ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (WKBW) — The Bills have the chance to finish the regular season with a 13-3 record for the first time since 1991 and clinch the second seed in the AFC playoffs with a win over the Dolphins.
Here are the predictions from the WKBW sports staff for Sunday's Week 17 game between the Bills and the Dolphins.
Heading into the playoffs as healthy as possible should be the Bills top priority. Yes, I know, a second home playoff game and the No. 2 seed would be great. But that won’t matter if an important starter is hurt in a relatively meaningless game against the Miami Dolphins.
Bills head coach Sean McDermott wouldn’t clarify this week what his team was planning, he only said they would do what’s best for the team. Personally, I think that’s sitting down the starters. We’ll find out what he thinks at 1:00 p.m.
While I do think we’ll see Allen and company for a few possessions, I’d be pretty surprised if they played the entire game. Last year in the season finale against the Jets, the starters played a few possessions and then sat down for the rest of the afternoon. I’d expect something similar against the Dolphins. Miami needs a win and the Bills need to be healthy.
Dolphins 23, Bills 17
Season record: 13-2
The Bills have an AFC East title to their name while the Dolphins just need a win to keep their season going. Two teams that have something to play for always makes an interesting scenario.
We know the Dolphins are starting Tua with Ryan Fitzpatrick on the COVID/Reserve list. We don’t know if Josh Allen will start and if he does, how long he’ll play. That goes for the rest of the Bills starters with the team having to juggle playing like it’s a “normal game” and playing with health and safety in mind with their most important game(s) ahead of them.
It’s so hard to predict this one not knowing what the Bills are going to do so I’m going to make a prediction as if the Bills starters will be playing at least an entire half.
The Bills have had 13 different players catch a TD pass this season, tying an NFL record. Sunday is the perfect opportunity to get that 14th if a few players are lining up that typically don’t.
Bills 24, Dolphins 17
Season record: 11-4
With nothing really to play for and a postseason destiny in the bag, this could go a number of ways for the Bills. But because they don’t have to win this game, I don’t think they will.
The biggest concern for me is that Miami is a possible opponent NEXT weekend. The coaching staff has to not just keep everyone healthy. They have to keep all their tricks in the bag in case they face the Dolphins a third time.
There’s no need to hit the panic button today. The Bills haven’t been in this position (to this extent) for decades. But if last season’s any indicator, starters that are dressed will play a series or a quarter at most.
Even a Dolphins loss is still more likely to lead them to the playoffs than not. But unless Tua Tagovailoa plays like he needs a “reliever” again, Miami should win this one.
Dolphins 20, Bills 17
Season record: 10-5