Merry Christmas & Happy Holidays Bills fans! Welcome to Week 16, aka “Squish the Fish” part deux. In their 100th meeting, the Buffalo Bills look to squash Miami’s post-season hopes with a big Christmas win up in Orchard Park. While the weather won’t be the standard 20-degrees & blizzard fans have come to expect for late December games up in Western NY, this should have all the fanfare of a heated playoff match. Coach Doug Marrone has reassured fans all week that the Bills have much to play for today, including Thad Lewis’s opportunity to “cement the backup role“. Interestingly enough, in the first matchup of the season, Lewis looked more like a starter than rookie QB EJ Manuel has in most of his opportunities. QB controversy aside, here is what to expect in today’s game.
Emotions will be high. This is a given, with the history and nature of the Bills-Dolphins contests. Even with little more than pride and drafting position on the line, I do not expect the Bills to lay down and will give Miami a run for its money. Expect Mike Pettine to pull out all the stops, and players to play beyond themselves today, for potentially the first time all season.
Bubble players will step up. Similarly to the first expectation, 2nd and 3rd stringers, as well as some quieter starters, should step up today and make cases for their jobs next year. I don’t expect any miraculous performances by the Offensive Line, which may have been the dark spot on the team this year, but look for unlikely players to make plays today, especially from WR and DB groups.
The game will go down to the wire. Like the first match against the Dolphins, the Bills will keep this one close. Contrary to many “professional” analysts, I think this game will be decided by one touchdown or less. To on a further holiday limb, I think a late touchdown by one team will seal the deal.