In less than an hour, the eleventh week of the 2014 NFL Regular Season will be underway. And, the matchup is a pretty good one.
The Buffalo Bills and Miami Dolphins will look to renew a rivalry that has not been relevant in nearly 20 years. Back in the 1990s, both teams were consistent playoff teams, and faced each other three times over the course of that decade in the postseason. All three of those games went the Bills’ ways, in an era where Hall of Fame quarterbacks Jim Kelly and Dan Marino led powerful offenses for over a decade.
While neither team has a great offense today, it’s the first time both teams have been relevant this late in the season since the turn of the century. The Bills haven’t made a postseason appearance since 1999, and the Dolphins have failed to make it in all but one season since 2001.
Both teams boast intriguing rushing attacks, as well as capable quarterbacks in Kyle Orton and Ryan Tannehill. Each squad also consists of a game-breaking receiver (Sammy Watkins and Mike Wallace), as well as top ten defenses.
Both teams are also coming off late, heartbreaking losses against playoff caliber teams last week. The Bills were leading all game long against the surging Kansas City Chiefs, before Alex Smith scrambled for an eight-yard touchdown in the final minutes. The Bills failed to capitalize on their final drive, and running back Bryce Brown’s goal line fumble from earlier in the game proved to be the difference in the 17-13 loss.
Meanwhile, the Dolphins were trailing in Detroit against the NFC East leading Detroit Lions all game, until they took a 16-13 lead in the final minutes. However, the Lions scored a late touchdown due to a short catch by running back Theo Riddick, and the Dolphins lost yet another game in the final minute. They could have been going into today’s game with a 7-2 record, but late game heroics have doomed them on multiple occasions.
While I don’t believe either team can catch the AFC East leading New England Patriots, the winner will be able to avenge last week’s close loss, and gets a chance to continue an attempt at a playoff push. This is one of the toughest games to pick this week, but I will go with the road team. My head is screaming Dolphins, but I cannot bet on them. Not after the way they have floundered in close games, which this one likely will be. Expect a somewhat low-scoring game, with some spectacular plays peppered in. Prediction: Bills 20, Dolphins 17.