Miami Dolphins (9-5 SU, 7-5-2 ATS) vs. Buffalo Bills (7-7 SU, 6-7-1 ATS)
NFL Week 16
Date/Time: Saturday, December 24, 2016 at 1:00 PM EST
Where: New Era Field
TV: CBS: DTV 705
by Chad Holloway, Expert Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread:MIA +4/BUF -4
Over/Under Total: 41.5
This week’s AFC East matchup features two teams still in the Playoff race. The Miami Dolphins currently hold the No. 6 seed, meaning they control their own destiny, while the Buffalo Bills need a ton of help to get in. These two teams met earlier this year in Miami when the Dolphins edged out a 28-25 win.
Both teams are coming off easy wins in Week 15 – the Bills blew out the Browns while the Dolphins swept the Jets – but the big question was how backup Matt Moore would perform in place of the injured Ryan Tannehill. The answer ended up being spectacularly. Moore completed 12 of 18 passes for 236 yards, one interception, and four touchdowns. That averaged out to 13.1 yards per attempt and a touchdown every 4.5 pass attempts. Amazing.
The Dolphins enter Week 16 with the 25th-ranked offense averaging 325 total yards per game (YPG) and 22.5 points per game (PPG). Their passing game is 27th averaging 218.7 YPG, while their rushing game is 16th averaging 106.3 YPG. Defensively, the Dolphins come in 24th in the NFL holding opponents to an average of 366.9 total YPG (234.4 passing YPG and 132.5 rushing YPG) and 22.4 PPG.
As for the Bills, their offense is ranked 19th averaging 346.2 total YPG and 25.6 PPG. Their rushing game is best in the NFL averaging 163.6 YPG – LeSean McCoy has carried 205 times for 1129 yards (5.5 Avg) and 12 touchdowns – while their passing game is the second-worst in the league averaging 182.6 YPG. Defensively, the Bills come in 16th holding opponents to an average of 349.2 total YPG (224.8 passing YPG and 124.4 rushing YPG) and 22.4 PPG.
What do these numbers tell us? For one, it should be another big day for McCoy as the Dolphins haven’t proven themselves adept at stopping the run. On the flip side, it could also be a big day for Jay Ajayi, who if you recall rushed for 214 yards against the Bills back in October.
Look for Saturday’s game to feature a heavy dose of running the ball for both teams, which is fitting given the weather forecast. There’s an 80% chance or precipitation, but with a high of 38 degrees, it’s going to be wet. This doesn’t bode well for field conditions.
Chad Holloway's Pick to Cover the Point Spread: The Dolphins really aren’t getting the credit they deserve given they’ve won eight of their last nine games. It seems if they want respect, they’re going to have to make the Playoffs. To do that, all they have to do is win. Easier said than done as the Bills would love nothing more than to ruin their chances.
I think the two run games will balance out, which means the difference maker will be the passing game. The Bills have struggled in that department all year, and if Moore can even do half of what he did last week, well let’s just say the Dolphins have a better shot of getting the job done. I’m a little surprised the Bills are such big favorites against one of the league’s hottest teams. I’m not betting against the Dolphins and like them to either win or keep it close enough to win ATS. Furthermore, I think the two teams will combine for enough points to cover the over.
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