5 things to watch for as the Bills visit the Dolphins

By: Nick Wojton

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The day has finally arrived.

It’s Week 17 of the 2017 NFL season and against a lot of odds, the Buffalo Bills (8-7) have a meaningful game for the first time since 2004 in their season finale against the Miami Dolphins (6-9).

Could the drought break? A lot has to go right. But one thing is for sure: the Bills have to win. With that, here are five things to watch for as the Bills visit the Dolphins:

Fales watch: Unlike the Bills, the Dolphins are out of the postseason picture. Mathematically, there’s nothing for them to play for. Of course, that doesn’t mean the Dolphins won’t try. But during the game, a decision might be made to bench quarterback Jay Cutler for David Fales, Miami’s third-year backup QB. According to reports from the Miami Herald, the Dolphins might want to get a look at Fales in terms of being their future backup when Ryan Tannehill returns. Click here to find out more on the Fales situation.

Scoreboard watching: The players on the Bills said they might do it, fans most definitely will. As a reminder, here’s what the Bills need: a win. And also:

  • A loss by the Baltimore Ravens (9-6) to the Cincinnati Bengals (6-9) at home, or
  • Losses by both the Tennessee Titans (8-7) to the Jacksonville Jaguars at home (10-5) and a loss by the Los Angeles Chargers (8-7) at home to the Oakland Raiders (6-8).

Tyrod vs. Dolphins: Love him or hate him, quarterback Tyrod Taylor brings the heat against the Miami Dolphins. Just two weeks ago, the Bills (8-7) quarterback went 17-for-29 for 224 and a touchdown in a 24-16 win against the Dolphins. In five career games against Buffalo’s AFC East rival, Taylor has 1,232 passing yards, nine touchdowns, and no interceptions.

Drake ditched: Kenyan Drake had a heck of a day in Orchard Park two weeks ago. Drake had 4.9 yards-per-carry for Miami, but for whatever reason, the Dolphins’ offense bailed on him quickly in the game despite his ability to carve up Buffalo’s 30th-ranked defense (126.7 yards-per-game). He could knock the Bills out of the playoffs by himself.

Put it away: If the Bills get ahead, they must start putting games away in the second half. For five-straight weeks, Buffalo has not scored a touchdown in the second half of a football game. That has to end today. The last time was in Los Angeles when Taylor replaced rookie Nathan Peterman after five interceptions in his first-ever half of NFL football.


Miami Dolphins RB Kanyan Drake — USA Today photo


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