Week 16: Time For The Miami Dolphins to Exorcise December Demons

Heading in to Sundays game against the Buffalo Bills, the Dolphin fanbase has seen this act played out for a decade. Playoff implications and the team knows what they need to do. It is simple just win. Seems easy right? Not so fast, this implication is filled with heartbreak, tears and disappointment. A win this week means playoff atmosphere for the final game against the Jets, a win this week means the Dolphins go to 3-2 in the AFC East. A win this week takes this Dolphin team and further justifies Jeff Ireland’s spending spree and draft picks for the past three years.

So it is safe to say this game means a lot.

Thad Lewis is set to start again for the Buffalo Bills, earlier in the year he went into Miami Gardens and escaped with a win. Mario Williams bullrushed right tackle Tyson Clabo and sacked Ryan Tannehill. Bringing Miami’s record to 3-3 which led to the acquisition to Bryant McKinnie since this sack cost the Dolphins a game.

Fast forward to week sixteen. The Dolphins come in winning three straight, two on the road and last week’s victory against the New England Patriots at home kept their playoff chances alive. This Dolphin team is confident, they feel they can compete with anybody. Now here is another shot to prove this team is legit and not another fraud.

Statistically these teams are identical overall.

What the Dolphins need to do in order to win is protect Ryan Tannehill. The Bills lead the league in sacks (49) and are a top ten defense in terms of yards per play (5.0). While the Dolphins are eleventh ranked defensively (5.2)

Both of these defenses have a big advantage verse the offense, they can get to the quarterback and defend the pass with the best of the them.

Last week the Dolphins were destroyed by injury, Brent Grimes and Nolan Carroll were injured late in the game and Tom Brady exploited Jimmy Wilson and rookie Will Davis. This week it looks like both Grimes and Carroll will play.

The two offenses are below average overall. They struggle both running and passing the ball statistically.

The Dolphins are slightly better but not by much. This week I actually give the slight edge to Buffalo just because the game is at home. The Dolphins are slightly better than Buffalo overall, they have the better weapons overall. The offense is playing better as a late. Ryan Tannehill has averaged 281 pass yards, and has eight touchdowns to two interceptions and he’s completed 64% of his passes in the month of December. The play from Tannehill this month is a large reason why this Dolphins team is surging at the right time despite the shaky offensive line play.

Which would make the difference for this matchup.

In order for the Miami Dolphins to get a victory this weekend they need to protect Ryan Tannehill, and prevent the big play from Buffalo since they are below average. One mistake and the game can take a turn for the worse for Miami. The Dolphins need to keep an eye on running back C.J Spiller. Despite having an injury plague year as the starter, he still has the capability to bust a game wide open.

Now for my prediction was one point off of correctly predicting last weeks matchup, let’s see how unaccountable I can be this week.

28-20 Dolphins.

Playoffs

In order for the Miami Dolphins to have officially clinch the final wild card spot, they would need the Baltimore Ravens to lose to the New England Patriots and Cincinnati Bengals lose to Minnesota.

For Miami to have sole possession of the final wild card spot they would need the Ravens to lose this week.

 

* All stats are from http://www.pro-football-reference.com/