Setting the Stage for the Dolphins-Bills Week 2 Matchup

Breaking down all the details for the Miami Dolphins home opener at Hard Rock Stadium with a prediction
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The Miami Dolphins will look to make it to 2-0 on the 2021 season when they face the Buffalo Bills in their home opener at Hard Rock Stadium on Sunday. In the process, they'll be looking to end a five-game losing streak in the series.

Here's all the pertinent info for this Week 2 Dolphins-Bills matchup:

DATE: Sunday, Sept. 19

TIME: 1 p.m. ET

SITE: Hard Rock Stadium, Miami Gardens, Fla.

FORECAST (per AccuWeather): Mostly cloudy with thunderstorms from 1-2 p.m. and intermittent clouds from 2-4 p.m. with temperatures between 84-88 degrees during those three hours and winds of 8-15 mph; chance of precipidation is 51 percent between 1-2 p.m. and 47 percent from 2-4 p.m.

TV: FOX

STREAMING: fuboTV

TV distribution: The game will be shown in Florida, part of New York State and most of Wyoming.

Announcers: Brandon Gaudin (play-by-play), Matt Millen (color analyst), Sarah Kustok (sideline)

SI Sportsbook betting line: Bills by 3.5 (over/under 47.5)

Final Injury Report:

Dolphins — WR Will Fuller V (non-injury-related/personal matter) is out; WR Preston Williams (foot/knee) is questionable

Bills — WR Gabriel Davis (ankle), DT Star Lotulelei (calf) and DE Efe Obada (calf) are questionable

Regular season series history: Dolphins lead 60-50-1 (including playoffs)

Last five meetings:

Jan. 3, 2021 at Buffalo; Bills 56, Dolphins 26

Sept. 20, 2020 at Miami; Bills 31, Dolphins 28

Nov. 17, 2019 at Miami: Bills 37, Dolphins 20

Oct. 20, 2019 at Buffalo; Bills 31, Dolphins 21

Dec. 30, 2018 at Buffalo; Bills 42, Dolphins 17

Dolphins' largest margin of victory: 38 (1970 at Miami; Dolphins 45, Bills 7)

Bills' largest margin of victory: 34 (1966 at Buffalo; Bills 58, Dolphins 24)

Highest-scoring matchup: 82 points (1966 at Buffalo; Bills 58, Dolphins 24)

Lowest-scoring matchup: 12 points (1983 at Buffalo; Bills 12, Dolphins 0)

Series highlights and notes: The Dolphins have faced each other in Week 2 of the regular season eight previous times, with each team winning four games. ... Dan Marino made his first NFL start against the Bills in October 1983. ... The Dolphins haven't reached 30 points in a game against Buffalo since their 34-31 overtime victory in 2016.

Former Bills coaches with the Dolphins:

Co-offensive coordinator/running backs coach Eric Studesville, special teams coordinator Danny Crossman, assistant strength and conditioning coach Jim Arthur

Former Dolphins players with the Bills:

RB Matt Breida (2020), P Matt Haack (2017-20), practice squad G Jamil Dougas (2015-16)

Former Dolphins coaches with the Bills:

Offensive coordinator Brian Daboll

Other connections

Dolphins long-snapper Blake Ferguson is the brother of Bills long-snapper Reid Ferguson ... Dolphins assistant general manager Marvin Allen served as national scout for the Bills in 2017-18. ... Bills wide receiver Jake Kumerow is the son of Dolphins 1988 first-round pick Eric Kumerow and the nephew of Dolphins 1987 first-round pick John Bosa. ... Bills linebacker Tremaine Edmunds is the son of the former Dolphins Pro Bowl tight end Ferrell Edmunds.

DOLPHINS LAST 10 HARD ROCK STADIUM OPENERS

2020 — Bills 31, Dolphins 28

2019 — Ravens 59, Dolphins 10*

2018 — Dolphins 28, Titans 20*

2017 — Dolphins 16, Titans 10

2016 — Dolphins 30, Browns 24 (OT)

2015 — Bills 41, Dolphins 14

2014 — Dolphins 33, Patriots 20*

2013 — Dolphins 27, Falcons 23

2012 — Dolphins 35, Raiders 13

2011 — Patriots 38, Dolphins 24*

*-indicates season opener

BILLS SCOUTING REPORT

The Bills entered the season as a popular choice to repeat their success of 2020 or even represent the AFC in Super Bowl LVI, but they were handed a reality check in their opener against the Pittsburgh Steelers when they were handed a 23-16 loss at home. The Bills offense couldn't handle the Pittsburgh pass rush and looked nothing like the unit that was so dominant last season with MVP runner-up Josh Allen leading the way. There's still an awful lot of talent on that offense with Allen and a great group of wide receivers led by Stefon Diggs, and the defense bolstered the front four in the offseason by picking Gregory Rousseau and Boogie Basham in the first two rounds of the 2021 NFL draft.

THE BIGGEST REASON THE DOLPHINS WILL WIN ...

The formula for the Dolphins last season was evident again in the season-opening victory at New England, which was great situational defense coupled with timely plays on offense, and that figures to be the ticket to beating the Bills. The Dolphins are riding a streak of 23 consecutive games with a takeaway and it's difficult to envision a victory without a few more turnovers against Buffalo. The offense showed glimpses in the opener of what it could provide and certainly could lessen the pressure on the defense with a productive afternoon.

THE BIGGEST REASON THE DOLPHINS WILL LOSE ...

Let's face it, the Dolphins simply have had no answer for Josh Allen since he entered the NFL, even when he was an inconsistent passer as a rookie because he hurt them with his running (135 yards) in that first meeting in 2018. Quite simply, the Dolphins will lose this game if the defense can't find a way to slow down Allen and the offense, particularly if the offense can't match what Buffalo does.

FINAL DOLPHINS-BILLS PREDICTION

The perils of predicting NFL games came to light when we tried to guess the outcome of the Dolphins opener at New England and went with a projected 16-13 victory for New England. And New England was in position to pull out a 19-17 victory in the end, which would have made this prediction pretty close to being on target. We feel the need to mention that for those who are so quick to jump on wrong predictions. That out of the way, we'll say these two things as it pertains to the Dolphins-Bills matchup. Looking at the rosters objectively, it's tough to argue against the idea that Buffalo has the better overall talent and the Bills also have the extra motivation of avoiding an 0-2 start. There is, however, something quite unique about the Dolphins and their ability to get the job done in the end that makes it tricky to pick against them. In the final analysis, though, the Bills lost their opener because they flat-out couldn't protect Allen against Pittsburgh's four-man rush and it's really difficult to envision the Dolphins being able to duplicate that because they just don't have a pass rusher as good as T.J. Watt from the outside or as good as Cam Heyward from the inside. That means extra rushers have to be sent in, which leaves the back end more vulnerable against a great group of wide receivers. It's a tough matchup in that sense for the Dolphins, and why we simply can't predict a victory in the home opener. Bills 31, Dolphins 20.