Buffalo Bills (1-1) at Miami Dolphins (1-1)
The Bills were seen as a breakout squad after they defeated the Colts week 1. However, that win doesn’t look as good now that the Jets beat the Colts in Indianapolis and the Bills were also beaten pretty convincingly at home by the Patriots last week. They have one of the best defenses in football, but they also have one of the worst starting quarterbacks in the league in Tyrod Taylor and a weak offensive line on an all-around poor offense. They’re an average team at best and could easily finish below .500 if they have more significant defensive injuries than they’re used to. They’ve had very good luck in terms of their defensive stars staying healthy over the past few years.
Miami also lost last week, doing so in surprising and embarrassing fashion in Jacksonville. The Dolphins didn’t look great to start the season, going 1-1 and finishing 14th in rate of moving the chains differential, despite playing a pair of teams in Washington and Jacksonville that aren’t very good. However, it’s somewhat excusable because both games were on the road and it’s very possible that when we look back on this season, the Miami loss in Jacksonville looks like a fluke. It’s still very early in the season and I don’t like to change my views on teams quickly. I had them winning the AFC East coming into the season, after finishing 10th in rate of moving the chains differential last season and improving their team this off-season. They might not do that anymore because New England has looked very good through 2 games, but they could still certainly be a playoff team. They’re better than Buffalo and they could actually very easily be 2-0 right now if a couple things, including a missed makeable field goal, went differently against Jacksonville.
Given that and given that this line only favors Miami by 2.5 points, Miami appears to be a pretty obvious choice. Not only does this line suggest that the Bills are the better team, but it can also be covered with a victory by a field goal. However, I’m not too confident in the Dolphins this week for a couple of reasons. The first reason is that they’ll be missing talented left tackle Branden Albert with injury. The second reason has to do with scheduling. The Bills lucked out not having to go on the road until week 3, while the Dolphins were unlucky getting stuck with two road games. It’s not just that two road games are a tougher two weeks than two home games. Teams that don’t play at home until week 3 tend to be less refreshed than their opponent when they finally are home, going 22-43 ATS during that week 3 game since 1989. Meanwhile, teams that don’t play on the road until week 3 are 40-27 ATS in that week 3 road game. I still like the Dolphins here, but I don’t think I’d put money on it.
Miami Dolphins 17 Buffalo Bills 10
Pick against the spread: Miami -2.5