Among the slate of games in the final week of the regular season, the 12-3 Buffalo Bills will host the 10-5 Miami Dolphins. The Dolphins control their own destiny and can make the playoffs with a win, while the division champion Bills can clinch the two-seed in the AFC with a victory on Sunday.
Here is a closer look at both teams leading up to their matchup, along with betting trends and a free pick. Buffalo is currently a three-point favorite at home.
The Dolphins used a little magic on Sunday; when down by two with only 19 seconds to go, they drove down the field and kicked a 44-yard field goal to beat the Raiders 26-25 in Las Vegas. That game was their fourth win in five weeks, but more importantly, it kept them in control of their playoff destiny among the five total AFC teams sitting at 10-5 and vying for a playoff spot.
A victory for Miami would clinch the No. 5 seed and a date with the AFC South champions in the Wild Card round; otherwise, they will need some help to get in.
Whether it's Ryan Fitzpatrick or Tua Tagovailoa at quarterback, Miami's offense is averaging 25.2 points per game, 15th in the NFL. But they're just 25th in both passing yards and total yards per game while ranking 22nd in rushing yards per game. Their 40 percent success rate on third down is also ranked 24th.
However, no team allows fewer than Miami's 18.8 points against per game, while the Dolphins' third-down defense is also the best in the NFL. Yardage leaves a little to be desired, though, as they rank just 20th with just under 385 total yards allowed per game. But the Dolphins are one of just 10 teams with 40 or more sacks, and are tied for second with 16 interceptions as a team.
The Bills capped off their fifth win in a row in style, destroying the rival Patriots 38-9 in Foxborough on Monday Night Football. Now, at 12-3, Buffalo can finish as high as the No. 2 seed in the AFC, thanks to their head-to-head victory against the Steelers in Week 14. We'll see how much of an incentive that plays for Buffalo, as even a loss and a Steeler win would still net them the three-seed and a home playoff game.
Quarterback Josh Allen has elevated his play in his third year and is now in the MVP conversation, while wide receiver Stefon Diggs is the league leader in receiving yards. Those two lead a Buffalo offense that averages 29.7 points per game, sixth in the NFL, and one that ranks inside the top-five in total yards. In addition, they also boast the second-most passing yards per game and have the league's best third-down conversion rate of 50.3 percent.
On the other side, the Bills give up 23.3 points per game, 14th in the NFL, while finishing just outside the top-10 in yards allowed. They are 20th against the run but a solid eighth against the pass as well. As a team, Buffalo has managed to accumulate 37 sacks to go along with 12 interceptions with one game to go in the regular season.
Starting with the visitors, the 10-5 Dolphins are an impressive 11-5 ATS. But they're just 4-3 ATS on the road, a slight downgrade from their 5-2 record as the road team. Miami has covered in nine of their last 11 games, winning nine of those games as well, and are 8-2 ATS in their previous 10 AFC games. But they have just one win in their last seven games against Buffalo.
Speaking of Buffalo, the 12-3 Bills are 10-5 ATS. They're also 5-2 ATS at home, 6-1 overall. One of the hottest teams in football, Buffalo has covered in each of their last seven games while winning their past six games against AFC opponents. However, they're only 2-5 ATS in their last seven divisional games, with five of those games coming this season.
When these teams went head-to-head in Week 2, Allen threw for a then-career-high 417 passing yards with four touchdowns, as the Bills won 31-28. But the Dolphins have improved mightily since then, allowing more than 31 points just once during the season.
This game will depend on how many players the Bills decide to sit, so an accurate prediction is difficult to make until we know that. But for now, I'll lean with Buffalo taking a conservative approach and Miami winning this game to clinch their spot in the postseason.
Betting Pick: Miami Dolphins (+3).