Buffalo Bills (4-2 SU, 4-2 ATS) vs. Miami Dolphins (2-4 SU, 2-4 ATS)
NFL Week 7
Date/Time: Sunday, October 23, 2016 at 1:00PM EST
Where: Hard Rock Stadium
TV: CBS, DTV: 707
by Chad Holloway, Expert Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: BUF -3/MIA +3
Over/Under Total: 44
Granted it is only Week 7, but the AFC Playoff picture is a jumbled mess. Assuming the New England Patriots win the AFC East, the best hope of the Buffalo Bills and Miami Dolphins making the postseason is via a Wildcard spot. To that end, this weeks division matchup between the two could have some serious implications. In fact, its likely a must-win for the Dolphins, who can ill afford to fall to 2-5.
The idea of the Dolphins making the postseason was laughable a week ago when they were 1-4. Nearly all experts (myself included) expected them to get run over by the Pittsburgh Steelers, but the Dolphins shocked the world by decimating their competition. Suddenly they became contenders.
The Dolphins managed to win that game due to a number of factors. First, they actually got the run game going as Jay Ajayi rushed 25 times for 204 yards and two touchdowns. Second, the secondary shutdown both Antonio Brown, who had just four receptions for 39 yards, and Sammie Coates, who didnt have a single catch. They also intercepted Ben Roethlisberger twice. Finally, quarterback Ryan Tannehill had his best game of the season going 24 of 32 for 252 yards. He didnt throw a touchdown, but he didnt toss an interception either.
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Entering Week 7, the Dolphins boast the 24th-ranked offense averaging 332.2 total yards per game (YPG) and 19.7 points per game (PPG). Their passing game comes in 23rd averaging 234.8 YPG, and their rushing game jumped to 20th averaging 97.3 YPG. Defensively, the Dolphins rank 26th holding opponents to an average of 383.7 total YPG (236.7 passing YPG; 147 rushing YPG) and 22.3 PPG.
As for the Bills, theyre coming off a big 45-10 win against the San Francisco 49ers. LeSean McCoy rushed for 140 yards and three touchdowns in that game, while Tyrod Taylor passed for two more touchdowns.
The Bills currently have the 22nd-ranked offense averaging 337.3 total YPG and 27 PPG. Their rushing game is first in the league averaging 166.3 YPG, but their passing game is second-worst in the league averaging just 171 YPG. Defensively, the Bills are 12th holding opponents to an average of 345.2 total YPG (242 passing YPG; 103.2 rushing YPG) and 17.2 PPG.
Chad Holloway’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: The problem with the Dolphins is that theyre too inconsistent. If the team from last week shows up, they could very well run over the Bills. If its the team from the first five weeks, the opposite is true. Its hard to know which team will show up this week.
What I do know is if the Dolphins are to win, two things need to happen. First, Tannehill will need to have a big game as there is no way their run game will be as effective as it was last week, not against the Bills. Second, the Dolphins line will need to stop McCoy, which is obviously a tall order.
The Dolphins impressed me last week, but Im not jumping on the bandwagon yet. The Bills have been much more consistent, and theyre one of the hottest teams in the league riding a four-game win streak. I like the Bills, who swept the Dolphins last year (bot blowouts), to go down to South Florida and come away with a win while covering the spread.
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