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Miami Dolphins at Buffalo Bills preview: Wild Card predictions, odds and matchups

Two AFC East teams in that of the Miami Dolphins and Buffalo Bills will do battle during NFL Wild Card Weekend in Western New York Sunday afternoon.

It’s a game that pits two teams that are going in complete opposite directions. Miami lost five consecutive games before an ugly playoff-clinching win over the New York Jets in Week 18.

Star quarterback Tua Tagovailoa suffered his third concussion of the season back in Week 16 and remains in the concussion protocol. Teddy Bridgewater missed last week’s game due to a broken pinky finger and is likely going to get the start in this one if Tua can’t go.

As for the Bills, they are coming off an emotional win over the New England Patriots, mere days after safety Damar Hamlin suffered cardiac arrest on the field and had to be given CPR. Hamlin’s otherwordly recovery since should free up Bills player to focus on the task at hand. Below, we preview this game with a look at the betting odds, top matchups and a final prediction.

Related: Sportsnaut’s NFL Playoff and Super Bowl predictions

Miami Dolphins at Buffalo Bills odds

miami dolphins and buffalo bills preview: nfl wild card weekend
  • Spread: Bufalo Bills -14
  • Moneyline: Buffalo Bills (-1000), Miami Dolphins (+625)
  • Point total: 44.0

Miami Dolphins at Buffalo Bills game info

miami dolphins at buffalo bills preview
Gregory Fisher-USA TODAY Sports

Here’s how to watch this NFL Wild Card Game, TV info and broadcast time.

  • Date: Sunday, January 15
  • Time: 1:00 PM ET
  • TV Info: CBS, Paramount+
  • Location: Highmark Stadium in Orchard Park, New York

Related: Miami Dolphins, Buffalo Bills standing in our NFL power rankings

3 matchups to watch for NFL Wild Card Game

Let’s check in on some major matchups for this playoff game set to take place in Western New York Sunday afternoon.

Tyreek Hill vs Tre’Davious White

NFL: Miami Dolphins at Buffalo Bills
Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

Regardless of who is under center for the Miami Dolphins, Hill will be targeted early and often in this one. The Pro Bowl receiver was targeted 10 times or more in nine games during the regular season. However, he didn’t reach that plateau in any of the Fins’ final three games with them averaging a mere 17.3 points during that span. In comparison, Miami averaged 22.5 points when Hill was targeted double-digit times.

It won’t be an easy task going up against a player in White who yielded a mere 54.5% completion and 75.8 QB rating in six games since returning from an ACL tear. Back in Week 15 against White and the Bills, Hill caught 9-of-13 targets for a mere 69 yards. He simply needs to be more explosive in this one.

Related: Ranking NFL Playoff defenses

Josh Allen vs Miami Dolphins pass defense

NFL: Miami Dolphins at Buffalo Bills
Gregory Fisher-USA TODAY Sports

Conditions are expected to be bitter, but relatively clear in Western New York for Sunday’s game. That has to be music to the ears of a player in Allen who has struggled with turnovers over the past several games. In fact, the early-season NFL MVP candidate has committed 13 giveaways over the past 10 games.

The good news for his Buffalo Bills? Allen has been absolutely dominant throughout his career against the Dolphins, including his ho-hum rookie campaign back in 2018.

  • Josh Allen stats vs Miami Dolphins: 8-2 record, 64% completion, 2,684 passing yards, 554 rushing yards, 31 total TD, 5 INT, 106.1 QB rating

For its part, Miami was just terrible against the pass this past regular season. Opposing quarterbacks threw 27 touchdowns against eight interceptions for a 95.3 passer rating. Miami also yielded the sixth-most passing yards in the NFL. If Allen eats, it won’t matter what the Dolphins do on offense, they’ll get blown out.

Stefon Diggs vs Xavien Howard

NFL: Buffalo Bills at Miami Dolphins
Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

This goes to the aforementioned point. One of the top receivers in the game, Diggs is by far Allen’s favorite target. He put up 108 receptions for 1,429 yards and 11 touchdowns while catching 70% of his targets during the regular season. Allen also boasted an otherworldly 120.3 QB rating when targeting Diggs.

Prior to a breakout Week 18 outing against New England, there were some struggles in this regard. Diggs had caught just 10 passes for 123 yards in his previous three games. This connection needs to continue doing its thing if the Buffalo Bills are going to avoid a major upset.

The good news for Miami is that four-time Pro Bowler Xavien Howard will be lined up against Diggs. The bad news? He had a down performance during the 2022 season with quarterbacks posting a 101.2 passer rating when targeting him. That was up from 72.6 mark in 2021 and 48.3 rating the year before.

Related: Ranking NFL Playoff offenses

Miami Dolphins at Buffalo Bills prediction

NFL: Miami Dolphins at Buffalo Bills
Gregory Fisher-USA TODAY Sports

Miami did play Buffalo tight during the regular season. It won by the score of 21-19 back in Week 3 before losing in Buffalo, 32-29, on Dec. 17. The moral of this story? Expect the unexpected when divisional foes face off in the playoffs.

With that said, Miami just doesn’t have the talent on defense to hold down Buffalo’s high-powered attack. Regardless of who is under center for the Dolphins, this will dictate the outcome of the game.

  • Prediction: Buffalo Bills 34, Miami Dolphins 20
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