MIAMI (9-8) at BUFFALO (13-3)
Sunday, 1 p.m. EST, CBS
AGAINST THE SPREAD: Dolphins 8-8-1; Buffalo 8-8.
SERIES RECORD: Dolphins lead 61-52-1.
LAST MEETING: Bills beat Dolphins 32-29 on Dec. 17 in Buffalo.
LAST WEEK: Dolphins beat Jets 11-6; Bills beat Patriots 35-23.
DOLPHINS OFFENSE: OVERALL (6), RUSH (25t), PASS (4), SCORING (11).
DOLPHINS DEFENSE: OVERALL (18), RUSH (4), PASS (27), SCORING (24).
BILLS OFFENSE: OVERALL (2), RUSH (7), PASS (7), SCORING (2).
BILLS DEFENSE: OVERALL (6), RUSH (5), PASS (15), SCORING (2).
TURNOVER DIFFERENTIAL: Dolphins minus-7; Bills even.
DOLPHINS PLAYER TO WATCH: RB Raheem Mostert has a broken thumb, and although he hasn’t been ruled out Sunday, it’s difficult to imagine how effective he’d be in the unlikely chance he plays. That gives lead ball-carrier duties to Jeff Wilson, who has 392 yards rushing on 84 carries since he was traded to Miami in November. Wilson has had at least 15 carries in four of eight games with Miami. The Dolphins rushed for 188 yards on 7.5 yards per attempt at Buffalo in Week 15 and have run the ball better as the regular season progressed.
BILLS PLAYER TO WATCH: QB Josh Allen. The fifth-year starter threw for 304 yards and four TDs and rushed for 77 yards plus a 2-point conversion in their previous meeting against Miami. He was particularly sharp in overseeing two final scoring drives in rallying Buffalo from 29-21 fourth-quarter deficit.
KEY MATCHUP: Bills secondary vs. Dolphins receivers. With Miami QB Tua Tagovailoa healthy, the Dolphins' wide receiver tandem of Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle had a combined 12 catches and 184 yards and a TD each in last month's game. With Tagovailoa ruled out, backup Teddy Bridgewater's status uncertain, and rookie Skylar Thompson set to start, the Bills' injury-depleted secondary could get a break.
INJURIES: Tagovailoa (concussion) will miss his third straight game. ... Bridgewater (knee/right finger) is working his way back from a dislocated pinky finger on his throwing hand. His status for Sunday is up in the air. ... Dolphins LT Terron Armstead (toe/pec/knee/hip) is “progressing,” per Miami coach Mike McDaniel, but his availability for the rest of the season is unknown. ... RB Mostert broke his thumb last week against the New York Jets. His status is unclear, though it seems unlikely that he will play. ... The Bills are relatively healthy with WR Isaiah McKenzie (hamstring) the only new player added to the injury report this week.
SERIES NOTES: The Bills won the first three postseason meetings against their division rival in the early to mid-90s, before a 24-17 loss in the wild-card round to Miami on Jan. 2, 1999. ... The teams split their season series this season, with Miami taking advantage of the sweltering South Florida heat to pull out a 21-19 win in September. The Bills took advantage of their wintery home conditions in a playoff-clinching 32-29 win four weeks ago. ... Overall, the Bills have won eight of the past nine meetings. ... The Bills are also 8-2 in their past 10 home games against Miami played in December or later, not including a 16-3 loss in Buffalo’s “home” outing played indoors in Toronto in 2008.
STATS AND STUFF: The Bills are making their fourth straight playoff appearance and fifth in six years under coach Sean McDermott. The Dolphins qualified for the playoffs for the first time since 2016 and just the third time in 22 seasons. ... McDaniel is the fifth Dolphins coach to reach the playoffs in Year 1. He could become the second head coach in Dolphins history to win a playoff game in his first season, joining Dave Wannstedt (2000). The most recent time an NFL coach won a playoff game in his first season was Cleveland’s Kevin Stefanski in 2020. … A win would give the Dolphins their first postseason victory since Dec. 30, 2000, when they beat Indianapolis 23-17 in overtime at Hard Rock Stadium. ... The Dolphins have run the ball well in the past two weeks after a poor start to the season. Miami averaged 122 yards rushing in its last five games of the regular season after rushing for 82.8 yards per game in the first five. ... The Dolphins finished the season with the fourth-best run defense in the NFL after starting the season tied for 14th. ... Miami finished the season with the sixth-best offense, the first time since 1995 that the Dolphins finished with a top-10 offense. The Dolphins averaged 364.5 yards per game despite having three different quarterbacks start multiple games for the first time since 2007. ... Miami’s opponents had a .537 winning percentage this season, making the Dolphins’ schedule the third-most difficult in the league. ... More than half of the players on Miami’s active roster (33 players), have never appeared in a playoff game, including Thompson, Waddle, TE Mike Gesicki and DT Christian Wilkins. ... Hill has 1,081 yards receiving in 13 playoff games. He won Super Bowl 54 with Kansas City. ... Outside of punter Thomas Morstead’s Super Bowl 44 ring with New Orleans, Miami’s other three players with Super Bowl rings all got them with New England: DB Keion Crossen DB (53), LB Elandon Roberts (51, 53), S Eric Rowe (51, and 53). ... The Bills have a 3-4 playoff record under McDermott. Each of their past two postseasons have ended with losses at Kansas City. ... Buffalo won its third straight AFC East title and matched a single-season record for wins, previously set in 1990, 1991 and 2020. ... Buffalo closed the season winning seven straight, the team’s longest single-season run since an 8-0 streak in 1990. ... Allen is the NFL’s first player to have three seasons with 35 or more TDs passing and five or more TDs rushing. ... With 35 TDs passing, Allen holds the top three single-season spots on the Bills list. He had 37 in 2020, followed by 36 last year. Hall of Famer Jim Kelly now ranks fourth with 33 TDs passing in 1991. ... WR Stefon Diggs matched a single-season team record set by Bill Brooks in 1995 with 11 TDs receiving. ... Buffalo’s 6,361 yards are the most in a 16-game season (the Bills played 16 games this season after their outing at Cincinnati was canceled), and 132 short of their total in 17 games last season. ... The Bills defense has limited opponents to scoring nine points (three field goals) off Buffalo giveaways over the past seven games.
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