5 burning questions for Dolphins' journey to Buffalo to face Payments

5 burning questions for Dolphins' journey to Buffalo to face Payments
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5 burning questions for Dolphins' journey to Buffalo to face Payments
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The Miami Dolphins will journey to Buffalo for a matchup towards the Bills on Saturday evening. Sure, it is that point of 12 months when the NFL provides a day to their schedule — and school soccer would not fill Saturdays. And this game will be appointment viewing.

The Dolphins are reeling after two losses. It wasn’t simply that they misplaced — it was how. Dolphins coach Mike McDaniel has loved a system for fulfillment that went uncontested till Week 13. However the San Francisco 49ers and Los Angeles Chargers have founds methods to decelerate Tua Tagovailoa and the Dolphins offense. And that has gunked up the works for all the crew.

The Payments, in the meantime, appear to have gotten via that section of their season. They’ve an offense that may adapt and a protection that is elite. So it might be a tricky matchup for Miami.

Let’s dive into some burning questions.

1. How can Mike McDaniel adapt his offense after seeing defenses create a blueprint for the Dolphins offense?

This was a topic in my takeaways earlier this week. Nevertheless it’s the only most necessary query for the remainder of the Dolphins’ season. When their offense clicks, they’re unbeatable. When their offense falters, they’re extraordinarily beatable. 

So now what?

The Chargers and 49ers did a wonderful job taking away the intermediate space and the center of the sector within the passing recreation. Meaning limiting Tua’s potential to seek out his receivers someplace between 10 and 20 yards from the road of scrimmage. That space has been the place Tua feasts on getting Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle the ball — they usually’re so quick that they’ll generate yards after the catch.

Now, Tua has to seek out methods to assault the brief recreation to fight what groups are doing towards Miami. Another choice: fireplace the ball deep. However you may’t toss up deep balls each play and hope to attain 5 70-yard touchdowns. So the Dolphins should construct out their assault to incorporate extra passes nearer to the road of scrimmage.

“A number of the instances, this 12 months after we discovered success, the primary learn on a deep route could be open. So primarily, we by no means wanted to verify it down quite a bit this 12 months,” Tagovailoa stated Wednesday. “It’s good classes that we’re studying now within the season, stepping into the grind time of the schedule.”

The short recreation shall be what will get the Dolphins offense on monitor towards a Payments protection that has an unimaginable line of defense however an unimpressive cornerback corps.

2. What level of emphasis do the Payments select on offense?

The Payments have accomplished an excellent job of demonstrating their potential to run the ball in current weeks. Their DVOA, a complicated statistic, has proven their effectivity on the bottom bettering over the past three weeks, with a top-10 speeding offense. However that’s not the easiest way to assault the Dolphins protection. Miami struggles to defend the go.

So Josh Allen might need himself a day.

He has been quiet — taking a little bit of a backseat, maybe partly as a consequence of an elbow damage. Slightly than miss a number of video games and relaxation it, he has performed via it. However they appear to be limiting his go try totals. They may not have the ability to do this on this recreation. Allen and Stefon Diggs can completely put up numbers on this Dolphins protection, with prime cornerback Xavien Howard struggling (with the worst protection grade of his profession on PFF).

I think the Payments will lean again into their passing offense. And if the Dolphins determine what’s ailing them, this recreation might flip right into a shootout.

3. Do you know?

Listed below are a handful of attention-grabbing statistics, courtesy of our analysis division at FOX Sports activities.


  • The Dolphins defeated the Payments, 21-19, in Week 3 and are searching for their first season sweep of Buffalo since 2016
  • Tagovailoa was held to a career-low 35.7% completion share in Week 14 (minimal 10 go makes an attempt)
  • The Dolphins are 1-5 when they’re held beneath 20 factors this season (7-0 when scoring 20-plus factors)
  • Miami is 5-1 in its final 6 divisional video games, courting again to final season


  • Allen scored one passing landing and one speeding landing within the Payments’ Week 14 win. The Payments are actually 24-1 (together with playoffs) when Allen scores each a passing and speeding TD.
  • With a win, Allen (49-24 common season file as Payments beginning QB) would turn out to be the third quarterback in Payments franchise historical past to file 50 or extra common season wins.
  • The others? Joe Ferguson (77-86 file) and Jim Kelly (101-59 file).

4. Can we see Tre’Davious White match up towards Tyreek Hill?

If White was fully wholesome, this might be as compelling a matchup as any. However White is slowly recovering from an ACL damage, and he simply bought off a pitch rely final week. So it is going to be attention-grabbing to see how a lot — if in any respect — he performs towards Hill.

“It was good to have him again the place you did not have to have him on a pitch rely,” Bills defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier stated Tuesday. “Simply let him exit and play and get an opportunity to expertise a full recreation. In order that was actually encouraging. There have been some good moments in that recreation and There have been some moments whenever you form of know he isn’t fairly again the place he needs to be.”

Would not sound like Frazier loves the concept of placing White towards the most effective receiver within the NFL. However I wager we see these two gamers battle right here and there.

Tyreek Hill explains why he left the Chiefs for Dolphins

Dolphins WR Tyreek Hill on his departure from the Kansas Metropolis Chiefs and a possible playoff matchup vs. his former crew.

5. How a lot will the climate change the complexion of this matchup?

Whereas I don’t usually put a ton of inventory into climate, the forecast for this recreation feels notable: 20-mile-per-hour winds, a number of inches of snow and a temperature within the low-20s.

Tua has performed a few of his worst video games in chilly climate. And it’ll be chilly Saturday.

“It might be snowing. It might rain. I don’t know. I feel for me a minimum of, I can communicate for myself, it’s a mindset factor,” Tagovailoa stated Wednesday. “And if I’m too centered and fearful about if it’s too chilly, can I seize the ball, can I not, then I’d say I’m centered on the incorrect issues.”

Due to his points within the chilly, Tua spent a while coaching in 20-degree climate final offseason. He hosted a throwing session in Maryland final winter.

That’s not excellent news for Miami, which has been having fun with its temperate climate in Florida. With Tua having an correct however not electrical arm, the wind might be problematic for the Dolphins deep recreation. So, once more, it’ll come again to Miami establishing the fast passing recreation. 

It isn’t just like the chilly goes away for the Dolphins. It is more likely to be chilly in Foxborough, the place Miami will play in Week 17. After which the street to the Tremendous Bowl is more likely to undergo both Buffalo or Kansas City. The Dolphins want to determine make their offense work in adversarial circumstances like those they’re going to play in on Saturday.

As for the Payments, they’re used to this climate. The one query shall be how a lot Allen can throw into that wind — and whether or not his arm energy seems diminished from his elbow damage.

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Previous to becoming a member of FOX Sports activities because the AFC East reporter, Henry McKenna spent seven years masking the Patriots for USA TODAY Sports activities Media Group and Boston Globe Media. Comply with him on Twitter at @McKennAnalysis.

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