Thad Lewis has another chance to pick up his first NFL victory as the Buffalo Bills face the Miami Dolphins on Sunday afternoon at Sun Life Stadium.
Down 14 points heading into the fourth quarter against Cincinnati last week, Lewis took the Bills down field twice to force overtime, but the offense stalled in the extra period and Buffalo fell, 27-24.
The second-year quarterback out of Duke totaled 216 passing yards with two touchdowns and another on the ground for a 100.5 passer rating. While the Bills wait for EJ Manuel to return from his knee injury, the offense appears to be in capable hands.
The loss dropped Buffalo to last in the AFC East, while the 3-2 Dolphins are hoping to snap a two-game slide and make ground in the division coming off a bye. Unfortunately, a week off hasn’t benefited Miami too much in recent years. Since 2000, the Dolphins have a 6-7 record after a bye.
Quarterback Ryan Tannehill threw for 307 yards and a touchdown two weeks ago in Miami’s 26-23 loss to Baltimore, but his punishment in the pocket continued. The Dolphins offensive line gave up six sacks for a loss of 35 yards and another six quarterback hits, and Tannehill has now been sacked a league-high 24 times.
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More trouble could be on the way, with Buffalo posting 21 team sacks, the third best mark in the NFL. Defensive end Mario Williams is mostly responsible with 8.0 sacks.
Miami head coach Joe Philbin could limit Tannehill’s hits if the rushing attack showed any signs of life. Running backs Lamar Miller and Daniel Thomas, along with Tannehill, gained only 22 yards on 11 rushes against the Ravens. The Dolphins are now 29th in the league with 69.6 rushing yards per game.
The Bills have had the opposite problem, with 148.8 rushing yards per game from C.J. Spiller and Fred Jackson. The duo is arguably the best one-two rushing punch in the league. Jackson is fifth in the league with four rushing touchdowns and eighth amongst starting backs with 4.6 yards per carry.
With Buffalo receiver Steve Johnson battling hamstring and back injuries since Week Four, rookie Robert Woods has emerged as a certifiable running mate. He’s first on the team with 274 receiving yards, and tied with Johnson with two touchdowns.
Johnson was a full participant in practice on Thursday despite the back injury, while Spiller was limited with a bum ankle.
Miami will miss top corner and interception leader Dimitri Patterson, who is listed as out with a groin injury. The secondary could be further depleted if cornerback Don Jones remains questionable due to an elbow injury, however Nolan Carrol was upgraded to probable after a full practice on Friday, according to the team’s official site. The Dolphins are currently 27th in the league, allowing 287.6 yards per game in the air.
Point Spread: Miami favored by 10 points.
Over-Under: 42.5 points
Kickoff Time: 1 PM Eastern Time
Where To Watch Online: NFL Game Access
TV Channel: CBS
Prediction: Buffalo 20, Miami 13