AFC Supremacy to be Determined by Bills and Dolphins

The Miami Dolphins flirted with history last week. While the Dolphins chose not to pursue the NFL record for points in a game, they certainly appeared to be having fun by beating down the Broncos. By scoring 70 points and hardly facing any adversity, Miami has announced itself as a contender in the division and conference.

The Dolphins haven’t appeared to be this powerful since Dan Marino retired over 20 years ago. Miami has the perfect opportunity to show how far it has come. The Dolphins will take on the defending division champion Buffalo Bills on Sunday. 

Buffalo laid an egg to start the season with a loss to the New York Jets. However, the Bills quickly returned to their old form with two straight victories. Playing Miami will be a step up in competition for Buffalo. The Bills will have a chance to show what they are made of. 

Luckily for Buffalo, the Bills will have the advantage of playing at home. The Bills will be eager to protect their house.

 

Dolphins Ready to Set the Record Right

 

Miami still holds an edge in the all-time series between the teams, 62-56-1. That grip on the lead has been slowly slipping away over recent years. Buffalo has won eight of the past 10 times the two teams have met.

There were signs last year, however, that the Dolphins may have been on the right track for their rebuild. Buffalo won two of the three meetings, including a 34-31 win in the AFC Wild Card playoffs, but all three games were decided by three points or less. Buffalo is a 3-point favorite for a 1 p.m. kickoff Sunday.

 

Bills Find Mojo on Defense

Buffalo needed to find a way to keep putting the pressure on opposing quarterbacks when star linebacker Tremaine Edmunds departed in free agency. Last week against Washington, the Bills’ pass rush showed how much bite it had. Commanders second-year quarterback Sam Howell couldn’t find much room to breathe.

The Bills sacked Howell nine times and forced Washington to commit five turnovers. Linebacker Terrel Bernard has played an essential role in filling in Edmunds’ shoes. Bernard intercepted a pass and sacked Howell twice to help lead Buffalo’s defense.

 

Miami’s One-Two Punch in Backfield 

 

The list of superlatives that can be assigned to the performance of the Dolphins’ running game is almost too long to list. No matter who carried the ball for Miami, the Dolphins opened gaping holes to run through. Miami likely thought that veteran running back Raheem Mostert would carry most of the load when the year started.

Mostert was excellent against Denver, carrying the ball 13 times for 82 yards and three touchdowns, but a rookie outshone him. De’Von Achane saw impressive growth during his second game as a professional. After only carrying the ball once in his first game, Achane ran for 203 yards and scored two touchdowns.

Recent sports updates show Achane averaged 11.3 yards per carry. Chris Brooks also averaged 7.3 yards per carry for Miami on nine carries.

 

Can the Bills Get to Tua?

 

Miami’s offense is so successful because of their pressure on opposing defenses. The Dolphins have benefitted from having Tua Tagovailoa under center. He doesn’t take long to make decisions.

When Tagovailoa drops back to pass, he gets rid of the ball in an average of 2.36 seconds, which is the best mark in the league. Black sports news shows that Tagovailoa has only been sacked once this season. While Buffalo’s pass rush did take a significant step forward the past two weeks, the Bills were also playing teams unlikely to make the playoffs.

Buffalo has taken advantage of playing weaker offenses by recording 12 sacks, which is tied for second-most in the league. Tagovailoa passed for 309 yards and four touchdowns in the win over the Dolphins.

 

Allen Hasn’t Found Consistency Yet

 

Buffalo quarterback Josh Allen didn’t have an excellent performance against Washington. He only put up a passer rating of 79.9 and threw for 218 yards with a touchdown and an interception. What Buffalo was able to do for the first time this season was run the ball consistently. 

James Cook led the team in rushing by piling up 98 yards on 15 carries. Allen also used his feet to make plays, rushing for 46 yards on scoring a touchdown on three carries.

 

Tyreek Hill Doesn’t Make Many Friends

 

Taking on the Bills Mafia is probably unwise. The Bills’ rabid fanbase has been known to be willing to do wild things during tailgates and in the stands. Most notably, Buffalo fans were known for diving through wooden tables in the parking lot WWE style.

Dolphins wide receiver Tyreek Hill decided to fan the flames of the rivalry this week by saying the Bills’ fanbase isn’t that much different from others around the league. Hill has been setting the league on fire with his strong play this season.

Hill had nine catches for 157 yards with a touchdown last week. He already has 412 receiving yards this season.

 

McDaniel the Merciful

Miami has shown that its offense can score at a breakneck pace this season. The Dolphins’ head coach, Mike McDaniel, also indicated they aren’t out to embarrass anyone. The record for points in a game in the NFL is 73.

Miami had a drive in the fourth quarter that went deep into Denver territory late in the game. Instead of kicking a field goal to tie the record, he had his team take a knee to help run out the clock. It is unlikely the Buffalo-Miami game will be so lopsided, but it is a good look into the insight of how McDaniel feels about how his team scores.

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