The Bills play their first divisional game in Miami against Tua and the comeback kids who upset the Baltimore Ravens, with multiple injuries it could mean uncertainty for the team.
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BUFFALO, NY. (9-23-2022) - "Squish the Fish," It's a word that many Buffalo Bills fans like to say when the team plays the Miami Dolphins. However, their next matchup this Sunday has the potential to renew this division rivalry in a new age.
The Bills dethroned King Henry and the Tennessee Titans in Orchard Park on Monday Night Football. Meanwhile, the Dolphins shocked the NFL after pulling off a 21 point comeback to defeat the Baltimore Ravens 41-38 at M&T Bank Stadium. One guy in particular shocked many people that doubted his abilities as an NFL quarterback.
Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa threw for 469 yards, six touchdowns, a 71 completion percentage and a 134.7 passer rating. Four of those touchdowns were split between receivers Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle. It led him to winning AFC offensive player of the week. However, his stats against the Bills average 193 passing yards, one touchdown, 56.4 completion percentage and a 59.8 passer rating.
But the addition of Hill who posesses great speed along with Jalen Waddle gives Tua the chance to make the big time throws as these two can break through coverage and lose defenders.
This will be a problem for the Bills secondary, with Micah Hyde and Dane Jackson sustaining neck injuries against the Titans. Tre'Davious White is still out with his ACL tear. Also not to mention Tyreek Hill proved to be a menace against the Bills, especially in the AFC divisional game last season when he scorched the team in the fourth quarter for a touchdown.
The pass rush also has injury issues with defensive tackle Jordan Phillips missing practice Thursday with a hamstring injury before being officially ruled out by head coach Sean McDermott Friday along with Hyde. Other DTs Ed Oliver and Tim Settle were limited that same day. Von Miller and Gregory Rousseau both had a good first two weeks with a combined four sacks and seven tackles for a loss. But the Dolphins o-line allowed only one sack on 50 pass attempts against the Ravens.
Gabriel Davis was also limited after missing Monday night's win due to an ankle injury he sustained last Saturday. Although guys like Jake Kumerow, Isaiah Mckenzie and Jamison Crowder steped up, Josh Allen relied heavily on Stefon Diggs.
The Dolphins secondary also struggled against Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson, allowing 318 yards and three touchdowns. The pass rush also struggled, not collecting a single sack or qb hit.
With the Bills injuries and the Dolphins struggles on defense this game can prove to be a real shootout between two AFC East teams. If Davis is cleared to play, this will take attention away from Diggs and the running game will have the opportunity to help with game management.
Prediction: Bills win 35-28
This game will come down to who has the better defense and how the Bills can handle their injury situation. Tua did have a good game against Baltimore but we don't know if he can stay consistent or if the defense can contain Diggs, Singletary and the rest of Allen's supporting cast. This will lead to the Bills remaining undefeated and regaining the AFC East lead.