Two AFC East foes looking to turn things around this season meet in Buffalo on Sunday when the Bills host the Miami Dolphins. Buffalo suffered a heartbreaking 25-24 loss to New England in last year’s regular-season opener and enters this game against Miami as a 3-point home underdog on the current NFL point spreads.
The Dolphins got off to a rough 0-3 start a year ago before pounding the Bills 38-10 in Week 4. Buffalo returned the favor with a 31-14 rout in Week 12 but has dropped three of the last four meetings both straight-up and against the spread. The last two meetings sailed OVER the total after two consecutive UNDERs in the series.
Miami will have a new look offensively this season with the addition of star wide receiver Brandon Marshall, who arrived in a trade from Denver in the offseason. Marshall will be catching passes from Dolphins quarterback Chad Henne after making Broncos QB Kyle Orton look like a Pro Bowler at times last year. Henne played in both meetings with Buffalo last season, completing 31-of-53 passes for 290 yards combined in the two games with two touchdown passes and three interceptions. Miami running backs Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams did most of the damage in the victory against the Bills, totaling 200 rushing yards between them and scoring three times.
Buffalo is moving past the TO experiment this year with a new offensive-minded head coach in Chan Gailey, but he will be limited personnel-wise. Gailey’s top weapon could very well be rookie running back C.J. Spiller, who showed flashes of brilliance in the preseason and may be asked to carry a big workload right away with veterans Fred Jackson and Marshawn Lynch both recovering from injuries. Jackson is expected to play against the Dolphins despite breaking his hand in the preseason while Lynch has also been practicing after suffering an ankle injury.
The Bills could be very limited again offensively through the air though with starting quarterback Trent Edwards, as they ranked 30th in the NFL in passing yards last season with Terrell Owens in the mix. Without Owens, Edwards will rely heavily on the running backs and a defense that ranked right in the middle of the league, allowing 20.4 points per game.
The Dolphins hope to be much-improved defensively after surrendering 24.4 points per game last season. They tied for third in the league with 44 sacks but need to improve in the defensive secondary, where they gave up 234.6 passing yards per game. Edwards will not be much of a threat throwing the ball, so watch for the Fins to pressure him and try to contain the run.
For the free football pick, while we are high on Miami this year, we do see the Bills as the right side in this game. Laying points in week 1 on road favorites has already been a bad proposition, and the Bills showed us some good things in the preseason. Take the Bills +3 on Sunday as a free football pick. We remind you for more NFL winners consider our premium NFL expert picks, high percentage winning plays from the nations top handicappers.