By Abraham Gutierrez
After two lackluster performances on the road, the (1-1) Miami Dolphins return to South Florida to prepare for their 2015 NFL home opener against a very familiar AFC East foe, Rex Ryan’s (1-1) Buffalo Bills.READ MORE: CDC Releases New Guidelines For Trial Cruises
Sun Life Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida will be the site for this intra-divisional showdown of teams with identical records. Opening kickoff is scheduled for Sunday afternoon at 4:25 p.m. ET and it will be broadcast live on CBS-Sports.
This week’s clash will mark the 103rd meeting between Miami and Buffalo, as the Bills will look to make a dent in the Fins’ 58-43-1 lead in the head-to-head series. The last time they faced each other dates back to last November in the Sunshine State, when the Dolphins came away with a 22-9 victory at home.
Bills 2015 NFL Season Record
With a 1-1 record on the year, the Buffalo Bills start Week 3 tied for third place in the AFC East with the rival Dolphins (pending the results of the Jets-Colts game Monday night). The Rex Ryan era got off to an impressive start, to say the least, as the Bills opened the new campaign with a shocking, 27-14, win over the Indianapolis Colts in Week 1.
The victory led the outspoken head coach to sound off in typical Rex fashion prior to their showdown with Bill Belichick and the hated New England Patriots in Week 2. However, after a week filled with trash-talk and buildup, the Pats evened the Bills’ season record at 1-1 with a humbling 40-32 defeat Sunday at Ralph Wilson Stadium.
“I’m going to tell you exactly how I told our team,” Ryan said after the loss. “First off this loss is squarely on one man’s shoulders. It’s on my shoulders. You know, yeah we gotta get better as a team there’s no question. But I have to get better. You know [Bill] Belichick outcoached me. No question about it and that’s where the game, that’s how it ended up and it’s unfortunate.”
Bills On Offense
Despite the fact that most Rex Ryan teams are known for their defense, this year’s Bills seem to be at their best on the offensive side of the rock. With two games in the books, Buffalo’s offense ranks fourth in the NFL in rushing yards (153.5), fifth in the league in points (29.5), 15th in total yards (345.5) and 26th in passing yards per game (192).
After a successful four-year stint in San Francisco, Greg Roman is the Buffalo Bills’ offensive coordinator in 2015. Roman, who was brought in to replace Doug Marrone, appears to have had an immediate impact on an offense that ranked among the worst in the NFL a year ago (26th in total yards, 18th in passing and 25th in rushing).READ MORE: South Florida Streets Packed For Cinco De Mayo, First Big Holiday Since Governor Lifted Local COVID Restrictions
His offensive scheme is best described as a ground-and-pound attack that’s comprised by multiple power-running packages, pistol formations and read-options. Given the way Miami has defended the run through two games – currently ranked 26th in the NFL (142 yards per game) – the Fins could be in for a very long afternoon going up against Roman’s diverse “polymorphic” scheme.
Bills On Defense
Defensive coordinator Dennis Thurman runs a Bills defense that enters Week 3 ranked second against the rush (60.0), 23rd in points per game allowed (27.0), 28th in total yards (405.5), and a whopping 31st at defending the pass (345.5). Thurman, who was brought in to replace former Bills DC Jim Schwartz, employs what’s called the “4-3 Under” – designed to look like the 3-4 for the purpose of deception – which is the same blitz-heavy “D” Ryan has been utilizing for the past decade in the NFL.
Last year, as a member of the New York Jets, Thurman’s defense limited opponents to the fifth-fewest rushing yards per game (93.1), and finished ranked sixth in total defense surrendering just 327.2 total yards per contest.
Bills Players To Watch
It’s no secret that the Bills have to have success running the football for this team to be successful. That’s why it should come as no surprise that the offensive player to watch is none other than former Philadelphia Eagles running back LeSean McCoy. Entering his seventh NFL season, the former Pitt standout is currently tied for 10th in the league in rushing with 130 yards on 32 carries.
On the defensive side of the pigskin, the Bills player to look out for is middle linebacker Preston Brown. In his second year out of Louisville, the Cincinnati, Ohio native leads the team with 18 combined tackles, which is good enough for 11th best in the National Football League. Through two weeks of play, Brown also has a pass defended and a forced humble to his name.
2015 NFL Week 3 Betting Odds
According to NFL Week 2 point spreads, the Miami Dolphins [+2½] come into this Week 3 showdown with the rival Buffalo Bills [+2½] favored by just under a field goal in the betting department. Meanwhile, Tte OVER/UNDER is set at a combined total of 43½ points in what is expected to be a defensive struggle.MORE NEWS: COVID Vaccine No Longer Required This Fall For Those Returning To NSU Campus
Abe Gutierrez’s (Twitter: @GutierrezAbe) passion led him to ditch law school journey in order to launch his own publishing company. His expertise make him a valued addition to Examiner.com, AXS.com and the CBS-Sports family. Some of his work can be found on CBS-Miami (Dolphins), CBS-LosAngeles (Chargers), CBS-BayArea (Raiders), CBS-NewYork (NY Jets), CBS-TampaBay (Buccaneers), AXS.com, Examiner.com and other online publications.