Bills vs. Dolphins Sunday Night Football Prediction and Breakdown (Why Buffalo Has Edge)

The AFC East title is up for grabs Monday night. BetSided's Todd Moser breaks down who has the betting edge between Miami and Buffalo.

Miami Dolphins v Buffalo Bills. Tua v Josh
Miami Dolphins v Buffalo Bills. Tua v Josh / Bryan M. Bennett/GettyImages
facebooktwitterreddit

Four weeks ago, the Buffalo Bills were a minute and 12 seconds away from being 6-7 all but eliminating them from the AFC East division championship. 

Two words changed everything.  Kadarius Toney. 

As Kansas City Chiefs’ fans celebrated their miraculous touchdown to go ahead 23-20 with the extra point pending, the officials gathered as there was a penalty flag on the field that was hardly noticed. 

Both teams held their collective breaths as referee Carl Cheffers made his call, “Offside offense number 19…” 

TV replays would show that Toney’s toe was in fact in the neutral zone thus nullifying the go-ahead touchdown.  The Bills escaped with a 20-17 win to go 7-6 with a ton of momentum. 

Still, Miami had its chance the next day to maintain a nearly insurmountable three-game lead with three games to play.  All the team had to do was beat the lowly Tennessee Titans at home in front of a national Monday night audience. 

Hey no problem, right? 

Ahead 27-13 with under four minutes to play, victory was all but assured. 

The ESPN telecast pointed out that in the previous 767 consecutive games played, no team had lost such a lead.  0-767.  We all know what happened. 

That statistic became 1-767 and all of a sudden, the now 9-4 Dolphins could see the Bills in their rear-view mirror. 

And as ESPN’s Chris Berman used to say, “NOBODY circles the wagons like the Buffalo Bills.”

Fast forward three weeks, and the Bills find themselves somehow back in the AFC East title battle with a 10-6 record. 

Meanwhile, the Dolphins have literally limped home to a 11-5 record which gives the winner of Sunday’s game the AFC East title. 

Who could have imagined such a scenario pre-Kadarius Toney?  For me, the two “I’s” are the biggest factors of this all-important game: Injuries and intangibles. 

I’ll explain below, but let’s first look at the tale of the tape.

Bills vs. Dolphins Odds, Spread and Total

Bills vs. Dolphins Team Stats

Here's where each team ranks in some key statistics heading into Sunday's matchup:

Bills

Dolphins

Yards Per Game

5th

1st

Points Per Game

6th

1st

Passing Yards Per Game

10th

1st

Rushing Yards Per Game

7th

5th

Total Defense -- Yards Per Game Allowed

10th

9th

Points Allowed Per Game

4th

21st

Passing Yards Allowed Per Game

7th

12th

Rushing Yards Allowed Per Game

15th

7th

Turnover Margin

+3 (11th)

+1 (15th)

Total Sacks

3rd

3rd

Bills vs. Dolphins Key Individual Stats

  • Passing: Tua Tagovailoa ranks first in passing yards, tied for fourth in passing touchdowns and fourth in passer rating.  The Bills’ Josh Allen ranks seventh, tied for seventh, and seventeenth in those categories.
  • Receiving: Tyreek Hill ranks first in reception yards, is tied for second in receptions, and second in receiving touchdowns. The Bills’ top receiver and Dolphins nightmare Stefon Diggs ranks 17th, 10th, and tied for eighth in touchdowns. 
  • Rushing: Raheem Mostert ranks sixth in rushing yards, eighth in rushing yards per game and first in rushing TDs.  De’Von Achane ranks fourth in yards per game and second in average per carry.  Bills’ running back James Cook ranks third in rushing yards, seventh in yards per game, but has only scored two rushing scores. Josh Allen has also added 457 yards rushing which is good for 43rd in the league but has also scored an incredible 15 touchdowns which trails only Mostert.
  • Sacks: Miami’s sack leader Bradley Chubb is out for the year ranks 14th with 11 sacks. The Bills’ leading sacker is defensive end Leonard Floyd who is tied for 14th with 10.5 sacks. 

Bills vs. Dolphins Head-to-Head Breakdown

Dolphins offense vs. Bills defense.  Last week’s Dolphins/Ravens matchup pitted the top-ranked offense vs. the top-ranked defense.  Defense won that battle. 

This is a similar matchup as Miami’s top-ranked offense goes up against the fourth ranked scoring defense.  In week four, the Bills held Miami to 20 points. 

Miami did manage 142 rushing yards, and it will need to produce close to that to maintain its balance and keep the Bills offense off the field. 

Buffalo only ranks 15th in rush yards allowed so a small window of opportunity for the Dolphins.  Past history says the Buffalo D has had the advantage over the Miami O in this match-up.

Advantage: Bills.

Fins defense vs. Bills offense.  Four weeks ago, I would have said advantage Fins, but a lot has changed in terms of injuries. 

This version of the Dolphins defense is not the same as it was at its healthy peak.  In just one week, their team stats have dropped in every category.  

I’m sure Buffalo’s plan will be to pick on back-up cornerback Eli Apple, and that’s a recipe for success given the week four results. Josh Allen passed for over 300 yards and four touchdowns and added a rushing touchdown in a 48-20 romp. 

Advantage: Bills.

Kicking game.  While most everything else has gone downhill for the Dolphins, the kicking game has awoken.  Dolphins’ kicker Jason Sanders has made 17-of-19 (89%) since the bye week and has made his last 12. 

Overall, he is 24-28 (86%) which is a season high 20th best in the league.  Bills’ kicker Tyler Bass is having an off year by his standards. 

He has one more miss than Sanders (24-29), and his 83% ranks him 23rd.  Fins’ punter Jake Bailey has been near the bottom of the league all year long in gross and net yards per punt. 

Bailey averages 45.5 gross and 42.0 net which ranks him 30th and 18th Bills punter Sammy Martin is averaging 45.9 gross yards per punt but only 39.9 net. 

That ranks him tied 26th and 28th in the league. 

Advantage: Even

Injuries.  For me, the biggest single injury for both sides is the Fins cornerback Xavien Howard. 

Not having Howard on the field means the Dolphins will start former first-round pick Eli Apple.  Early in the season with Apple on the field due to a Jalen Ramsey injury, the Dolphins defense was a bottom 10 unit in many statistical categories in large part because Apple could not cover his receivers or assignments -- and teams picked on him. 

As mentioned above, Josh Allen certainly did in the 48-20 romp in Week 4.  That defensive trend continued until Ramsey returned eight weeks ago and transformed the Dolphin D to a top five defense.

In addition to Howard, the Dolphins will be without its top two pass rushers, Jaelen Phillips and Bradley Chubb, both of which were lost for the year while on the field late in games whose results were already determined. 

The Dolphins could get linebacker Jerome Baker back after missing several games but that appears to be a game-time decision.  The Dolphins also are not expected to have running back Raheem Mostert or wide receiver Jaylen Waddle.

For Buffalo, Center Mitch Morse is the only player listed as questionable and did not practice Friday but IS expected to play.  Buffalo has other players banged up and are listed on the Bills’ injury report; however, all are scheduled to play including Josh Allen. 

Huge Advantage Bills

Intangibles.  Momentum is a highly argued intangible. Some believe it’s nonsense. Others, like me, believe it can determine a game’s outcome perhaps even before it’s played. 

If Miami loses, it still has a playoff game next week most likely on the road vs. the Kansas City Chiefs.  For the Bills, this is most likely a win you’re in, lose you’re out scenario. 

I will side with the more desperate team nine times out of 10.  Not only that, but the Bills have also won four games in a row while Miami has gone 2-2. 

The Dolphins are playing at home, but some are reporting a heavy influx of Bills Mafia, and it could be close to a 50/50 crowd. 

Hard to believe, but I’m sure Hard Rock Stadium will be filled with at least 25% Bills fansThe Dolphins have struggled against teams with winning records. 

They did beat the Dallas Cowboys two weeks ago, but that team was healthier than the present version. Lastly, Tua has struggled against the Bills going just 1-5 against them.

Big Advantage Bills

Bills vs. Dolphins Prediction

For me, It’s the last two categories that determines who wins this game. 

The Bills really HAVE to win; the Dolphins don't. The Fins are banged up at key positions and have had little success against the Bills.

Buffalo is favored by 2.5 points, and I think they will have no trouble winning and covering the spread.

Bills win 27-17 and cover the 2.5 (-115)

You can bet on this game, and this prediction at FanDuel Sportsbook! New users that wager $5 will receive $150 in bonus bets no matter the outcome!

Sign up for FanDuel NOW!


Game odds refresh periodically and are subject to change.