2023 NFL Playoffs: Three Reasons Bills Can Beat Dolphins on Super Wild Card Weekend

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Buffalo’s season run begins on Sunday when it hosts the Miami Dolphins at Highmark Stadium. The Bills enter the playoffs as the No. 2 seed in the AFC and own the second-best chance in the entire NFL to win Super Bowl LVII in Arizona in February. The first step in the march to the franchise’s first title is its AFC East rival, with which it split the season series.

That said, let’s break it down and explain why the Bills – who are sitting by 13 points going into this game – are the favorites in this head-to-head and should find themselves find moving on to the regional round.

How to look

Date: Sunday, January 15 | Hour: 1 pm ET
Location: Highmark Stadium (Orchard Park, New York)
CBS | Flow: Paramount+ (click here)
Corner: Bills -13, O/U 43.5

1. A drastic QB imbalance

The biggest story heading into this game is that the Dolphins will be without Tua Tagovailoa, who has not yet been cleared by doctors to resume football activities after suffering another concussion. That means it will be Teddy Bridgewater or rookie Skylar Thompson, who will have to go into Buffalo and try to match Josh Allen. That seems like too tall a task for either of these quarterbacks to be successful.

When Tagovailoa is out, Miami’s ceiling is greatly diminished. In the games Tagovailoa has played, the Dolphins are averaging 25.5 points per game and 6.5 yards per play. That yards-per-game average is the highest by any starting quarterback this season (min. 10 starts). When he’s not under center, the offense is crumbling and averaging 16.3 points per game and just 5.2 yards per play. If Thompson starts and Bridgewater backs him up like we saw in Week 18, that sinks the ceiling even lower. Thompson’s 62.2 passer rating and 5.1 yards per attempt are the worst among the 47 quarterbacks with 100 or more pass attempts this season.

Meanwhile, Josh Allen dominates the Dolphins. This year, he threw for 704 yards and rushed for 124 yards against Miami, becoming the first quarterback in NFL history with 700 or more passing yards and 100 or more rushing yards against a single team. the regular season. Allen is also 8-2 against the Dolphins in his career, including a 5-0 record at home. His teams average 32.6 points per game in those contests and have 31 total touchdowns to just seven turnovers.

When you have that level of quarterback play on one side and possibly a third-string rookie starting on the other side, things could go haywire in short order.

2. Bad defense of the position of dolphins

Aside from a questionable offense, Miami’s defense is a concern in a couple of key areas. He ranks 10th in the NFL on third downs (24th) and takeaways (T-30th). This weekend, he faces a Bills offense that was the NFL’s best on third down this season and, as we mentioned above, will be racking up points on offense with Allen under center . One of the Bills’ biggest problems this season has been their turnovers in the red zone, but that could prove to be an issue against a Dolphins defense that struggles to get the ball off the board. -challenges.

Arguably, the best way to keep Allen and this Bills offense out is to keep them off the field with constant drives on offense, but that would also require getting the defense off the field. field As we’ve seen this season, the unit has been nearly unable to do that.

One thing this Miami defense likes to do is apply pressure. He broke at the second-highest rate in the NFL, but that might not work out against Allen, who lit up the Bills when he went down this season. In two games, he completed 22 of 29 against the Miami blitz for 264 yards, four touchdowns, and zero interceptions.

3. Bills of historic success at home

This photo is a bit larger, but interesting nonetheless. Historically, the Bills have been dynamic at home in the postseason, owning a 12-1 record in Buffalo since the 1970 merger. In those games, the Bills are averaging 31.9 points per game while the opponent is scoring just 18.3 points per game, giving them an average point differential of +13.6. The club’s only playoff loss came at home in 1996 against the Jaguars in the Wild Card round.

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