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News, notes and nuggets heading into massive Dolphins vs. Bills battle

Following a brutal loss to the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday, the Miami Dolphins are still in a position to claim the AFC East, which comes with the No. 2 seed, a home playoff game and potentially more.

The hated Buffalo Bills have had their own rollercoaster of a season and find themselves in win-and-in playoff situations while a loss could even leave them on the outskirts of the postseason.

While this game may not be for the faint of heart, perhaps the stakes could’ve been avoided if Miami was able to lock one or two more wins up over the course of the season. However, the Dolphins sit at 11-5 and aim to lock up their first divisional title since 2008. They were crowned division winners then on the very last game of the season, beating the New York Jets on the road.

The last time the Miami and Buffalo franchises played for the AFC East title on the last game of the season was December 19, 1981.

Here are some more news, notes and nuggets for Sunday’s game:

Bills and Dolphins have heated and historic rivalry

Mandatory Credit: Gregory Fisher-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Gregory Fisher-USA TODAY Sports
  • The Dolphins lead the all-time regular season series 61-53-1, while the Bills hold the postseason advantage 4-1.

  • Miami beat Buffalo last year at Hard Rock Stadium in Week 3 21-19. However, Buffalo has won the three meetings after that, all on the road
    at Highmark Stadium, including last year’s AFC wild-card matchup.

At stake for the Dolphins

(Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
(Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
  • Should the Dolphins beat the Bills, they’d clinch the AFC East for the first time since 2008 as well as assure them of the No. 2 seed in the postseason for the first time since 1992.

  • A victory on Sunday night will also make it the first time Miami has won 12 games in a season since 1990 as well as give the Dolphins eight home wins in a season for just the second time in team history (1985).

  • A Week 18 win would make it Miami’s 20th win in their past 23 home games.

Dolphins Offense needs explosiveness shown throughout season

(Photo by Todd Olszewski/Getty Images)
(Photo by Todd Olszewski/Getty Images)
  • Heading into the final game of the 2023 season, the Dolphins are 31 points and 389 total yards away from franchise records in both areas.

  • They lead the NFL in scoring as well as total offense entering Week 18.

  • The Dolphins lead the NFL in several explosive play metrics, including most plays of 10+ yards (243) and 50+ yards (12), and they’re tied for second in most plays of 25+ yards (45).

  • Going into Week 18, Miami leads the NFL in passing offense, averaging 271.7 net passing yards per game. On pace to have 4,619 net
    passing yards, which would be the team’s most since 1986. Miami hasn’t led the league in passing since 1993, when they threw for 4,353 yards.

Tua Tagovailoa's timing and offensive line protection top tier this season

Mandatory Credit: Gregory Fisher-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Gregory Fisher-USA TODAY Sports
  • The Dolphins have allowed quarterback hits on just 56 dropbacks while surrendering only 30.0 sacks this season. These numbers are despite the team starting 11 different offensive line combinations this season.

  • The 11 different starting line combinations make it the second-most in the NFL. Miami’s 30.0 sacks allowed are tied for the fourth-fewest in the league, and the 56 quarterback hits allowed are the lowest in the NFL by a nautical mile.

Defense needs to rebound and contain Josh Allen

Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports
  • While the Dolphins’ defense wasn’t good against Lamar Jackson and the Baltimore Ravens, since Week 5, Miami has led the NFL in quarterback hits (95), ranked second in sacks (43.0),  third in total defense (giving up 286.7 yards a game) and fourth in rushing defense (85.7 yards per game allowed).

  • Entering Week 18, Miami ranks ninth in total defense, allowing just 308.6 yards per game.

  • The Dolphins are in the league’s top 10 in several defensive categories including quarterback hits, sacks, rushing defense, yards per rush, total defense and yards per play.

  • The unit has allowed just 11 offensive touchdowns in eight home games this season.

The Sack Masters

(Photo by Rich Storry/Getty Images)
(Photo by Rich Storry/Getty Images)
  • The Dolphins have a total of 53.0 team sacks and are tied for third in the NFL. They also lead the league with 123 quarterback hits – 12 more than anybody else in the league.

  • Their 53 sacks are already a team record with one more game to play, surpassing the 2005 team when they recorded 49, with Jason Taylor leading the way with 12.

  • The Dolphins have recorded a sack in every game this season.

  • Miami has three different players with at least 8.0 sacks this season, including Bradley Chubb (11), Zach Sieler ( 9.5) and Christian Wilkins (8.0). They have six with at least 5.0 sacks this season and in addition to the three previously named, throw in Jaelan Phillips (6.5), Andrew Van Ginkel (6.0) and Emmanuel Ogbah (5.0).

  • This would be the second time in team history (since sacks became an official statistic in 1982) that the Dolphins have had three players with at least eight sacks in a season, joining the Miami unit in 1998.

  • The only other NFL teams to have three players with at least eight sacks this season are the Ravens and Indianapolis Colts.

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Story originally appeared on Dolphins Wire