Whereas the playoffs will not formally begin till subsequent weekend, the Dolphins can have a postseason mentally once they take the sphere to face the Payments on Sunday. Miami is one among 5 10-win AFC groups which might be vying for 4 playoff spots. With a win, the Dolphins will clinch their first playoff berth since 2016. In the event that they lose, Miami will want both the Ravens, Browns or Colts to lose with a purpose to qualify for the postseason. For the Payments, they’ll clinch the No. 2 seed by beating their AFC East rival. The Payments would additionally get the No. 2 seed in the event that they lose and the Pittsburgh Steelers lose to the Cleveland Browns.
Buffalo is a two-point favourite to beat Miami, in keeping with William Hill Sportsbook, with the over/beneath set at 43 factors. The Payments are 10-5 towards the unfold this season and 9-5-1 on the over/beneath. The Dolphins are 11-4 towards the unfold and 6-9 on the over/beneath. Click on right here to see what our CBS Sports activities NFL consultants suppose will unfold in Buffalo.
Earlier than we break down the sport, this is how one can comply with the motion in actual time.
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Payments coach Sean McDermott has stored issues in-house because it pertains to who might or might not play on Sunday. We do know that the Dolphins can be with out quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick, who was lately positioned on the staff’s reserve/COVID-19 checklist. Fitzpatrick, who threw for 327 yards and two touchdowns in Miami’s 31-28 loss to Buffalo in Week 2, helped engineer a late rally throughout Miami’s one-point win over the Raiders final Saturday night time. Fitzpatrick has twice been known as to alleviate Tua Tagovailoa, who has posted a 6-2 document since changing Fitzpatrick as Miami’s starter.
Whereas his statistics are stable, Tagovailoa yards per try is 1.5 yards fewer than Fitzpatrick. Miami’s lack of a deep passing presence was one of many the reason why Dolphins coach Brian Flores made the quarterback swap throughout the second half of final week’s sport. With Fitzpatrick not an possibility as a security internet, the Dolphins’ offense might attempt to get working again Myles Gaskin going early to assist open issues up for Tagovailoa. Gaskin totaled 169 yards and two landing receptions in Miami’s win in Las Vegas. When he does drop again to move, it is a secure guess that Tagovailoa will goal tight finish Mike Gesicki, who has caught 20 passes and 4 touchdowns within the Dolphins’ final 4 video games. Tagovailoa can have his work lower out for him towards the Payments’ eight-ranked move protection. Main the best way for Buffalo’s protection is robust security Jordan Poyer (122 tackles, two interceptions, two compelled fumbles), Professional Bowl linebacker Tremaine Edmunds (110 tackles) and Professional Bowl cornerback Tre’Davious White (three interceptions, 11 passes defensed).
Miami’s top-ranked scoring protection has been led by linebacker Jerome Baker (108 tackles, seven sacks, two compelled fumbles), outdoors linebacker Kyle Van Noy (six sacks, two compelled fumbles and two fumble recoveries) and Professional Bowl cornerback Xavien Howard, who has tallied a league-high 9 interceptions by way of 15 video games. An enormous factor to observe on this sport is how nicely the Payments’ top-ranked third down protection performs towards the Dolphins’ top-ranked third down protection. If the Dolphins are going to win on third down, they will need to discover a technique to include Buffalo quarterback Josh Allen, whose 34 touchdowns and simply 9 interceptions is likely one of the the reason why he was lately named to his first Professional Bowl. Allen has gained a fast rapport with receiver Stefon Diggs, who has additionally tabbed as a Professional Bowler after setting profession highs in catches (120) and receiving yards (1,459). Fellow receiver Cole Beasley (82 catches, 967 yards) has been an excellent No. 2 possibility for Allen, whereas the working again duo of Devin Singletary and rookie Zack Moss has helped preserve defenses trustworthy.
Whereas there can be no bye awarded for the No. 2 seed, the Payments nonetheless need to seize that spot heading into the postseason. That being stated, there’s nonetheless a query as to how a lot the Payments’ starters will play, which makes it onerous to choose towards a Miami staff that may clinch a playoff berth with a win. If Gaskin can gave success towards Buffalo’s twentieth ranked run protection, that ought to make Sunday’s sport considerably simpler for Tagovailoa. Defensively, the Dolphins have the gamers to cease the Payments’ offense, so long as they’ll persistently get Buffalo in third and lengthy conditions.
Rating: Dolphins 24, Payments 20