1. Dolphins defense vs. Bulls quarterback Josh Allen: Buffalo, led by an electric passing combination from quarterback Josh Allen to wide receiver Stefon Diggs, puts a lot of pressure on the defense. Diggs is No. 2 in the league in receiving (behind Dolphins wide receiver Tyreke Hill) with 20 receptions for 270 yards and four touchdowns. Allen (52-for-69 for 614 yards, seven touchdowns, 123.7 passer rating) is second in passer rating and tied for the lead in touchdowns.
Continuously flashing Allen is an option with cornerback Zwin Howard shadowing Diggs. Another option is a base defense with a normal pass rush and take your chances. Allen had a career-worst 15 interceptions last season and has double-digit sacks in three of his past four seasons. But be warned. Allen was blitzed 20 times (14th most in the league) but only pressured seven times (32nd in the league) and sacked three times (19th fewest).
2. Quarterback Tua Tagavailoa and the Dolphins offense putting points on the board: Tagovailoa (59-for-83, 739 yards, seven touchdowns, two interceptions, 116.5 passer rating) has a huge matchup edge here with Hill and fellow wide receiver Jaylen Waddle (15 receptions, 240 yards, three touchdowns). Windy Joe is going up against a young Buffalo corner team. Christian Benford and Kier Elam (Benjamin School in Palm Beach).
The Bills have top safeties in All-Pro Jordan Poyer and All-Pro Micah Hyde and will likely play both deep to cover Hill and Waddle. But if Miami can run the ball, one of those safeties needs to get in the box, the Dolphins could have another record-setting day. Also, the Dolphins need Tagovailoa’s trademark accuracy.
3. Dolphins taking advantage of an advantageous situation: Buffalo, nursing some significant injuries, comes to South Florida in a short week for a hot, humid September game at 1 p.m. This is a prime area for dolphins to swoop. Yes, Buffalo has won seven games in a row against the Dolphins, but the Dolphins A seven-game home winning streak at Hard Rock Stadium. The Dolphins will also have a sellout crowd in their favor.
Beyond that, the Dolphins’ confidence is sky high after that. A miraculous 42-38 comeback victory in Baltimore In which they overcame a 21-point deficit in the fourth quarter. Of course, Buffalo’s confidence is high after two blowout victories this season by a combined score of 72-17, against a pair of projected playoff teams, the Los Angeles Rams and Tennessee Titans. But the stage is set for the Dolphins to upset at home.
4. Dolphins offensive tackle Taron Armistead and Greg Little vs. Buffalo defensive end Von Miller: Of all the intriguing matchups, including Diggs vs. Howard, this one stands out the most because of Miller’s disruptive ability. Miller (2.0 sacks) mostly plays only in passing situations, but if Armstead and Little don’t do their job, he’ll be fine in Tagore’s face.
Armstead, who was questionable last Sunday with a toe injury, is among the NFL’s top-rated tackles after two games so he should be able to handle Miller one-on-one. But the Dolphins should also see a matchup with their right tackle on the other side. It’s possible the Dolphins could provide some help from a tight end or running back if needed. Armstead will largely be one-on-one versus Miller, but both tackles will be key to the success of the Dolphins’ passing game.
5. Dolphins coach Mike McDaniel making the right moves: There is little or no pressure on McDaniel so, to a certain extent, he can coach more freely than conservatives. McDaniel is off to a roaring start Two Super Bowl-winning coaches — with victories over New England’s Bill Belichick and Baltimore’s John Harbaugh. McDaniel managed the team well enough to set the stage for an impressive comeback victory over the Ravens. His mentality has put players at ease, and his game plan and adjustments have put them in positions to win. A victory over Buffalo, which would give the Dolphins control of the AFC East and put them in the conversation for the best teams in the AFC, starts with McDaniel.