Buffalo Bills Need Better Performance in Second Straight Snow Game

The Buffalo Bills would like to do two things on Saturday: Avenge one of their three losses, and stay on track for a possible No. 1 seed in the NFL playoffs.

But more than anything, they want to show that last week’s offensive slog in the slush and snow against the New York Jets was an outlier performance, not their norm. For a team that can use winter weather as a postseason weapon, that is of the utmost importance.

A steady snow is expected to fall through the day and into the night Saturday (3 to 7 inches), with an 18-degree wind chill, as the Bills play the visiting Miami Dolphins, who defeated them 21-19 in September in what is remembered as the “butt punt” game. What is less memorable was the clock running out on Josh Allen as he tried to spike the ball after the Bills had gained 12 yards on a pass with 18 seconds remaining. Receiver Isaiah McKenzie was unable to get out of bounds, and Allen was unable to spike the ball before the clock hit 0:00.

And it was hot, which it will not be Saturday night in Buffalo.

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What is at Stake? What is The Best Player Matchup?

The Bills (10-3) can win out and earn a bye week because they have the tiebreaker over Kansas City from winning their head-to-head matchup back in Week 6. They are taking a four-game winning streak into Saturday night’s game, and are favored by 7, with DraftKings reporting that 75% of the spread handle and 83% of the moneyline handle is coming in on the Bills, with a virtual 50-50 split on the over/under of 44.

Buffalo failed to cover the 10-point spread against the Jets last Sunday in a slog of a game in bad weather that featured the first 10 possessions ending in punts. Josh Allen was held to 147 passing yards and Stefon Diggs had only 37 receiving yards, both season-lows for those two former top contenders for MVP and Offensive Player of the Year. Allen has dropped to the +2000 fourth choice for MVP behind Jalen Hurts, Patrick Mahomes and Joe Burrow, while Diggs is the +350 third choice behind Minnesota’s Justin Jefferson and Miami’s Tyreke Hill.

And yes, Diggs vs. Hill is one of the sideshows for everyone to most look forward to. Hill has a 76 1/2 yards over/under line, while Diggs’ line is 72 1/2. Diggs has gone over that number in 10 of 13 games, while Hills has gone for 77 or more receiving yards in nine of 13 games. The Bills held him to two receptions for just 33 yards in their first meeting, as Jaylen Waddle was Tua Tagvovailoa’s target on six of 20 throws.

Tua vs. Josh is a nice sideshow, too, with the passing yardage over/under for both QBs at 236 1/2. In their first matchup, Tagovailoa had concussion symptoms and was 13-of-18 for 186 yards, while Allen threw the ball 63 times (not a typo) for 400 yards, but was intercepted twice.

What impact the weather has on game plans remains to be seen, but generally it is easier to run than throw in the snow.

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It actually does snow in Alabama, but it would take years of accumulation to account for the amount that is expected in Western New York this weekend. But since Tua brought it up, and since Tua likes to run from time to time, it is noteworthy that his rushing yardage over/under is 5 1/2 while Allen’s is 46 1/2. Tua has rushed for at least 6 yards in three games, one of which was last week against the Chargers when he had 28 on three carries. Heck, he might be able to slide for six yards if the weatherman is correct.

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Dolphins History in Buffalo Weather

This game at Highmark Stadium on Saturday night will mark the fifth time in seven seasons the Dolphins play at Buffalo beyond Dec. 1. They’re riding a three-game losing streak in such contests.

On Jan. 3, 2021, the Dolphins needed a win to get into the playoffs and were facing a team whose playoff seeding already had been determined. The Dolphins were blown out 56-26 that day in a game they led 3-0 after the first quarter. That’s before the Bills scored 28 second-quarter points. Tagovailoa passed for 361 yards in that game, but was picked off three times.

The last Dolphins team to make the playoffs was able to win at Buffalo in December, 2016, 34-31, in overtime after Andrew Franks made a 55-yard field goal at the end of regulation. Three of the Dolphins’ six 200-yard individual rushing performances in the regular season have come in December games at Buffalo, and the franchise record for rushing yards in a game is 228 set by Ricky Williams in Buffalo on Dec. 1, 2002.

The rushing yardage over/under for Miami’s top running back, Raheem Mostert, is 49 1/2, a total he has reached only five times this season. The 30-year-old, an 8th year veteran, has never played an NFL game in Buffalo.

The Bills’ Devin Singletary has an over/under of 42 1/2, a number he has surpassed eight times with a season-high of 72. For those who believe a ground game is the only type of game that will work, parlaying rushing yardage overs seems like the way to go. For those who expect the unexpected, like the fourth kickoff or punt return for a TD in the NFL this season, Buffalo’s defense/special teams is +450 at Draft Kings to score the first TD, and kick returner Nyheim Hines is +750 to score the first TD, Miami’s Cedric Wilson, who returns punts, is +800 for the first TD.

The .longest odds are +2500 on Freddie Swain and Tanner Conner, which we would recommend staying far away from. Conner is a rookie tight end who has yet to catch a pass for Miami, and Swain was signed off the Dolphins’ practice squad two days ago by the Broncos and will be playing in Denver against the Cardinals on Sunday afternoon if he is activated. There are bad beats and there are bad bets. This one is the latter. We wish neither on y’all.

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