Covert Third Downs
All year long the Bills and Brian Daboll’s offense has been the model of efficiency on third downs. The Bills lead the league in converting on 3rd downs, and this has been a large part of overall team success this season. The Bills have had 177 attempts converting on 3rd down this season and they have been successful 50.3% of the time so far this season.
What’s interesting about this Week 17 matchup against the Dolphins is that their defense is best in the league in regards to stopping their opponents from converting on third down. The Dolphins defense has had 176 attempts at stopping their opposition from converting on 3rd down and they have only allowed conversions on 30.7% of those attempts.
Back in their first matchup this season, the Bills converted 5 of their 10 3rd down attempts, aligning with their conversion rate on the season and surpassing the Dolphins’ rate of allowing 3rd down conversions. With that being said, the Dolphins’ defense and their team as a whole has improved greatly since that Week 2 matchup.
Although the matchup to watch is the Bills’ offense versus the Dolphins’ defense, the opposite will be equally as impactful to the final outcome of this game. In order to get the Bills’ offense back on the field, the Bills’ defense will have to do their best to stop the Dolphins’ offense on 3rd downs.
If the Bills can complete this key and the prior two keys to victory, their path to success in Week 17 should be very attainable. Ultimately, the Bills can control their own destiny by winning this game and guarantee themselves the 2 seed in the AFC playoff picture, as well as potentially knock the Dolphins out of the playoffs entirely.