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HomeSportsThree storylines shaping Bills-Dolphins showdown

Three storylines shaping Bills-Dolphins showdown

Trent Sheffield has witnessed the growing AFC East rivalry between the Miami Dolphins and Buffalo Bills.

The Bills wide receiver faced off against the Dolphins last season, when the two teams met three times, including in the playoffs, with all three games decided by three points or less.

What can Sheffield expect from Sunday’s matchup between the two teams at Highmark Stadium (1 p.m. ET, CBS)?

“It was definitely a physical fight,” he said. “Obviously, when I was there, we always knew the Bills, we, we were ready to play. I thought (coach Sean) McDermott did a good job of letting us know, ‘Hey, let’s lock in Ourselves, no game is too big. Let’s not let the outside noise try to hype us up and get us all out of shape. It’s just another game.”

However, the history between the two teams suggests this will be more than just another game.

The Bills have beaten the Dolphins by 2.5 points in 11 of 13 games since McDermott took over as head coach in 2017, but both teams have won a game in their respective home stadiums. A regular season game (a heat wave affected several Bills teams), Miami players and snowballers were involved in a close game in Orchard Park, N.Y., last year, while the Bills had backup quarterback Skylar Thompson in Miami. Win a playoff game. With the Jets dealing with the departure of Aaron Rodgers and the Patriots still finding their way into the post-Tom Brady era, the outcome of Week 4 could play a key role in helping decide the AFC East title race . The Bills have won each of the past three seasons.

Here’s a breakdown of both teams from Bills reporter Alaina Gersenberg and Dolphins reporter Marcel Louis-Jacques

Miami’s offense ranks No. 1, while Buffalo’s defense ranks No. 2

What makes the Dolphins offense so difficult to defend? their balance. The Miami Heat lead the NFL in passing yards (362) and rushing yards per game (188.3), a stark contrast from last season when they had the league’s fourth-best passing attack but the league’s eighth-worst Rushing offense. The NFL’s three leading touchdown scorers all play for the Dolphins: Raheem Mostert (No. 1, 7), De’Von Achane and Tyreek Hill (tied with two other players for second with 4 touchdowns). They’ve proven this offense is a scoring threat from anywhere on the field, becoming the first team to score at least 70 points and 700 yards in a game in a win over the Broncos, and 5 in a game. 70-20 in Week 3. rushing and 5 passing touchdowns.

Dolphin’s X-Factor: Mostert rushed for 136 yards on 17 carries in last year’s Week 15 game, but he missed the wild-card game. — Marcel Louis Jacques

How does the Bills defense suppress opponents? In McDermott’s first season as defensive coordinator and head coach, the Bills defense got off to a strong start by making opposing offenses uncomfortable and capitalizing on turnovers. Despite having the second-lowest blitz rate in the league (15.7%), the Bills lead the league in quarterback pressure percentage (50.6%) and sacks per dropback (13.3%). Buffalo also leads the league in takeaways (nine).

“The challenge this week is the ball comes out too fast (from quarterback Tua Tagovailoa), so we have to find some way, some way,” McDermott said. “I mean, if I remember correctly, I think Tua got sacked once all year. So, that’s pretty impressive.”

Bill’s X Factor: The interior of the Bills defensive line. While the Bills’ run defense is improving and one to watch in this game — allowing opposing rushers a league-high 5.9 yards per carry — defensive tackles Ed Oliver and Daquan… Jones has been outstanding throughout the early part of the season, completing 27.3 percent of his pass rushes while Oliver is tied for second in the league (15), according to NFL Next Gen Stats. — Getzenberg

Josh Allen vs. Miami’s defense

What does Miami need to do to contain Allen? In three games against the Miami Heat last season, Allen passed for 1,056 yards, nine touchdowns, two scores and ran for 144 yards. The Bills went 2-1 in that game.

Of course, a handful of Dolphins players have some personal history with Allen, notably Christian Wilkins, who was fined last season for an incident in which Allen was also penalized for unsportsmanlike conduct. Wilkins and Allen also sparked a brief conflict between the two teams during a December game when Wilkins blocked Allen after an interception, which the latter objected to.

“That’s my guy. I love Josh. We’re cool, we’re close,” Wilkins said. “But no, he’s a very competitive player. I love playing against him. He definitely gets the best out of you defensively and individually. His resume speaks for itself. But he’s definitely a Really good players and we’re the ones we have to play as a defense and as a team this week because they’re a really good team and they play tough and we know them and they know us. There’s no secret. Just go out there and play, compete and hope the best wins.”

X factor: Bradley Chubb. If Jaelan Phillips is unavailable again on Sunday, Chubb will have to push the Dolphins’ pass rush and put pressure on Allen. — Louis Jacques

How did Allen perform against Miami? Not only did Allen perform well against the Dolphins, he made history. He threw for two or more touchdowns in 11 consecutive games against Miami, the longest streak by a quarterback against a single opponent in NFL history. The quarterback threw for 30 touchdowns and seven interceptions in those games while rushing for four more scores, en route to a 9-2 record. Some of the quarterback’s best performances came against the Dolphins.

“Obviously, I think it’s familiar. I do believe they have some really impressive players on their defense,” Allen said. “…We have to be smart about what we’re doing.”

X factor: RB James Cook. McDermott has often talked about the Bills having a balanced offense, and judging by the performance of the second-year edge rusher, they’re off to a good start. Entering Week 3, Cook ranks third in the NFL in rushing yards (267) and fifth in yards per rushing contact (2.41). — Getzenberg

Play

1:23

McDaniel doesn’t use revenge as motivation to fight Bills

Mike McDaniel discusses the motivation for his Dolphins to play against a top team like the Bills.

Who are the important new faces in the competition?

dolphin: These teams’ next game in Week 18 could feature their signature player from this past offseason: cornerback Jalen Ramsey, who remains sidelined after offseason left knee surgery. But another rookie suddenly emerged last week – rookie running back De’Von Achane (De’Von Achane), who was named the AFC’s best player of the week with 233 yards and 4 touchdowns in Week 3. Best offensive player. It’s unclear what role he will play. Looking ahead, though, he and Mostert may have another big day ahead of them. — Louis Jacques

bill: This is a different team than the Bills defense was last season. Free-agent defensive end Leonard Floyd, signed from the Los Angeles Rams, has had a significant impact despite an ankle injury — a team-high 3.5 sacks and a 27.6 percent rush rate. Pass winning percentage.

“Just excellence. I mean, (Floyd) is coming out of it, he’s so fast, he’s so tall and has so much talent,” defensive end AJ Epenesa said.

One question heading into the season is who the Bills will find to replace linebacker Tremaine Edmonds, who signed with the Chicago Bears. Terrel Bernard, a 2022 third-round pick, leads the team in tackles (24) with an interception in back-to-back games and a touchdown against the Las Vegas Raiders. Great performance in the game and quickly eliminated uncertainty. — Getzenberg

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