It's an AFC East matchup as the Dolphins host the Bills on Sunday. Last year, Buffalo swept Miami with a 31-28 road victory in September and a 56-26 win in January at home. Josh Allen accounted for seven touchdown passes over the two meetings, while Tua Tagovailoa struggled in the Week 17 game with one touchdown and three interceptions. Buffalo has won five straight and seven of the last eight meetings in the series.
The road team is coming off a 23-16 home loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers. Buffalo pitched a shutout in the first half and was up 10-0 before Pittsburgh rattled off 20 straight points. Allen was mediocre, going 30-for-51 for 270 yards and a touchdown. Stefon Diggs and Cole Beasley accounted for 17 of the completions and 26 of his 48 total targets. The defense just didn't do enough in the second half, and the Steelers blocked a punt for a touchdown to hand the defending AFC East champs an opening loss.
Meanwhile, Miami upset New England 17-16 in Foxboro to earn an important divisional road victory to kick things off. Miami won despite being outgained by almost 150 yards. Tagovailoa was solid with a touchdown pass and scoring once on the ground. Jaylen Waddle made a very good first impression with four receptions for 61 yards and a touchdown in his NFL debut. The defense forced a couple of turnovers and was able to hold on as crucial fumbles in Miami territory prevented the Patriots from getting the win.
Buffalo at Miami
Kickoff: Sunday, Sept 19 at 1 p.m. ET
Spread: Buffalo -3.5
Three Things to Watch
Being only in Week 2, scheduling spots aren't necessarily as important. As of now, the temperature is going to be around 88 degrees with a 25-30 percent chance of rain come game time, so keeping the turnovers down will be important should the conditions turn sloppy. After this game, the Bills return home to host Washington while Dolphins will head west to face the Raiders. I wouldn't say it's desperation time for the Bills, but they can't afford to start 0-2.
2. Can they get open?
As discussed last week, Miami has one of the best cornerback duos in the league in Xavien Howard and Byron Jones. Last year Diggs had 19 catches for 278 yards and a touchdown in the two meetings with Miami. We saw last week that he was a large chunk of the passing attack, so taking him away could hurt the Bills. This means that fellow wideouts Gabriel Davis and Emmanuel Sanders could take on bigger roles, and don't forget about Beasley. On the other side, cornerback Tre'Davious White was very good against the Steelers. We'll see if Buffalo lines him up against the Dolphins' DeVante Parker or rookie Jaylen Waddle. Will Fuller V, who signed with Miami in the offseason but missed Week 1 to finish a six-game suspension, won't make his Dolphins debut on Sunday either. Head coach Brian Flores announced on Friday that Fuller is out again, this time due to a personal issue.
3. Week 1 mirage?
People are always prone to overreacting after one week in the NFL. The Bills had 371 yards but averaged only 4.7 yards per play. That's the same output as the Jets, who finished dead last in the league in that category. Buffalo's offensive line struggled against Pittsburgh's blitz, with Allen getting sacked three times and hit eight. Miami's front line is not as strong as the Steelers, but the Bills have to minimize the punishment Allen takes in the pocket.
The Dolphins bought themselves some equity by getting the road win last week over the Patriots. Miami's offense needs to get more from the ground game, so Tagovailoa doesn't have to win games himself. Meanwhile, the Bills moved the ball, but it wasn't good enough. I expect a better effort from Buffalo in this one. The defending AFC East champs have dominated this series as of late, and a little bit of "desperation" will help them get the win.
Prediction: Bills 24, Dolphins 17
— Written by Matt Josephs, who is a part of the Athlon Sports Contributor Network. Follow him on Twitter @MidMajorMatt.