The Dolphins find themselves on a three-game winning run, and what a time to do it. December is traditionally the toughest month in football with team's having to play in blistery conditions to go along with the added pressure of booking their team a ticket to the playoffs. But somehow these Dolphins have shrugged off this season's ‘Martin-gate' controversy and are playing good football right now. But this Sunday's game against Buffalo shouldn't be taken lightly.
Buffalo return to their home ground for the first time since November 17th, by using up one of them in their 34-31 overtime loss to Atlanta in Toronto, and Buffalo fans will be glad of their return. At home the Bills have been a tough opponent to break down, with wins over the Panthers, the Ravens, and the Chiefs, and narrow losses to the Patriots and the Bengals.
However, this isn't the only reason why Buffalo should be regarded as an easy game for Miami. Fresh off a 27-20 win against the Jaguars, the team has some much-needed momentum heading into a game against their division rivals. Rookie quarterback EJ Manuel reminded everyone why he was chosen in the first round of the 2013 NFL draft, completing 17 of 24 passes for 193 yards, two touchdowns and an interception.
The bad news for Buffalo is that Manuel is out of this game with a sprained knee. The team will therefore have to rely on Thad Lewis, who helped his team win their first game against Miami. But this game will be much tougher than his last game against Miami, with the probable loss of wide receiver Stevie Johnson. Without Johnson, Buffalo may not be able to test Miami's injury-hit cornerbacks (with Brent Grimes and Nolan Carroll both hurt in the last game) as much as they'd like to, especially in December's weather conditions.
On the other hand, the Dolphins are riding on a huge wave of confidence. There is even some talk that Miami head coach Joe Philbin is in contention for coach of the year.
In the last three games, Miami's young quarterback Ryan Tannehill has thrown 8 touchdowns against 2 touchdowns, and looks primed for another big game in this match-up. While the weather isn't expected to be favorable for the passing game, Tannehill did a solid job in his team's win over the Pittsburgh Steelers. Once again, Tannehill will be looking to get the ball to Charles Clay and Mike Wallace, and often.
In other news, Miami will be crossing their fingers that Grimes and Carroll can play their part in this game, and defensive tackle Paul Soliai is listed as questionable.
Coach Philbin will have drummed into his players this week to remain focused and take one game at a time. While the playoffs are within their grasp, the job is far from finished. Win the next two games, and the Dolphins are in the playoffs. It's because of Philbin's presence that he will have his players ready for this game. With Ryan Tannehill developing into a very good NFL quarterback, and Mike Wallace starting to show why this team shelled out $60 million for him, I'm going to go for a big win for Miami. Expect Tannehill to stick his normal game to give his team a huge win over Buffalo.
Miami Dolphins 31 - 13 Buffalo Bills