Bills vs. Dolphins Expert Pick – January 7, 2024
BILLS VS. DOLPHINS EXPERT PICK – JANUARY 7, 2024 – The Buffalo Bills (10-6) head south to face the Miami Dolphins (11-5) in a matchup for the AFC East division title.
Miami has already clinched a playoff spot and if they lose would fall to the no. 5 or no. 6 seed depending on the outcome of the Cincinnati Bengals – Cleveland Browns game. If the Dolphins win the Bills could still get in with a Jacksonville Jaguars loss or tie against the Tennessee Titans.
Related: Nate’s Week 18 NFL Predictions
(10-6 SU, 6-9-1 ATS)
(11-5 SU, 10-6 ATS)
When: Sunday, January 7, 2023, at 8:25 PM ET
Where: Hard Rock Stadium in Miami, Florida.
This is the Sunday Night Game of the Week and the final regular season game of the year, and the Bills may already know if they are in the playoffs at kickoff. A Jaguars loss earlier in the day would guarantee Buffalo an AFC wild-card playoff spot taking some of the pressure off a team that has won five of its last six games. However, if Jacksonville wins the game, then the Bills need to win the game and division, or they fall out of the playoffs.
“We are solely focused on our level of play and the Miami Dolphins,” said head coach Sean McDermott when asked about his team watching the earlier games.
It doesn’t matter to quarterback Josh Allen what happens before they take the field on Sunday night.
“We’ll know that before, but again, it doesn’t change our mindset,” Allen said after Wednesday’s practice. “Every time we step on the field, we’re trying to win a football game.”
The Bills have simplified the offense since Joe Brady took over the offensive coordinator duties from Ken Dorsey six weeks ago. Allen is more patient and uses his legs more to get easy yardage. Brady has focused on the run game with James Cook, and he has delivered averaging 5.1 yards per carry and having over 100 scrimmage yards in every game since he took over.
The most notable dip in production is with receiver Stefon Diggs, since Brady has taken over, he only averages 38 yards per game which is 50 yards less than before. Allen and Brady need to keep this philosophy against a Dolphins team that can quickly rack up yardage and points.
The Dolphins need to erase from their memory the blowout 56-19 loss at the Baltimore Ravens last week. Miami is a different beast at home going 7-1 with a +138-point differential. The defense only allows 16.9 points at home as opposed to 29.4 on the road. The Dolphins beat the Bills the last time they faced them in Miami with Buffalo winning the last three matchups on their home turf.
The Dolphins will be without standout receiver Jaylen Waddle and running back Raheem Mostert. Tua Tagovailoa was sacked four times and pressured on almost a third of his drop backs against the Bills earlier this season. Look for the Dolphins to rely on the running game with rookie De’Von Achane who rushed for 107 yards on 14 carries last week to help take the pressure off Tua and the passing game.
Despite the injuries and recent blowout loss there is confidence in the Dolphins locker room heading into this crucial matchup.
“I would totally agree with that,” said coach Mike McDaniel when asked about his team evolving since the first matchup with the Bills. “I think it was in all three phases. It felt like at that point in the season, maybe the players were running the system that we have in each phase. Now it feels like they’re owning the system, and there’s an incredible power to that.”
The Dolphins seem to respond to bad games with wins, especially if they are at home. I expect Miami to control the tempo of this game with motion to free up Tyreek Hill and the running game. Josh Allen will throw a couple interceptions sealing the deal and the division for the Miami Dolphins.
The Dolphins win this game 31-20 in front of the Bills fans that will take over the Hard Rock in Miami.