Buffalo Bills vs Miami Dolphins 2019: Preview, odds, prediction for Week 11.
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Miami Gardens, Fla. — On Wednesday, as his team began preparations for its Week 11 matchup against the Miami Dolphins, Buffalo Bills coach Sean McDermott let some frustration out when asked about his fledgling offense that ranks 25th out of 32 teams with just 19.3 points per game this season.
“Move the ball, score points,” McDermott said while skipping the coach speak to deliver a simple message. “If we don’t do that, I’m frustrated. Simply put.”
The Bills are coming off a disappointing 19-16 defeat in Cleveland last week and it was a game that should have been won. Buffalo kicker Stephen Hauschka missed two field goals and the Bills offense just couldn’t manufacture enough points to get the job done.
The mood back in Orchard Park, N.Y. all week has been uneasy as the Bills look to steady the ship after two losses in three weeks. The truth is that Buffalo has played pretty well for most of the season. But because of a lack of execution and too many penalties the Bills now enter the tougher portion of the schedule needing to win the games against lesser teams.
Miami falls directly into that category.
Game against the AFC elite Baltimore Ravens and New England Patriots, combined with road games at the Dallas Cowboys and the feisty Pittsburgh Steelers make the playoffs anything but a sure thing for a Bills team that started 6-2 for the first time since 1993.
One of the breakout stars of 2019 for the Bills has been running back Devin Singletary – when the team has given him the ball. He had 20 carries for 95 yards two weeks ago against Washington and the inexplicably received just eight carries against the Browns. He’s averaging 6.4 yards per carry on the year and faces the 30th-ranked Dolphins run defense this week. They’re giving up 146.1 yards per game on the ground.
Bills quarterback Josh Allen has been dynamite in three career starts against the Dolphins (2-1). He has seven passing touchdowns, 262 yards rushing and two more touchdowns on the ground. Allen placed the blame for last week’s loss on his shoulders.
“I know there’s a lot to work on. I know I’m nowhere near where I need to be, nowhere near where I want to be,” he said. “Where I want to be is higher than where I need to be. I hold myself to a very high standard and I’m going to continue to work hard and my goal is to get where I want to be.”
This is a great week for Allen and the Bills offense to get things moving in the right direction. Their season high in points came against Miami earlier this season (31).
Buffalo remains unbelievably healthy heading into Week 11. The only notable injury is defense end Jerry Hughes, who is dealing with a groin injury that flared up during practice on Thursday. He was held out on Friday and is questionable for the game.
One of the Bills’ best players has been defensive tackle Jordan Phillips and he returns to Miami this weekend where he played the first three seasons of his career before getting released and picked up by Buffalo in Year 4. Phillips leads the Bills with six sacks on the season.
BILLS vs DOLPHINS
Kickoff: 1 p.m. (ET), at Hard Rock Stadium
TV: CBS (Ch. 4 in Buffalo, Ch. 8 in Rochester, Ch. 5 in Syracuse)
RADIO: WGR 550 AM (Buffalo), WCMF 96.5 FM and WROC 950 AM (Rochester), WTKW 99.5 FM and WKTV 105.5 FM (Syracuse)
Line: Bills by 7 (Over/under at 40.5)
A LOOK AT THE DOLPHINS
In a crazy turn of events the Dolphins (2-7) have negated their early-season tanking efforts and are starting to win some games. They’ve won two in a row and veteran quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick has the team believing they can compete each week.
The Dolphins are going to be without two key pieces that gave the Bills some problems in the first game between the teams. Wide receiver Preston Williams is out for the season with a knee injury and running back Mark Walton is serving a four-game suspension for violating the league’s substance abuse policy. Williams had a game-high six receptions and a team-high 82 yards in the Oct. 20 showdown. Walton was the leading ball carrier on the day with 66 yards.
Fitzpatrick’s 282 yards passing in the first game the two teams played is his second highest total of the season.
On the defensive side of the ball Miami is banged up. Already without star cornerback Xavien Howard, who was shut down for the season two weeks ago with a knee injury, the Dolphins have four starters questionable for Sunday: defensive end Taco Charlton, safety Reshad Jones, linebacker Raekwon McMillan and defensive end Avery Moss. The forecast is looking extra sunny for the Bills offense.
WHAT THEY’RE SAYING
Bills QB Josh Allen on mind set entering Week 11
“The job of the quarterback is to move the ball, put points on the board and protect the football. At the beginning of the year, I wasn’t doing a good enough job of protecting the football. I’ve made that very important to me and understanding what that football is and you know who it represents. There’re still some things to clean up as far as running the ball and not fumbling, but that’s what I’m very much trying to improve on. Coach (McDermott) sat us all down today and said, ‘Play fearless.’ To have that green light and that confidence from him still, that means a lot. Not saying I’m gonna go out there and be reckless, they’re two different terms for a reason. Just being very aware of what’s going on but not trying to be gun shy about anything.”
Dolphins coach Brian Flores on Bills CB Tre’Davious White
“I think he’s one of the best corners in the league. The thing I love about him is he’s tough, he’s physical, he tackles. Forget the production, those are the things for me that I think you need in a defensive player. When you get him at the corner position and you’ve got corners and secondary players who tackle and are tough, that goes a long way to making your team and your defense tough. He’s a really good cover player – off coverage, man coverage, tight coverage, working through bunches, stacks. They do a good job collectively as a DB group. It’s not just one guy. He works with that entire group from a communication standpoint, working through things. He’s a good player and they’ve got a lot of good players over there, so it’s going to be a tough test for us.”
It seems like we’ve been here three or four times this season. A Bills game where a lackluster opponent meant the Buffalo offense was set to explode. It hasn’t quite happened yet but if it’s going to, this is the week. Expect Allen to operate a bit looser in this game and try to make some plays with his arm and his legs. Fans want a 300-yard passing game from the second-year passer, but if he can do some damage on the ground it’ll be tough to get there. Expect a heavy dose of Singletary, too, and a big performance from the defense after allowing three touchdown drives against Fitzpatrick last time. Bills win big.