Buffalo @ Miami (+3.0)
Power rankings: Buffalo 3, Miami 5
Motivation: This game will decide the AFC East champion. The Dolphins have clinched a playoff berth. Buffalo can still make the playoffs if they lose, but they would need help since they haven't clinced yet. Naturally, both teams will be going all out.
When Buffalo has the ball: The Bills offense is 4th in DVOA (3rd pass, 5th run). Josh Allen is 1st in PFF grades and 3rd in ESPN's total QBR, having a season where he should be in the discussion for MVP. The knock on Allen is his frequent interceptions - his 16 picks are 2nd most in the NFL right now (Sam Howell, 19). However, a closer look shows his interceptions have been the result of bad luck rather than poor decisions - Allen's 2.8% turnover worthy play rate is 18th best in the league. For comparison, he has a slightly better turnover worthy play rate than CJ Stroud (3.0%) despite Stroud only throwing 5 picks. There isn't much to say about Allen other than the fact that he's really fucking good at all aspects of being a quarterback. The offensive line has rounded into form nicely, with strengths at the tackle and center positions to help with the weaknesses at guard. C Mitch Morse did pop up on the injury report Friday with an illness, making him questionable. If Morse can't go, Ryan Bates is the backup. Bates is a decent drop off from Morse and would leave the Bills interior a bit vunerable. Stef Diggs remains leaps and bounds ahead of the Bills receiving group - his 151 targets this seasn dwarfs Dalton Kincaid's by 69 targets. That said, it's still a decent group of receivers behind Diggs. The run game will be handled by James Cook, who is averaging 4.8 yards per attempt and 2.80 yards per attempt after contact this season.
Miami's defense is 19th in DVOA (18th pass, 21st run). They're 2nd in pressure rate despite only blitzing 14th most often, and 9th in pass rush win rate. That said, their pass rush took a big hit when they lost Bradley Chubb to a torn ACL last week. Chubb's 70 pressures was most on the team, but Miami still has a solid collection of pass rushers, particularly on the inside. Christian Wilkins (52) and Zach Sieler (51) are 2nd and 3rd on the team in pressures and both pay on the inside, where they could potentially take advantage of Buffalo's interior. Their secondary will also be without CB Xavien Howard (foot), but they still have CB Jalen Ramsey and S Javeon Holland as play makers in the secondary. Miami is another team who's defense appears better "on paper," then what they've produced on the field, and they've particularly struggled against number 1 receivers (24th in DVOA) and tight ends (30th), which doesn't bode well for their task of covering Diggs and Kincaid.
When Miami has the ball:
The Dolphins offense is 3rd in DVOA (2nd pass, 3rd run). Tua Tagovailoa is PFF's 4th highest graded quarterback and ranks 13th in ESPN's total QBR. Similar to Allen, there isn't much of a knock on Tua's game. We can debate all day about how much of it is the system and how much of it is Tua - but for us it doesn't matter, we only care about how well the offense functions with Tua under center. Critics have pointed to Tua's arm strength as a weakness in his game, but he has a 98.1 PFF grade on deep passes, 3rd best in the NFL. The Dolphins rely heaving on Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle - they have 154 and 104 targets respectively, 3rd highest (tight end Durham Smythe - do you know who Smythe is? Exactly) is at 38 targets. Waddle missed last weeks game with an ankle injury and is officially questionable, but the docs at SICscore.com seem to think he'll be able to play, but he likely won't be 100%. The Dolphins have a middle of the road offensive line, but their run game succeeds due to the play at running back. Raheem Mostert (knee/ankle) is officially questionable, but rookie De'Vone Achane - PFF's highest graded running back - is good to go.
The Bill's defense is 12th in DVOA (9th pass, 18th run). They've had success getting to the quarterback, ranking 9th in pressure rate (just 19th in blitz rate) and 4th in pass rush win rate. They're able to win both inside and outside, thanks to Ed Oliver (inside, 62 pressures) and Greg Rousseau (outside, 51). The secondary received a major upgrade when they brought Rasaul Douglas from Green Bay at the trade deadline, giving them a quality cornerback room (Chrisitian Benford/Taron Johnson) to go along with a solid safety tandem (Jordan Poyer/Michah Hyde). Their line isn't nearly as efficient against the run, ranking 19th in run stop win rate. Despite the Bills success against the pass, offense wins in today's NFL, and Miami has an advantage in the run game.