Miami Dolphins (3-4) at Buffalo Bills (3-4)
The bye came at the perfect time for the Buffalo Bills, who limped into the bye with two straight losses, including a loss in London to the Jaguars, in a game in which they were missing starting quarterback Tyrod Taylor, talented backup running back Karlos Williams, starting wide receivers Percy Harvin and Sammy Watkins, and star defensive tackle Kyle Williams. The Bills aren’t 100% this week, but they definitely come out of the bye healthier. Harvin has been put on injured reserve (I know, shocker), Kyle Williams remains out, and Sammy Watkins is going to be a game time call after tweaking his ankle injury late in the week, but Taylor and Karlos Williams are both definitely returning. Taylor’s return is definitely the biggest one, as he was playing pretty well before going down, while backup quarterback EJ Manuel didn’t play well in his absence.
However, the Bills also come out of the bye into an awful spot, with a Thursday night trip to New York to play the Jets on deck, following this home contest against the Dolphins. Divisional home favorites are 21-58 ATS before being divisional road underdogs since 2002, one of the worst spots a team can be in. On top of that, favorites are 42-67 ATS before a Thursday night game since 2008. Meanwhile, divisional home favorites are just 31-54 ATS against a team they previously beat that season as divisional road favorites, as the Bills did back in week 3.
This would be my Pick of the Week most weeks. The only reason it’s not this week, in addition to the fact that I really like the undefeated Panthers as field goal home underdogs against Green Bay, is because the Bills are a slightly better team and are only favored by a field goal. They rank 22nd in rate of moving the chains differential, while the Dolphins rank 25th in rate of moving the chains differential. On top of that, they’re getting healthier, while the Dolphins just lost one of their top defensive players, Cameron Wake, for the season. However, the Bills are still far from healthy and we’re still getting field goal protection with the Dolphins (15.6% of games are decided by a field goal) and, of course, the Bills are in an awful spot. I really like Miami this week.
Miami Dolphins 16 Buffalo Bills 13 Upset Pick +125
Pick against the spread: Miami +3