One week removed from an ass-kicking at home against the lowly Tennessee Titans, we followed it up with a game where Ajayi ran for over 200 yards, Byron Maxwell (yes, the same one who was recently benched) d’ed up Antonio Brown, and Ben Roethlisberger was held in check by one of the most porous defenses in the NFL. I’m about as confident in projecting this team as I am getting out of Costco in 30 minutes on Saturday afternoons. (It’s tough to resist free food that you don’t have to cook.)
Heading into the Steelers game, I decided to take a look at match-ups that had more of a “long-term” sensibility (i.e., our younger players trying to make a name for themselves) as opposed to a “how do we win this game right now?” type of article. And then as soon as I do that, we win a game that we weren’t supposed to, and to boot, we totally earned the victory with superior play.
It was a brutal reminder to never make assumptions in the NFL, despite how much we think we know about our team. From this point forward, I determine these match-ups in terms of how we win this particular game.
I apologize for the change in direction of last week’s article - these players and coaching staffs go in to each game every week trying to find a way to win, no matter the injuries or circumstances, so why shouldn’t I do the same?
3) LeSean McCoy vs. His Hamstring
The main objective on the defensive side of the ball is limiting the rushing attack - and the Bills do not hide intentions, they want to run the ball until you stop it. Keeping Tyrod Taylor in the pocket is a close 2nd goal, but the numero uno goal-o is to stop the Bills from putting footprints on our face, despite Rex Ryan’s fetish for doing so.
Although the stats suggest Mike Gillislee has a better YPC than LeSean McCoy, I might have you join me at the gullibility party in the abandoned warehouse across town if you think Gillislee is a lateral move to Shady McCoy.
The Bills passing offense is hurting with injuries and a general lack of play makers. Their offensive line is built for the run. Whether or not McCoy plays, the Miami Dolphins need to find a way to make them one-dimensional. An early lead would help.
There are conflicting reports about McCoy’s availability, so I’m sticking with the assumption that this will be a game-time decision.
2) Ryan Tannehill Vs. His Past with Buffalo
Rex Ryan has stymied the Miami offense since he came to Buffalo in 2015. We get off to early deficits, we soon become one-dimensional, and the blitz party in Buffalo ends up destroying Ryan Tannehill and our play calling. Buffalo continues to run down our throat. Game over.
I need to see Ryan Tannehill with better body language than I have seen in the past against Rex Ryan’s Buffalo Bills. Historically, I’ve seen a flat and indecisive QB against the Bills. I want to see a Ryan Tannehill who finally comes out and says, “F*** your exotic blitzes, Rex Ryan, I will decipher them and destroy them.” Let’s hope the offensive line can keep their end of the bargain and keep the momentum going, with injuries afflicting the Bills’ DL.
Screw what’s happened before, Ryan. Time to go for jugulars on Sunday. A run game would be nice, too.
1) Mario Williams Vs. Cordy Glenn
I agree with our newest contributor, Chris Mellusi. I think Mario Williams has something to prove this game. I wish he’d have something to prove every game, but we aren’t talking about other weeks, are we?
As opposed to last year, I believe the off-tackle runs and other runs off the edges have been the most troublesome for our defense (e.g., Darrius Hayward-Bey last week). Mario Williams winning his one-on-one match-ups not only allows us to set the edge better, but it also allows us to rush Tyrod Taylor better.
No one on our defense should rush the passer better than Mario Williams in terms of knowing what Tyrod Taylor likes to do in and out of the pocket. However, I would anticipate the Dolphins trying to keep him in the pocket - our secondary simply won’t be able to stay with the receivers if Taylor is breaking containment and extending plays outside of the pocket.
Cordy Glenn is one of the best OL on the Buffalo Bills if not the league, but has been banged up. If we can force Buffalo into 3rd and 7’s and 8’s, we can deploy our pass rushing front like we did last week. A clink of the beer bottles that Mario Williams does a little dance while Tyrod Taylor is brushing dirt off his jersey.
Mario Williams knows the Buffalo offense as well as our coaches. We need him for not only outstanding play, but to help contribute to the game plan. His familiarity with Buffalo should not be overlooked.
What key match-ups do you see Phinsider Nation? Let’s hear it in the Comments!