Tale of the tape: Miami vs. Buffalo
An AFC East showdown takes the Thursday night spot light when the Miami Dolphins visit the Buffalo Bills. We break down both sides in our tale of the tape:
The Dolphins, who average 105.8 yards on the ground per game, tried to spark their rushing offense last week versus Tennessee but mustered only 54 yards on 15 carries, including a fumble from RB Reggie Bush. Miami has rushed for only 78.3 yards per game over its last three contests, and hasn’t done much to relieve the pressure on rookie QB Ryan Tannehill, who was intercepted three times in Week 10.
The Bills will be without RB Fred Jackson (concussion) Thursday, leaving the offense to lean on backup C.J. Spiller. That’s not necessarily a bad thing. Spiller averages 7.3 yards per carry this year – best in the NFL – and seems to make big plays whenever he touches the football. Buffalo put up a solid fight versus New England last Sunday, scoring 31 points and boasting a franchise-record 35 first downs. Quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick passed for 337 yards and two touchdowns in the loss.
Miami has looked to its defense to keep it in ball games this season, allowing just 20.7 points per game – eighth lowest in the NFL. The Dolphins front seven has done a great job plugging up the ground game, giving up 94.2 yards an outing, but that number must be taken with a grain of salt because of how bad Miami is at defending the pass. Opponents are putting up 278 yards through the air each time the Dolphins take the field. Those same opponents are averaging 11.7 yards per completion.
The Bills haven't been doing themselves any favors defensively, allowing at least 35 points in four of their last six games overall. They're giving up a whopping 6.4 yards per play on the season, and have been particularly poor against the run, allowing 5.5 yards per rush. On a positive note, the Dolphins don't appear poised to exploit that weakness, as they're averaging only 3.8 yards per rush. Buffalo has been fairly consistent in terms of its pass rush, averaging 2.7 sacks per game here at home.
The Dolphins return game has been a big positive this season, as they're averaging well north of the league average at 12.3 yards per punt return, and 27.3 yards on kickoffs. Kicker Dan Carpenter has had a bit of an off year, converting on only 13 of 17 field goal attempts. With a sputtering red zone offense, Carpenter could certainly be a factor on Thursday night.
Buffalo has been even better returning punts, one of the league's best teams in that department, averaging 19.5 yards per return. The problem is, they've had a tough time defending punts, giving up 15 yards per return. On kickoff returns, they've been nothing more than average at 26.3 yards per return. Veteran kicker Ryan Lindell has made good on 9 of 10 field goal attempts.
- April 23, 2014 - 7:05 PM
- Doc's Sports
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- betonline @ -135 Cleveland
Doc's Sports Wednesday MLB Free Play!
Wednesday MLB Free Play from Doc’s Sports Take #972 Cleveland Indians (-135) over Kansas City Royals (Wednesday, 7:05pm EST) The Cleveland Indians and Kansas City Royals both exceeded expectations in a big way last year. The Indians grabbed a wild card berth with 92 wins while the Royals were in the race most of the way with 86. They were two of the best stories in baseball last season, but only one of those teams has a realistic shot of doing it once again. The Royals were successful in 2013 due to a dynamite bullpen and superb defense. Good bullpens are very hard to maintain from year-to-year as they are already finding out. Their bullpen ERA is over a full run higher than last season and two of their top guys are on the disabled on top of it. The Royals had unbelievable defensive metrics last season, and those will also be hard to repeat. The Indians, on the other hand, were successful last year mainly due to a well-balanced offense and good starting pitching numbers. Those variables are much more consistent from season-to-season, so I think the Tribe has a good chance to be in the thick of things again in 2014. Team ace Justin Masterson takes the ball for Cleveland on Wednesday, and he looked good last time out after a couple of shaky outings. On the other side is Jason Vargas for Kansas City – a guy who generally keeps his team in the game but won’t dominate the opposition. Big edge to the Indians there. Add in the home field advantage and the fact that Cleveland has the better overall team, and it all adds up to a play on the Indians here.