It is now week 16 in the NFL and the Bills are in a familiar situation, dead last in the division. This season was nothing short of a flop. With two games remaining, team morale is down, and it can be expected that the Bills will give a somewhat half-hearted effort as they did last week against the Seahawks. The Dolphins are still mathematically alive for a playoff birth, but the likelihood of that happening is close to zero.
What it Means
Essentially, this game will be a grudge match, with the Dolphins hoping to avenge their loss on Thursday Night Football earlier in the season. The Bills just hope to crush all Dolphin hopes of making the playoffs. However, there is no way for that to happen if they give a similar effort as they did against Seattle.
The Dolphins are still hoping to cling to a faint playoff dream, which would require them to win out and pretty much have every other team in front of them to lose out. It is still possible, but not likely.
Matchups to Watch
Running Backs vs. Defenses
C.J. Spiller is one of the most explosive players in the NFL. His electrifying 6.5 yards per carry is the highest in NFL history for a non-quarterback. Spiller’s season is nothing short of spectacular. However, with less than mediocre coaching, Spiller is unable to make the impact he is capable of. He is getting the ball far less than he should, and if this continues, there will be a problem between the coaches and the fans. With Fred Jackson out, the Bills will have to lean heavily on Spiller. The Bills offensive line has still played tremendously well despite injuries. If C.J. can shake the Dolphins tacklers and get to the second and third levels, it will be safe to say that the Bills will be in good position to win (assuming the defense does its job). I believe that, although being held relatively in check in the first game, Spiller will go over 100 total yards.
Reggie Bush should be salivating over having the chance to go against the Bills 30th ranked run defense again. In the first meeting, Bush didn’t touch the ball more than ten times and was stuffed. However, Daniel Thomas is on the IR which means that Bush will be the workhorse. Against a demoralized defense, Bush should be able to break away for huge gains. Expect him to have a big game tomorrow.
The Bills Will Win If…
Chan Gailey gives the football to C.J. Spiller. This has been the same story all year. Spiller has gotten 9 carries, at the most, in the last few games. If this continues, the Bills offense will be unproductive as usual. Fitzpatrick also has to have a good game. Last time the Bills played the Dolphins, Spiller had a good game, but it was not enough to score many points (not that it was his fault). Fitzpatrick has to keep the ball safe and deliver strikes down the field. Defensively, if the Bills create the same amount of pressure they did the first game, Tannehill will struggle and turn the ball over.
The Dolphins Will Win If…
They play offense. The Bills defense was beyond atrocious last game and I don’t expect an already demoralized team to improve this week. Also, I don’t believe that Spiller will get the ball enough, which will be good news for the Dolphins. Another key point is to protect the football. Fitzpatrick is guaranteed to turn the ball over. He has turned it over 6 times in the last 4 games. As long as Tannehill doesn’t play catch with the Bills secondary, as Fitzpatrick loves doing, then the Dolphins should be in pretty good shape.
Coming off a win last week against the Jaguars, I believe that Miami has far more momentum, as well as confidence, coming into this game. The Bills were just spanked last week, they have nothing to play for, and they have no confidence. That is a recipe for disaster. I don’t believe that the Bills have the will to play anymore this season. This game is also in Miami, which will definitely be an advantage to the Dolphins.
Dolphins win 27-16.