5 burning questions for Dolphins' journey to Buffalo to face Payments

Published:Mar 9, 202418:01
5 burning questions for Dolphins' journey to Buffalo to face Payments

The Miami Dolphins will journey to Buffalo for a matchup towards the Payments on Saturday night time. Sure, it is that point of 12 months when the NFL provides a day to their schedule — and faculty soccer would not fill Saturdays. And this recreation might be appointment viewing.

The Dolphins are reeling after two losses. It wasn't simply that they misplaced — it was how. Dolphins coach Mike McDaniel has loved a method for fulfillment that went uncontested till Week 13. However the San Francisco 49ers and Los Angeles Chargers have founds methods to decelerate Tua Tagovailoa and the Dolphins offense. And that has gunked up the works for your entire staff.

The Payments, in the meantime, appear to have gotten by that section of their season. They've an offense that may adapt and a protection that is elite. So it might be a troublesome matchup for Miami.

Let’s dive into some burning questions.

1. How can Mike McDaniel adapt his offense after seeing defenses create a blueprint for the Dolphins offense?

This was a subject in my takeaways earlier this week. But it surely’s the one most vital query for the remainder of the Dolphins' season. When their offense clicks, they’re unbeatable. When their offense falters, they're extraordinarily beatable. 

So now what?

The Chargers and 49ers did a wonderful job taking away the intermediate space and the center of the sphere within the passing recreation. Which means limiting Tua’s capacity to search out his receivers someplace between 10 and 20 yards from the road of scrimmage. That space has been the place Tua feasts on getting Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle the ball — and so they’re so quick that they'll generate yards after the catch.

Now, Tua has to search out methods to assault the brief recreation to fight what groups are doing towards Miami. An alternative choice: hearth the ball deep. However you'll be able to’t toss up deep balls each play and hope to attain 5 70-yard touchdowns. So the Dolphins must construct out their assault to incorporate extra passes nearer to the road of scrimmage.

"Loads of the instances, this 12 months once we discovered success, the primary learn on a deep route can be open. So primarily, we by no means wanted to verify it down loads this 12 months," Tagovailoa mentioned Wednesday. "It’s good classes that we’re studying now within the season, entering into the grind time of the schedule."

The fast recreation might be what will get the Dolphins offense on observe towards a Payments protection that has an unbelievable defensive position however an unimpressive cornerback corps.

2. What level of emphasis do the Payments select on offense?

The Payments have accomplished a fantastic job of demonstrating their capacity to run the ball in latest weeks. Their DVOA, a sophisticated statistic, has proven their effectivity on the bottom bettering over the past three weeks, with a top-10 dashing offense. However that’s not one of the simplest ways to assault the Dolphins protection. Miami struggles to defend the move.

So Josh Allen might need himself a day.

He has been quiet — taking a little bit of a backseat, maybe partially as a consequence of an elbow harm. Reasonably than miss a couple of video games and relaxation it, he has performed by it. However they appear to be limiting his move try totals. They won't be capable to try this on this recreation. Allen and Stefon Diggs can completely put up numbers on this Dolphins protection, with prime cornerback Xavien Howard struggling (with the worst protection grade of his profession on PFF).

I think the Payments will lean again into their passing offense. And if the Dolphins determine what’s ailing them, this recreation might flip right into a shootout.

3. Do you know?

Listed here are a handful of fascinating statistics, courtesy of our analysis division at FOX Sports activities.


  • The Dolphins defeated the Payments, 21-19, in Week 3 and are in search of their first season sweep of Buffalo since 2016
  • Tagovailoa was held to a career-low 35.7% completion proportion in Week 14 (minimal 10 move makes an attempt)
  • The Dolphins are 1-5 when they're held under 20 factors this season (7-0 when scoring 20-plus factors)
  • Miami is 5-1 in its final 6 divisional video games, courting again to final season


  • Allen scored one passing landing and one dashing landing within the Payments’ Week 14 win. The Payments are actually 24-1 (together with playoffs) when Allen scores each a passing and dashing TD.
  • With a win, Allen (49-24 common season report as Payments beginning QB) would grow to be the third quarterback in Payments franchise historical past to report 50 or extra common season wins.
  • The others? Joe Ferguson (77-86 report) and Jim Kelly (101-59 report).

4. Will we see Tre'Davious White match up towards Tyreek Hill?

If White was fully wholesome, this might be as compelling a matchup as any. However White is slowly recovering from an ACL harm, and he simply received off a pitch depend final week. So it is going to be fascinating to see how a lot — if in any respect — he performs towards Hill.

"It was good to have him again the place you did not have to have him on a pitch depend," Payments defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier mentioned Tuesday. "Simply let him exit and play and get an opportunity to expertise a full recreation. In order that was actually encouraging. There have been some good moments in that recreation and There have been some moments once you sort of know he isn't fairly again the place he needs to be."

Does not sound like Frazier loves the concept of placing White towards the very best receiver within the NFL. However I guess we see these two gamers battle right here and there.

Tyreek Hill explains why he left the Chiefs for Dolphins

Tyreek Hill explains why he left the Chiefs for Dolphins

Dolphins WR Tyreek Hill on his departure from the Kansas Metropolis Chiefs and a possible playoff matchup vs. his former staff.

5. How a lot will the climate change the complexion of this matchup?

Whereas I don’t usually put a ton of inventory into climate, the forecast for this recreation feels notable: 20-mile-per-hour winds, a couple of inches of snow and a temperature within the low-20s.

Tua has performed a few of his worst video games in chilly climate. And it'll be chilly Saturday.

"It might be snowing. It might rain. I don’t know. I believe for me at the very least, I can converse for myself, it’s a mindset factor," Tagovailoa mentioned Wednesday. "And if I’m too targeted and frightened about if it’s too chilly, can I seize the ball, can I not, then I might say I’m targeted on the flawed issues."

Due to his points within the chilly, Tua spent a while coaching in 20-degree climate final offseason. He hosted a throwing session in Maryland final winter.

That’s not excellent news for Miami, which has been having fun with its temperate climate in Florida. With Tua having an correct however not electrical arm, the wind might be problematic for the Dolphins deep recreation. So, once more, it’ll come again to Miami establishing the short passing recreation. 

It is not just like the chilly goes away for the Dolphins. It is more likely to be chilly in Foxborough, the place Miami will play in Week 17. After which the highway to the Tremendous Bowl is more likely to undergo both Buffalo or Kansas Metropolis. The Dolphins want to determine learn how to make their offense work in adversarial situations like those they're going to play in on Saturday.

As for the Payments, they’re used to this climate. The one query might be how a lot Allen can throw into that wind — and whether or not his arm energy seems to be diminished from his elbow harm.

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Previous to becoming a member of FOX Sports activities because the AFC East reporter, Henry McKenna spent seven years protecting the Patriots for USA TODAY Sports activities Media Group and Boston Globe Media. Observe him on Twitter at @McKennAnalysis.

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Publish date: 2022-12-15 08:06:22
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