One team will look to put the AFC East away, while the other hopes to remain in the race as the Miami Dolphins will visit the Buffalo Bills on Saturday night. Miami is coming off of a Week 14 defeat at the hands of the Los Angeles Chargers, falling by a final score of 23-17. The Bills come into Week 15 hot, winners of four straight, including a 20-12 victory over the New York Jets.
The Dolphins were able to sneak past the Bills in their first meeting of the season, hanging on for a 21-19 victory.
We’ll examine three keys that will help decide this pivotal divisional matchup.
Hill’s Health Worth Monitoring
For much of their game against the Chargers, the Dolphins had to manage the number of snaps they utilized star wide receiver Tyreek Hill for. He was visibly limping for much of the contest, appearing to nurse an ankle injury that he received continuous treatment for throughout the game. Even though he was comprised, the speedy player still scored two touchdowns against Los Angeles.
Adrenaline can help a player fight through an in-game injury, but an ailment can worsen or swell up over the course of the week. Hill’s arrival in Miami has coincided with a burst of offensive efficiency. If he is limited or for some reason can’t go against the Bills on Saturday night, the Dolphins could be in a lot of trouble.
Buffalo Getting Pressure
Losing Von Miller during their Thanksgiving day game against the Detroit Lions was a tough pill to swallow for Buffalo. The organization had doled out a plethora of bucks to lure Miller to Western New York, and watching their prized investment go down wasn’t fun for a team that has visions of making the Super Bowl this year. Miller is a two-time Super Bowl champion, and was bringing much needed veteran experience to the locker room.
However, it looks like Buffalo has found a way to keep the pressure on opposing quarterbacks. Last week against the Jets, New York quarterback Mike White was badly beaten up by the Bills’ rush. Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa was also roughed up by Buffalo in their first meeting, and the uncertain health of star tackle Terron Armstead makes Buffalo’s pressure even more of a concern.
It doesn’t take a sharp NFL fan to realize that the weather in South Florida is much different than what the scene looks like in Buffalo in December. The weather in Miami played a huge role in the first Dolphins-Bills game though, and there’s a chance the forecast in Buffalo could do the same for the rematch.
When these teams met for the first time back in Week 3, both teams had to deal with extreme heat that caused players to cramp during the game. There were certain critical plays during that game where Bills star wide receiver Stefon Diggs was on the sidelines because of it. On Saturday night, there may be some wintry precipitation, and it might be the Dolphins’ turn to come up with a game plan to overcome the elements.