game is erratic and their complementary receivers have disappointed enough to bring back Cole Beasley. Yet the Bills have been in so many games like this as a franchise the last three years, especially in the cold, and they understand what it means to play in massive December games. The Dolphins aren’t there yet, even if they should cover in a loss like the Jets did a week ago.
How healthy will Tyreek Hill be for this game? Miami’s offense sputtered in Week 14 and struggled in the running game, and Buffalo is going to be looking for payback from the Week 3 loss. The forecast also calls for snow showers. Josh Allen is 4-0 with 10 TDs and two interceptions against the Dolphins at home.
The Bills are the best team in the AFC, and they’re going to take a big step toward the No. 1 seed on Saturday night.
The Dolphins have lost two straight and they are now playing a third straight road game. That’s brutal. The Bills lost to Miami in the first meeting, even though they dominated. Tua Tagovailoa has struggled the past two weeks and the conditions are supposed to be tough in this one. The Bills will win it as they play good defense and Josh Allen does his part.