The Miami Dolphins may have to pull the trigger on putting Tua Tagovailoa into action, based on what was seen last week against the New England Patriots. Now they return home, in front of some fans, for a defensive test that should be just as stern, as they host the Buffalo Bills in a 1 PM ET start on Sunday. BetAnySports customers will have an opportunity to place wagers in real time on this one, using the software that is available through the magic of Sports Betting Prime.
The Dolphins sputtered early and often on the offensive end against New England, managing just 269 yards in the 21-11 defeat that, truth be told, could have been worse. Ryan Fitzpatrick threw for 191 yards and tossed three interceptions, and when DaVante Parker had to leave the game with a hamstring injury, it showed how little depth this team has at the wide receiver spot. The Dolphins had felt that they would have enough firepower out there, since several of their wideouts had been sidelined with injuries last season and were expected to come back. But lo and behold, Allan Hurns and Albert Wilson elected to opt out, leaving this team in a bind.
Since Miami didn’t run the ball too well against the Pats, we wonder what kind of position that might put them in against this Buffalo stop unit, which was third in the NFL last season, gave up just 16.2 points per game and kept the New York Jets pretty much at bay last week, holding them to fifteen first downs and no points at all until they were out to a 21-0 lead.
In the NFL betting odds that have been posted on this game by the folks at BetAnySports, the Bills are laying points on the road:
Buffalo Bills -6
Miami Dolphins +6
Over 41 points -110
Under 41 points -110
The Dolphins, who had no ground game last season, went out and acquired Matt Breida and Jordan Howard in free agency, but that duo did not produce much last week, combining for 29 yards on 13 carries, while Myles Gaskin got most of the real work (Howard left the game with a hamstring problem). Fitzpatrick only got sacked once, but that’s okay; he was busy throwing the ball into the hands of the guys in the other color uniforms.
And yes, naturally there were going to be cries for Tua to be inserted. But it is not likely the Miami brass is going to be moved. They have a plan and they are going to stick to it. If they can get a bounceback effort from Fitz it would be great, and no one can deny that we have seen some “Fitz Magic” through the years. But we’ve also seen the “good cop, bad cop” act. And historically, when the Harvard grad has had to come back the next week after three or more interceptions, he has not responded. In thirteen instances, his combined passer rating has been 69.5. If you are familiar with passer ratings, that’s not good.
The Dolphins made some improvements on defense in the off-season (including ex-Patriot linebacker Kyle Van Noy), and maybe it’s too early to tell whether they are ready to make any kind of a leap. But they had enough trouble dealing with Cam Newton’s designed runs last week (75 yards and two TD’s) to be concerned with Josh Allen (57 yards and a TD in the 27-17 win over the Jets). Allen can be prone to mistakes, and probably didn’t need to throw it out there 46 times last week, but Buffalo did convert half of its 14 third down chances.
Buffalo took care of business when these teams played at Hard Rock Stadium last year, and that is while Miami was playing much better. The Fish will need to do much better than their 23 yards on the ground in that one. It’s perhaps unfortunate that even though 13,000 fans will be allowed, many of them will be Bills’ fans. That’s the way it’s been. We’ll lay the points.
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