Miami Dolphins Vs. Buffalo Bills:10 Things For Fins Fans To Watch For in Week 15
"Tom, give me a reason why I should watch this week's Dolphins-Bills game."
One reason? I could think of 10, as in 10 things to watch for.
The Miami Dolphins are 7-6, in the playoff hunt but needing a lot of help.
Baltimore, San Diego, Indianapolis and the dreaded, stinkin' New York Jets. That's a list of teams ahead of the Dolphins in the Wild Card hunt.
On top of that, as much as I love the Dolphins, even if they made the playoffs they'd be a one and done team.
Worse, the Dolphins making the playoffs could justify keeping Henning and Henne. Raise your hand if you want that.
No hands, wow, I thought you guys wanted an offensive genius like Henning as offensive coordinator. And we all know Henne is the second coming of Tom Brady.
All joking aside, here's what to look for this week.
10. The Miami Dolphins Running Game Getting Unleashed
Nick Laham/Getty Images
The Buffalo Bills are ranked 32nd in the NFL in rushing yards holding opponents (if you could call it that) to "only" 165.8 yards per game.
There are only 32 teams in the NFL.
The Miami Dolphins are averaging 106.2 yards per game, ranking 19th in the league.
This of course means that Dan Henning is going to put the game in Henne's hands and make him win it.
All joking aside, we should expect the Dolphins to run the ball more against a porous Bills run defense, despite the Bills possibly putting eight or even nine men in the box.
9. Buffalo Airing It Out, Or at Least Trying To
Rick Stewart/Getty Images
The Bills are far from an easy opponent.
They lost to the Dolphins 15-10 during Week 1 with Trent Edwards at quarterback. Who knows if Ryan Fitzpatrick, who's putting up a solid year as the Bills starter, would've lead Buffalo to a win.
This time around Fitzpatrick is starting and the weather looks to be a lot more conducive for an explosive offense.
While the Bills are only ranked 26th in total offense (25th in passing, 12th in rushing) they have scored an average of 19.7 points per game, which isn't terrible, especially since the Dolphins only score 17.3 points per game.
While the Dolphins will try to win it on the ground, expect Buffalo to win it in the air using the Fitzpatrick-to-Steve Johnson connection as much as possible despite their recent struggles (we'll get to that later).
This of course leads to the next point.
8. Cameron Wake Continuing His Dominance
Scott Cunningham/Getty Images
Former Dolphins Linebacker Zach Thomas is advocating Wake's case as well.
Now what could he do against Buffalo?
The Bills have already allowed 26 sacks all season, Wake by himself has 14.
He only got one sack against the Bills opening day. Expect him to get about two or three and continue to build his case for being Defensive Player Of The Year.
7. Dan Carpenter
Andy Lyons/Getty Images
You know he's going to be the primary offense.
6. Brandon Marshall Will Get More Touches
Marc Serota/Getty Images
Expect the ball to be thrown to Brandon Marshall more.
Yes I know the Bills rank fourth defending the pass, however, to steal from Gregg Easterbrook, bad teams tend to rank high against the pass and low against the run because they're more likely to be down by a large deficit by the end and face more rushing plays.
Or something like that.
Either way, Marshall will get the ball thrown his way more, the question is, will it actually be thrown to him, or will it be thrown over him or below him?
5. Empty Seats at Sun Life Stadium
Marc Serota/Getty Images
Look at the orange in the background.
That's not because the Dolphins chose to go with an orange theme, but because they're empty.
Sunday's forecast in Miami: 74 degrees and sunny.
Sounds like a beach day, no?
Yes, I hate this fact too. However, it's a fact, when our teams are out of it, we won't show up.
And even though math says we're still in it, common sense says we're not.
Normally I'd rail against Dolphins fans for not showing up, but this time, I don't have the heart to do it.
Dolphins-Bills just doesn't excite me the same way that it used to, and it excites me less with the Fins at 7-6.
It will still be listed as a sell-out due to season ticket holders and those who purchased tickets to this game earlier, but many will probably choose to just eat their tickets.
4. A "Let's Go Heat" Chant
How boring will this game get?
Well, assuming that the Heat beat Washington Saturday night (if they play like they did against the Knicks I would say a given) then they'll be on a 12-game winning streak.
They're exciting and fun to watch if you're a Miami sports fan.
In other words, they're everything the Dolphins aren't.
Two weeks ago against the Browns, a "Let's Go Heat" chant came about during the game.
Expect the same against the Bills in the third quarter while the score is 7-6 Dolphins and Brandon Fields punts again.
(This concludes the portion of the slideshow where I prove the national media correct on their assessment of Miami sports fans, despite my efforts over the last few months to prove them wrong. Thank you Miami Dolphins for being so boring and predictable on offense that I've resorted to doing that!)
3. Steve Johnson vs. God
Before this infamous drop, Steve Johnson had caught 59 passes for 796 yards and nine touchdowns and looked primed for a Pro Bowl season, averaging 5.4 catches for 72.3 yards and a touchdown per game.
Then he dropped the ball, and blamed God. We all know the story.
But its interesting to note that his numbers haven't come close.
Against Minnesota he caught two passes for 36 yards.
He then followed that up with five catches for 42 yards.
He didn't score in either game.
Not to be a Holy Roller—and yes, there's plenty of logical evidence that shows why his performance has slipped—but, you have to admit, it's pretty funny that his performance has gone down since blaming God. Its almost like a reverse Bruce Almighty.
(Speaking of that flick, here's some trivia, it's set in Buffalo, which makes me think that he probably saw the movie before sending out that tweet and thought that by blaming him, the major plot point of the movie would happen. If I'm the Bills, I'd spend whatever money I can to get Morgan Freeman and his white suit down to Buffalo.)
It looks like it won't get much better, remember the Dolphins are ranked sixth against the pass, and Johnson will have to deal with either Vontae Davis or an improved Sean Smith, who can do anything but catch the ball (yes, I'll get to him).
God bless you Steven Johnson, you're going to need it.
2. Sean Smith Will Finally Get an Interception
Andy Lyons/Getty Images
They've been thrown his way, just teasing him, yet somehow he drops it.
He even could've had two in New York last week.
This will continue this Sunday, however at one point in the game, the ball will go right to No. 24.
He will catch it, end of story.
1. The Dolphins Will Pull Out a Close One Just Like in Week 1
Nick Laham/Getty Images
The Dolphins have had a habit of playing close to the vest offensive football while playing stifling defense.
This won't change during this game.
They're favored over the Bills by six. Believe me, the Bills have a better shot than that.
But the difference between bad teams and good teams is bad teams find ways to lose.
The Bills should do just that.
Dolphins will take the win, 16-13.
However if this doesn't occur and the Fins lose, then the gentleman in this photo will be relieved of his duties at the end of the season and wished luck in his future endeavors.