Buffalo Bills at Miami Dolphins
Date: Monday, November 13th, 2014 Time: 8:30 pm EST TV: NFL Network
Game Line: Miami -5.5 (from JustBet) Over/Under: 42
Thursday Night NFL analysis: The Miami Dolphins host the Buffalo Bills in an AFC East battle on Thursday night from Sun Life Stadium in Miami, Florida.
The Dolphins lost a heartbreaker last Sunday on the road to Detroit 20-16. Miami held a 16-13 lead over the Lions, but Matt Stafford completed an 11 yard touchdown pass to Theo Riddick in the end zone with 29 seconds remaining. Before Sunday’s loss, the Dolphins had won 3 straight and were playing solid in all 3 phases. Quarterback Ryan Tannehill has definitely progressed this season, passing for 2114 yards and completing 64% of his passes. Their leading receiver is Mike Wallace, who has completed 40 receptions for 519 yards and 6 touchdowns. Leading the way out of the backfield is Lamar Miller, who has rushed for 528 yards and is averaging 4.8 yards per carry. Their defense has been solid, led by defensive ends Olivier Vernon and Cameron Wake (13 combined sacks), they have helped the defense that is only allowing 210.8 yards passing per game, 2nd best in the league. They are allowing just 99 yards rushing per game as well, which ranks 10th in the league.
The Buffalo Bills sit at 5-4 and are also coming off a heartbreaking loss at home. The Bills held a lead for a better part of their game against Kansas City, yet the Chiefs scored twice in the final four minutes to notch a 17-13 victory in Buffalo. The Bills offense is led by 10 year veteran Kyle Orton, who replaced EJ Manuel as the starter in week 5. The Bills are 3-2 with Orton, and he has been efficient completing 65% of his passes for 1387 yards with 10 touchdowns and 3 interceptions. The running game suffered a blow this season with C.J. Spiller being placed on injured reserve. Running back Fred Jackson has dealt with some injuries this season, yet he made his return last Sunday and has tallied 249 yards on the season. Their leading receiver is none other than rookie of the year candidate Sammie Watkins, who has 617 yards on the season with 5 touchdowns. Robert Woods is a nice compliment to Watkins, and has 346 yards and 2 touchdowns. Their defense features the leagues best pass rush, with Mario Williams and Jerry Hughes leading a defense that ranks 1st in the league with 34 sacks. They are ranked 22nd in the league in total defense, allowing 320 yards per game.
It may seem that Buffalo has Miami’s number, as Buffalo has won the past 3 meetings by an average of 13.3 points per game. Quarterback Ryan Tannehill is questionable with right shoulder and ankle injuries, and even if he plays, they’ll be without starting left tackle Brandon Albert, who was place on injured reserve last weekend. More often than not in the NFL, games are won and lost with matchups. On paper, I think the Dolphins are a better team, but I think that this Buffalo team really gives Miami problems and matches up extremely well with them. One stat that can’t be ignored is that Tannehill has had little success against Buffalo. The Miami starter has been sacked 18 times and owns a 67.0 passer rating while going 1-4 against the Bills. It’s a disturbing stat, and without their starting tackle it can’t be ignored. I’ll grab the points with Buffalo on Thursday night. If Miami is able to squeak out a win, Buffalo certainly won’t make it easy. I expect this to be a dogfight, and in these divisional games a field goal could be the deciding factor.
Free Week 11 Thursday Night NFL Pick: Buffalo +5.5, Under 42
Buffalo vs. Miami Score Prediction: Miami 17 – Buffalo 14