The AFC East is about the difference in classes. There’s the good, the always good, New England Patriots. There are the New York Jets, who get tons of publicity but haven’t been doing much beyond that lately. And there are the two forgotten franchises, who forgot what a postseason tastes like: The Miami Dolphins and the Buffalo Bills.
This season? Not much has changed. The Dolphins have a rookie quarterback that until the last game was playing surprisingly well and Reggie Bush was doing pretty good. Their defense isn’t the best in the NFL, but it isn’t a complete mess like the one on the other side. The Bills defense ranks 31st with 410.0 yards allowed per game and last at 31.7 points a contest.
The Dolphins were a surprising 4-3 entering November, but have lost two in a row (Colts and Titans), with a very tough road left to travel: Two games against the Patriots and two more against the Seattle Seahawks and the San Francisco 49ers. The Bills have lost five of their last six after a 2-1 start, although their schedule looks less daunting, with the Pats phase of the season behind them.
Reggie Bush was benched after a fumble against the Titans, and his total was only 21 yards on 4 carries. He averaged 92.3 rushing yards in the first four games, but 37.2 in the last five and hasn’t run for over 67 yards since going for 172 in week 2. He’s still the Dolphins’ best play-maker, who have the ability to use him as a receiver as well (179 yards, 21 receptions).
Tannehill isn’t great in throwing outside the numbers, but he has a good connection with the Dolphins’ best receiver, Brian Hartline, with 741 yards on 49 receptions so far this season. Due to the problems in the Bills’ secondary, Davone Bess will probably see a lot of action as well, still looking for his first touchdown catch of the season.
Buffalo have an exceptional running back in C.J. Spiller, already with more than 1000 yards from scrimmage this season and a total of five touchdowns. He hasn’t run for over 100 yards since week 2, but he passes the 100 yards mark from scrimmage for the past 4 weeks, although he hasn’t scored a touchdown in those games.
The Bills can’t stop anything on defense, and just need to hope Ryan Fitzpatrick, one of the most up & down quarterbacks in the NFL, is having a good day. He was intercepted in the end zone with 28 second left on the clock as the Bills narrowly lost to the Patriots last week, 37-31. He has thrown 10 interceptions already this season.
Predictions – Ryan Tannehill won’t be as bad as he was last week, but the problem is he’s not getting anything going in the red zone. The Bills can’t stop anything, but if they focus on limiting Reggie Bush, the Dolphins are in trouble. C.J. Spiller will get his numbers, and as long as Fitzpatrick doesn’t turn the ball over (much), the Bills have a slight edge.