What to Expect from the Bills 2021 Opponents: AFC East

Jan 3, 2021; Orchard Park, New York, USA; Buffalo Bills wide receiver Andre Roberts (18) is tackled by Miami Dolphins cornerback Xavien Howard (25) after making a catch in the fourth quarter at Bills Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports
Jan 3, 2021; Orchard Park, New York, USA; Buffalo Bills wide receiver Andre Roberts (18) is tackled by Miami Dolphins cornerback Xavien Howard (25) after making a catch in the fourth quarter at Bills Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports /
facebooktwitterreddit
Prev
2 of 4
Next
Jan 3, 2021; Orchard Park, New York, USA; Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa (1) throws a pass against the Buffalo Bills during the fourth quarter at Bills Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports
Jan 3, 2021; Orchard Park, New York, USA; Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa (1) throws a pass against the Buffalo Bills during the fourth quarter at Bills Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports /

Miami Dolphins

2020 Finish: 10-6 (3-3 in AFC East)

2020 Games vs. the Buffalo Bills: Week 2: 31-28, Week 17: 56-26 (lost both)

The Miami Dolphins were one of many teams in the AFC that far exceeded expectations in 2020. Miami’s defense was one of the best in the league in 2020; they allowed just 21.1 points per game, good for 6th in the NFL.

MIami forced the most turnovers in the league last year, forcing 29 in total. Miami did not lose much on defense in free agency. It is likely that the unit will again be one of the best in the league in 2021.

On offense, the Dolphins improved slightly. They upgraded their underwhelming wide receiver core this offseason, signing Will Fuller V from Houston in free agency, and selecting Alabama standout Jaylen Waddle 6th overall in the 2021 NFL Draft.

Miami’s running backs leave a lot to be desired, as the best backs they have are Myles Gaskin and Malcolm Brown, who combined for less than a thousand yards rushing a season ago.

The most intriguing storyline for Miami going into the 2021 season is how Tua Tagovailoa will play in his second season as a pro. Tagovailoa completed a solid 64.1 percent of his passes and threw only five interceptions in 2020. However, those numbers do not tell the entire story.

Tagovailoa averaged just 181.4 yards per game and just 6.3 yards per pass attempt, the latter ranking 30th in the league. Tagovailoa was also bailed out by Ryan Fitzpatrick multiple times towards the end of the season, notably in their week 16 win over the Las Vegas Raiders. Given the additions to the receiving core, regression or stagnation in Tagovailoa’s development should be cause for concern.

The Dolphins were the biggest competition in the AFC East for the Buffalo Bills in 2020, that won’t change in 2021. The matchups will be competitive, but Buffalo should be able to win one, if not both games against Miami. Sean McDermott is 7-1 against the Dolphins in his career.