Miami Dolphins vs. Buffalo Bills Pick & Prediction JANUARY 15th 2023

Stadium: Ralph Wilson Stadium Orchard Park
Logo Miami Dolphins
Logo Buffalo Bills

43.5o -110
-14 +105



The No. 7 seed Miami Dolphins are preparing to start seventh-round draft pick Skylar Thompson at quarterback for their first playoff game since 2016 when they face the second-seeded Buffalo Bills on Sunday afternoon in Orchard Park, N.Y.

Tua Tagovailoa remains in concussion protocol, his third stint there this season, and has been ruled out. Teddy Bridgewater could return this week from a dislocated pinkie finger on his throwing hand provided he has no setbacks, according to Dolphins coach Mike McDaniel.

Thompson completed 20 of 31 passes for 152 yards in last week's 11-6 win over the New York Jets that locked up the Dolphins' playoff spot. In seven appearances (two starts) in the regular season, he completed 57.1 percent of his passes with one touchdown and three interceptions.

"I feel like I got a pretty good feel for what a playoff game kind of would look like just last week," Thompson told reporters. "It was a win-or-go-home-type of situation for us, so getting to experience kind of what that felt like last week I think was helpful. This week is just going to be like any other week for me this entire season."

Miami Dolphins vs. Buffalo Bills Picks

He faces the tall task of leading Miami against division-rival Buffalo, which ended the regular season on a seven-game winning streak and will be riding an emotional high from the latest positive news about safety Damar Hamlin, who suffered a cardiac event in a Week 17 game against the Cincinnati Bengals.

Hamlin was discharged from a Buffalo hospital Wednesday after passing a series of cardiac, neurological and vascular tests. Hamlin has returned home to continue recovering with his family at his side.

Bills coach Sean McDermott said that the Bills are looking forward to welcoming Hamlin back whenever he feels ready.

"For us, as Damar's dad has said to us multiple times and Damar has mentioned as well, they want us to go do our job and that's what we've got to do," McDermott said Wednesday.

In their first game since Hamlin's cardiac arrest, the Bills returned the opening kickoff for a touchdown, one of Nyheim Hines' two return scores on the day, and they defeated the New England Patriots 35-23.

The Bills and Dolphins split their season series, with the Dolphins winning 21-19 in Miami during Week 3 and the Bills prevailing 32-29 in Buffalo during Week 15, though Tagovailoa played both games for the Dolphins.

Josh Allen had 400 passing yards in the loss to Miami and threw for four touchdowns in the victory. He's 8-2 in his career against Miami, a team that ranked second in the NFL this season in blitz rate.

"They bring a variety of pressures ... You've got to go in with a really good plan, whether it's blocking it up or getting the ball out quick," Allen said.

Miami Dolphins vs. Buffalo Bills Odds

A Super Bowl favorite since the offseason, the Bills had an impressive year, featuring the second-ranked scoring offense (28.4 points per game) and the second-best scoring defense (17.9 points allowed). Allen threw for 35 touchdowns and ran for another seven as the team's second-leading rusher (762 yards) behind Devin Singletary (819).

The Dolphins, who last won a playoff game in 2000, started the season 8-3, with the addition of Tyreek Hill (119 catches, 1,710 yards, seven TDs) boosting the offense before Tagovailoa's head injuries interrupted his availability.

Miami's injury woes run much deeper than the quarterback position.

Leading rusher Raheem Mostert (891 yards) has a broken thumb. He didn't practice Wednesday, nor did linebacker Bradley Chubb (ankle, hand) or offensive linemen Terron Armstead (toe, pec, knee, hip), Liam Eichenberg (hand), Kendall Lamm (ankle) and Brandon Shell (knee, ankle).

Backup Miami running back Jeff Wilson Jr. (illness) and wideouts Jaylen Waddle (ankle) and Cedrick Wilson Jr. (hip, groin) were limited, as was Bridgewater, who has an ailing knee along with his finger.

For the Bills, defensive tackle Jordan Phillips (shoulder) did not practice Wednesday. Wide receiver Isaiah McKenzie (hamstring) was limited.

--Field Level Media

Miami Dolphins
Buffalo Bills

Miami Dolphins vs. Buffalo Bills Recap JAN 15TH 2023

Josh Allen threw three touchdown passes and the Buffalo defense stood firm in the fourth quarter as the Bills defeated the visiting Miami Dolphins 34-31 in an AFC wild-card game Sunday in Orchard Park, N.Y.

The second-seeded Bills forced the Dolphins into a fourth-and-1 near midfield late in the game. Miami took too long getting to the line of scrimmage to snap the ball, causing a delay-of-game penalty, and Skylar Thompson threw incomplete on fourth-and-6.

The seventh-seeded Dolphins were out of timeouts. Buffalo running back Devin Singletary reached the line to gain on third-and-7 to ensure the result.

Buffalo eliminated Miami and will host a divisional-round game next weekend as its players and fans continue to be inspired by Damar Hamlin. The Bills' safety watched Sunday's game from home as he continues to recover from a cardiac arrest he suffered on the field against Cincinnati on Jan. 2.

Allen went 23-for-39 passing for 352 yards and had three total giveaways vs. the Dolphins. Stefon Diggs caught seven passes for 114 yards, and Gabe Davis had six for 113 and a touchdown.

Thompson, a rookie quarterback starting for Miami in place of the injured Tua Tagovailoa and Teddy Bridgewater, finished 18-for-45 for 220 yards, a touchdown and two interceptions.

The Bills led 17-3 during the second quarter, but two interceptions and a lost fumble by Allen allowed the Dolphins to surge ahead shortly after halftime.

In the first half, Xavien Howard made a fingertip interception on a deep pass and returned it 49 yards into Buffalo territory. Miami converted a fourth down to get into field-goal range, and Jason Sanders connected from 48 yards with 2:15 left.

The Dolphins then forced a three-and-out, and Cedrick Wilson Jr. returned the punt 50 yards, setting up Sanders' third field goal of the day, from 37 yards, with 1:15 on the clock.

Allen targeted Cole Beasley on the ensuing drive, and the ball bounced off his hands to Jevon Holland, who returned it 29 yards to the Buffalo 18. Thompson found Mike Gesicki for a 7-yard touchdown and completed another pass to Hill for the game-tying two-point conversion.

With 33 seconds to spare, the Bills drove downfield, and Stefon Diggs appeared to haul in a touchdown down the left side of the end zone, but he didn't have complete control before stepping out of bounds and officials would not review it. The hectic half ended with Bass' 39-yard field goal for a 20-17 Buffalo lead.

On Buffalo's first play on offense of the second half, Eric Rowe blitzed Allen and jarred the ball loose. Zach Sieler returned it 5 yards for a touchdown, giving Miami its first lead at 24-20.

After Kaiir Elam intercepted a Thompson pass, Buffalo capitalized with Beasley's 6-yard touchdown catch. The extra point made it 27-24 Bills with 5:18 left in the third.

Gabe Davis added a 23-yard catch in the back-left corner of the end zone to restore the Bills' double-digit lead, 34-24, with 2:07 left in the third. The Dolphins traveled 75 yards on their next drive, and Wilson scored from 1 yard to cut the deficit to three with 10:53 to play, but they could not get closer.

--Field Level Media