The Buffalo Bills face a must-win game when they visit the Miami Dolphins in Week 17. Kickoff is set for 4:25 EST on Sunday, December 31 at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami, Florida. Fans can watch the game on CBS.
Oddsmakers list the Bills as 3-point favorites over the Dolphins on the road. The over/under is set at 42.5 points. Click here to check out a full list of the Week 17 betting odds and links to more game previews.
Dolphins vs Bills Game Preview & Betting Odds
The Bills need a win over Miami and a little help to end their 17-year playoff drought. Buffalo took a tough loss last week, falling to the Patriots to drop them to 8-7 on the season. Prior to that, the Bills won three of four games since Tyrod Taylor returned to the starting lineup, so they’ve been playing good football late in the season. Aside from a win, the Bills need either the Ravens to lose or both the Chargers and Titans to lose to sneak into the playoffs.
The Dolphins, on the other hand, enter Week 17 at 6-9, losing seven of their last nine games. Miami was still alive for a playoff spot heading into last week but lost to the Chiefs. It’ll be interesting to see how motivated they are to play this week after being eliminated. Of course, the chance to knock their rivals out of the playoff hunt should be enough to get them up for the game.
These two teams just met two weeks ago, with the Bills winning 24-16. Buffalo led 21-6 at the half and more or less cruised to victory in the 2nd half despite a comeback attempt by the Dolphins. Buffalo may need to do a better job of playing two good halves if they hope to win on the road and sweep Miami.
Free NFL Pick Against the Spread: Bills -3
With so much on the line, I’m going to lean toward the Bills in this game. They dominated the Dolphins for much of the game two weeks ago, so I definitely think they’re the better team. Considering how much they need this game, the Bills will play their best and make sure they give themselves a chance to reach the playoffs.
One thing the Dolphins did quite well when these two teams met in Week 15 was contain LeSean McCoy. Miami’s defense held McCoy to just 50 yards on 20 carries. However, McCoy also gained 46 yards on four catches, scoring one touchdown receiving and one rushing. When the Bills needed a big play, McCoy delivered. The Dolphins should expect a steady diet of McCoy on Sunday as well, and keeping him more or less under wraps twice in three weeks will be a tough challenge.
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By far, the biggest difference between these teams two weeks ago was Jay Cutler’s three interceptions. Naturally, that remains a concern for Miami heading into the rematch. Cutler has at least one interception in nine of 13 games this season. He’s thrown at least two picks in three of his last five games. Needless to say, Cutler has been far from his best late in the season, which is bad news for the Dolphins, especially since they aren’t that great at running the ball.
It’s also important to remember that the Bills have the kind of pass rush that can put Cutler under consistent pressure if he’s not quick getting rid of the ball. The Bills did just that two weeks ago, and it played an important role in helping them build a sizable lead. I expect the Bills to do everything they can to put Cutler under pressure and force him to make mistakes this week as well.
I’m not sure I see the Bills having an easy time winning this game. However, the possibility is there for Cutler to make mistakes that cause Miami’s downfall. The Bills also have the best offensive playmaker in this game in McCoy. I don’t see the Dolphins being able to bottle him up for 60 minutes. Eventually, the Bills will make the plays necessary to win the game and cover a 3-point spread.