Week 17 previews:
Analysis, predictions, Danny Sheridan’s lines. Pages 13-20.
Sunday, 1 p.m. ET, New Era Field, Orchard Park, New York TV: CBS
Danny Sheridan’s line: Bills by 3 ⁄2
Dolphins’ keys to victory: Earlier this season against the Bills, Dolphins QB Ryan Tannehill had three touchdown passes despite just 137 yards passing. He had plenty of time in the pocket that day. The offensive line has to give Tannehill time to find openings in Buffalo’s zone defense. The Bills’ pass rush hasn’t scared anyone this season either, so it’s not a tall task. Defensively, Miami has to keep an eye on Bills rookie QB Josh Allen. It tried to do so in their first meeting, but Allen had 135 yards rushing (a career high) on nine carries that day. Only one of those was a designed run that day.
Bills’ keys to victory: The Bills’ offensive line has struggled all season. Allen is pressured far too often, and the running game has not had any holes. If the offensive line can keep Allen upright, allowing him to take deep shots, it will potentially open holes for Allen or LeSean McCoy via the ground game. Defensively, the front seven needs to apply more pressure. Opposing quarterbacks have had plenty of time to wait for routes to develop from their playmakers. It has been a tough ask for Buffalo’s secondary players to hold their coverage for such an extended amount of time.
Matchup to watch: Bills’ Allen vs. Dolphins LB Kiko Alonso. In the first meeting, Alonso was the one charged with watching Allen. The rookie quarterback put him in a spin cycle on several occasions, leading to his career rushing day.
Who wins? The Bills’ secondary has bounced back a bit from their ugly day against Tannehill and the Dolphins.