The Buffalo Bills find themselves in unfamiliar territory as they remain in contention for a playoff berth entering the final week of the regular season. The Bills will look to end a 17-year playoff drought on Sunday with a win over the Miami Dolphins at Hard Rock Stadium, but they’ll need some help to boot.
In addition to completing a season sweep of Miami, Buffalo would require a Baltimore loss to Cincinnati or have Tennessee and the Los Angeles Chargers lose to Jacksonville and Oakland, respectively. “It’s exciting, I’ve got to believe, for this city,” Bills coach Sean McDermott said. “(This organization is) in a position that we haven’t been in, this city hasn’t been in, for a number of years.” Unfortunately for the Dolphins, they are in a familiar position as losses in seven of nine games have the team set to miss the playoffs for the 14th time in the last 16 seasons. “I feel like we’ve let a lot of things slip through our fingers and that’s where we’ve got to understand, when you’re a young player, sometimes you forget how valuable every game is,” Dolphins coach Adam Gase said.
TV: 4:25 p.m. ET, CBS. LINE: Bills -2.5. O/U: 42.5
ABOUT THE BILLS (8-7): LeSean McCoy resides fourth in the league in rushing with 1,128 yards, although the six-time Pro Bowl selection was limited to just 50 yards on 20 carries in Buffalo’s 24-16 win over Miami on Dec. 17. McCoy was still productive with a rushing and receiving touchdown in that contest while also eclipsing 10,000 career yards, causing the 29-year-old to breathe a sigh of relief. Quarterback Tyrod Taylor tossed a touchdown pass and rushed for another against Miami, but was held out of the end zone the following week in a 37-16 rout by New England.
ABOUT THE DOLPHINS (6-9): Gase and Jarvis Landry each downplayed a deeper meaning to a sideline spat in last week’s 29-13 loss at Kansas City, with the coach saying “it’s part of the game - it just happens” while the wideout said he was merely having a conversation. Landry recorded 10 of his NFL-leading 103 catches in the last meeting with Buffalo while running back Kenyan Drake erupted for 113 scrimmage yards and a rushing score in that contest. Drake, who has found his stride since the in-season trade of Jay Ajayi to Philadelphia, got off to a fast start with runs of 31 and 19 yards in the first quarter.
1. Miami QB Jay Cutler benefited from plenty of short-yardage completions in the encounter versus Buffalo, but was done in by three interceptions.
2. Bills WR Deonte Thompson had four catches for 91 yards last week after mustering five receptions for 77 yards in his previous four games.
3. The Dolphins are minus-13 in turnover differential, while their 28 turnovers are tied for second most in the league.
PREDICTION: Dolphins 20, Bills 16