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NFL Betting: Bills vs. Dolphins Thursday Night Preview

Posted by Stan Jenkins on 11/13/2014 5:29:34 PM

The Buffalo Bills and Miami Dolphins both endured very tough losses this past Sunday. They will both have to move forward very quickly and play a huge divisional game this Thursday night.

Buffalo Bills @ Miami Dolphins – Thursday, November 13

The Buffalo Bills and Miami Dolphins have had the bad luck of being stuck in the AFC East with the New England Patriots and Tom Brady, but that excuse can only go so far. What happens when Buffalo and Miami have to play teams other than the Patriots? There are 14 games a year against teams other than New England, and these two teams have not made the most of their other chances. Everyone in the NFL saw as much over the past weekend in two losses for these ballclubs.

The Dolphins had a lead over the Detroit Lions late in regulation. They had a chance to get three first downs to run out the clock and win the game. The offense failed to do that. Then, the defense failed to make a few plays. The Dolphins’ defense didn’t at least force the Lions to kick a tying field goal and force overtime, at 16-16. Miami’s defense gave way and allowed a last-minute touchdown, enabling Detroit to get a 20-16 victory. Miami lost a game to the Green Bay Packers in the last minute earlier this season. The Dolphins are not that strong in tense, 50-50 kinds of situations when the pressure of the game is at its height. This team still has to learn how to win, and what adds to this team’s troubles is the fact that offensive lineman Branden Albert, very possibly the team’s best and most consistent player, has been knocked out of the lineup with an injury. Missing him will hurt, and this offense gained only 228 yards against Detroit to begin with. Miami has a lot of problems on offense, and this points to a very close, low-scoring game on Thursday.

What will help the Dolphins is that the Bills are a mess on offense as well, but for different reasons. Buffalo fumbled three times against the Kansas City Chiefs this past weekend. The Bills had chances to gain a lead far bigger than the 13-3 lead they actually took into the fourth quarter. Had the Bills been able to make their lead 20-3, the Chiefs’ two late touchdowns wouldn’t have mattered, but accumulated mistakes held Buffalo back, and Kansas City took advantage.

Buffalo does not have a big-play offense. The Bills slowly move the ball down the field, and when they arrive at fourth-and-one kinds of situations, coach Doug Marrone typically punts and chooses to not trust his offense. He definitely did this against the Chiefs. Later in the game, Marrone did give his offense a chance to convert a fourth and 10 in the Chiefs’ red zone, but that only made his fourth-and-one decisions even more puzzling. Neither team has a good coach, and both offenses are struggling. What this means is that a five-point spread is way too big. Miami might win the game outright, but Buffalo should cover.

Pick: Bills +4

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