Miami Dolphins (-1) at Buffalo Bills (43 O/U)
Sunday September 14, 2014 at Orchard Park, New York
The locals and yours truly are perfect thanks to a brazen selection of mammals over patriots (while covering the spread) to open the glorious season of Pro Football in the contiguous United States. But don’t be fooled by the final winning margin of 13 points last week. That game was much closer, and the test away from home this weekend comes without the Fins’ core run-stoppers against a better-than-you-think Bills team.
Last week, Miami survived a mediocre run-game of NE, while playing virtually the entire game sans its 3 starting LB’s: Misi, Wheeler, and Ellerbe. Now the Fins face a much stronger rushing game featuring the 2-headed monster of CJ Spiller and Fred Jackson. Expect a heavy dose of ground n pound, while Def. Coordinator Kevin Coyle strategizes on how to stuff gaps with atypical gap-fillers. The strength of Miami’s defense however is clearly their front 4, and the DB’s aren’t playing too shabby either. Cam Wake (2 forced fumbles and equal sacks) along with Olivier Vernon (2 sacks) are sure-fire Pro Bowl bookends to rush the passer. It’s up to DT’s Mitchel and Starks/Oderick to compensate for the loss of starting-caliber LB’s to neutralize the middle (unless of course Trusnkick and Jenkins can continue to play WAY over their heads). Still, if we limit the chunk plays in the run game, watch out QB Manuel, cause fierce pressure is a comin’, and you won’t have much time to find speedy Watkins or any of your other mercurial toys.