Sunday, December 22, 2013

Week 16 picks: Dolphins at Bills

Publisher Nick St. Denis, associate editor Dan Begnoche and senior contributor Sean Donovan pick the AFC East matchup between the Miami Dolphins and Buffalo Bills.

Sean's take:
First quarter mistakes and the resulting scoreboard deficit doomed the Dolphins in the first matchup, but as they proved in the final three quarters, they are the superior team. The Bills are a very tough out at home, and they have a running back tandem capable of taking over the game. Miami must focus on stifling C.J. Spiller and Fred Jackson, while being aware of Thad Lewis' mobility and understated passing abilities. The Dolphins earn a hard-fought victory in rainy Western New York to move a game closer to clinching a playoff berth.
Prediction: Dolphins 24, Bills 13

Nick's take:
The Dolphins are the more desperate team and will play accordingly, though it won't be easy sledding. Quarterback Ryan Tannehill has been very efficient of late, but he'll be up against both the inclement weather and a Bills passing defense that has held opposing signal-callers to a 56.3 completion percentage. Tannehill will lean on tight end Charles Clay to churn out first downs, and the Dolphins' defense gets its revenge on Lewis.
Prediction: Dolphins 20, Bills 17

Dan's take:
To continue its run at the playoffs, Miami must get through Buffalo, who took out the team in Week 7. To do so, the Fins will have to shut down the Bills' run game, a tough task this season, and win out in the turnover game. Buffalo has grabbed an impressive 27 takeaways, though its struggled to hold on to the ball on offense. Keep an eye on the matchup between Miami receiver Mike Wallace and cornerback Stephon Gilmore, as that battle could dictate the passing game (or lack thereof) that Miami is able to establish against a stingy Bills defense.
Prediction: Dolphins 24, Bills 20