The Buffalo Bills go into Sun Life Stadium this Sunday to face the Miami Dolphins. It’s a tale of two teams hoping to be on the same trajectory. The Dolphins hired new coach Joe Philbin and drafted their hopeful franchise QB in Ryan Tannehill with the eighth pick in the draft last season. The Bills did the same before this season, hiring Doug Marrone to be their coach and drafting E.J. Manuel with the 16th pick.
So far, the Dolphins are on schedule. After finishing 7-9 in their transition year, they look to move to 4-2 after six games this season. Obviously the optimum scenario for this season would be for the Dolphins to get into the playoffs, but I’d assume, for this season at least, that just being in the conversation will put them on schedule.
The Bills are in a tougher situation. While Tannehill played in all of the Dolphins’ games last year, Manuel looks like he’ll miss nearly half of this season. They would still love to get to at least the seven win mark where the Dolphins were last year. That would be an improvement over any win total of the three-year Chan Gailey era. Getting Manuel into the last month or so would be good for his experience, particularly when he gets to play in the Buffalo winter weather.
As for Sunday’s game, the Dolphins have a definitive advantage. For starters, they’ve had two weeks to prepare for the Bills. It’s also going to be around 85 and humid in Miami on Sunday, which will be tough weather for a northeast team to play in. Finally, at this point, the Dolphins are a better team than the Bills. It’s close, however, as both teams have definitive strengths and weaknesses.
The big matchup will be the Dolphins’ disappointing run offense against the Bills’ porous run defense. I think the Dolphins can get something going against the front seven of the Bills in the heat, and that will be the difference in the game. However, if the Bills can corral the run game of Miami, then they might have a chance to come out of Miami with a W.