The 8-6 Miami Dolphins are two wins from a playoff spot as the team travels to Buffalo for a Week 16 matchup against the Bills. Sitting at 5-9, the Bills aren't going to make the playoffs but they certainly will be looking to spoil the season of their division rivals. Games against teams with nothing to play for are always tricky, but playoff teams find a way to emerge victorious under any circumstances. That's what the Dolphins must accomplish Sunday in order to take advantage of a golden opportunity to make the post season.
Location: Ralph Wilson Stadium, Orchard Park, New York
Weather: High: 53°F, Low: 29°F, 10% chance of rain
Dolphins Injuries: RB Daniel Thomas (Questionable)
Bills Injuries: QB EJ Manuel (Out), WR Stevie Johnson (Out), S Aaron Williams (Out)
For the Dolphins to win:
The offense must continue their solid play over the course of the current three game winning streak. Ryan Tannehill is playing better now than at any point during his young career. Mike Wallace's presence is finally being felt as he has not only developed some chemistry with Ryan Tannehill but is also opening up the middle of the field for the likes of Brian Hartline, Charles Clay and Rishard Matthews. The running game is taking some of the pressure off the second year quarterback and Mike Sherman's play calling has noticeably improved. If the offensive line can keep Tannehill upright and he can protect the football, the Dolphins should cruise in this one.
For the Bills to win:
Buffalo's pass rushers must take over the game. Thad Lewis' 202 yards, no touchdowns and one interception didn't beat the Dolphins, Buffalo's front seven did. In the fourth quarter back in Week 7, Mario Williams abused Tyson Clabo leading to a strip sack of Tannehill. The fumble allowed the Bills to drive down the field for the game winning field goal. Clabo has played much better since being benced following that game, but he hasn't lined up against anyone with the talent level of Williams. If Williams and a stout defensive line consisting of Marcell Dareus and Kyle Williams can replicate their Week 7 performance, the Bills should like their chances.
Matchup of the Game:
Dolphins offensive line vs Bills defensive line. If the Dolphins can keep Tannehill upright and avoid allowing drive killing sacks in the fourth quarter, there's no reason they should lose this game. However, Buffalo leads the league with 49 sacks so it won't be an easy task.
If the Miami Dolphins really want a playoff spot, they'll find a way to win in Buffalo. Otherwise, there are more deserving teams who should be in running for the Lombardi Trophy.