Let’s take a look at 3 of the most important battles, individual and team-wide, at determining the outcome of this week’s game.
First of all, I’d like to wish everyone here on the Phinsider a very happy holiday season. I hope everyone has a chance to recharge their batteries before resuming the daily grind.
To survive “Squish the Fish” week, the Miami Dolphins will have to match the emotional intensity of this revenge game, which can be easier said than done when playing against an AFC East rival like Buffalo, at their place, at the end of December, with both teams still vying for a spot in the 2016 NFL Playoffs.
Avoiding a slow start may very well be our quickest path to a victory, as I watched the Dolphins put together a bumbling circus last year in Buffalo, quickly falling behind 9-0 after letting Buffalo score on their first possession and then hiking the ball out of the end zone for a safety on the first offensive play. You simply can’t start a game of this magnitude getting butt-humped by Murphy’s Law.
I’m nervous, I’m excited, I have no idea what to expect, I’m scared. Hold me. I’d love to exorcise the demons of failed Decembers past.
The Dolphins ought to be aware of the fake field goal and punt, and to prepare for an offense that’ll likely try a trick play and/or go for multiple 4th downs. I’ll admit, this is a dangerous game.
3) LeSean McCoy Vs. Dolphins LB’s
Shady is trouble, both as a runner and a receiver. He’ll be the focus of the Bills offense, leading the top ranked rushing attack in the NFL. How we tackle McCoy in space, and how we plug holes at the line of scrimmage will be of paramount concern to the Dolphins defense.
Shady was held in check in the first showdown - mostly due to injury, but we played well against him even before his injury. One of the recipes for a Dolphins defeat is McCoy carving through the Dolphins defense, keeping the Bills ahead in time of possession and down/distance.
2) Matt Moore Vs. The Blitz
Rex Ryan isn’t known for his subtlety, and despite the Jets ill-fated attempts to blitz last week, I think the Bills attack. They’re angry; their coach is on the ropes. They’ll feel confident playing at home. The Bills players will be gunning for Dolphins blood.
How Matt Moore identifies and attacks the blitz will dictate many o’ game scenario - do we make big plays or commit turnovers?
1) Dolphins DL Vs. Tyrod Taylor
The Dolphins were able to control the line of scrimmage against the Bills in the 1st meeting, specifically sacking Tyrod Taylor 4 times and stuffing the run game. Taylor’s passing stats were in “garbage time” - neutralizing Taylor is difficult twice in a season, let alone on his home turf. If we’re able to make Taylor uncomfortable like the 1st encounter, we’re going to be standing eye-to-eye with a Playoff berth.
What key match-ups do you see Phinsider Nation? Let’s hear it in the Comments!