Week 1? Let’s put it in the rear-view mirror. The Miami Dolphins certainly have by now — their attention is ahead to Week 2 against the Buffalo Bills for a pivotal AFC East matchup. With a win, the Dolphins can confidently say they’re an improved team and hopefully transition into a season of contending. With a loss, the season isn’t loss — but the odds decrease dramatically that Miami will find itself in position to play in the postseason if they drop to 0-2.
There’s a lot at stake. But what should we expect? Here are five bold predictions for the Miami Dolphins’ Week 2 showdown against the Buffalo Bills.
Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports
Bills QB Josh Allen has a career low passer rating versus Miami
Allen has been a “feast or famine” quarterback in the NFL thus far and it has been all “feast” against the Dolphins. Three consecutive games with a passer rating greater than 100 against Miami equates to one-third of all games Allen has logged with a rating that high over 29 games. But the Dolphins defense Allen will face in Week 2 is not the same one he’s picked on between the end of the Adam Gase era and Year 1 of the Dolphins’ rebuild effort. Miami has the athletes to try to matchup with the Bills’ wide receiver room — and if the simulated pressures (Miami was 6th in the NFL in Week 1 in winning their pass rush reps according to ESPN’s pass run win-rate metric) get home, Miami can force some mistakes.
Allen’s previous low water mark against the Dolphins came in the first contest — 71.7.
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Matt Breida is this week’s RB1
Week 1 became the Myles Gaskin show in the Dolphins’ backfield. The Dolphins should make a concentrated effort to stay active in the ground game, especially with the Bills missing their top two linebackers for this contest. Hitting on big plays was a big issue for Miami in Week 1 — Breida is their most dynamic running back and had some success in his limited touches against the Patriots. Look for him to take a bigger slice of the snaps this weekend.
Oct 20, 2019; Orchard Park, NY, USA; Miami Dolphins wide receiver DeVante Parker (11) reacts to his first down catch against the Buffalo Bills during the third quarter at New Era Field. Mandatory Credit: Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports
DeVante Parker plays…and scores
Parker will be a game time decision for the Dolphins. But knowing that he was able to participate in practice this week on a limited basis is encouraging. If he does play, Miami will likely pick their spots with him — don’t expect a full workload. But 15-20 reps might be a nice spot for Miami, sprinkling Parker in as needed in critical red zone or third down opportunities. We think he’ll play. And we think Miami will manage him into a score.
Sep 13, 2020; Foxborough, Massachusetts, USA; New England Patriots quarterback Cam Newton (1) runs for a touchdown in front of Miami Dolphins outside linebacker Jerome Baker (55) during the third quarter at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brian Fluharty-USA TODAY Sports
The run defense concedes half of what it gave up in Week 1
217. 217 rushing yards. You can bet the Dolphins coaching staff hammered that number home to the team all week long. The Dolphins have to be better. And while quarterback Josh Allen is an athletic threat with the football and will likely get a few designed runs his way, the Dolphins will be better prepared to defend them thanks to their experience against this Bills personnel and the baptism by fire the team endured last week. Look for Miami to take their run responsibilities seriously — and to keep the Bills relatively in check. There’s wins to be had against the right side of that Buffalo offensive line.
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The Dolphins win!
20-17. You heard it here first. The Dolphins are playing with a lot on the line. They’re hungry to prove Week 1 wasn’t who they are. The team is at home and sports a significant home field advantage. The Bills are missing arguably their second and third best defenders in linebackers Tremaine Edmunds and Matt Milano.