John: It's that part of the year where we get to these Thursday games and they don't feature teams are that enticing. In this week's Dolphins at Bills matchup we're getting two teams that are probably not going to make the playoffs. For them to get there they have to go on an amazing run to end the season and I doubt they are capable of that.
Next Thursday is American Thanksgiving, so there are three games to pick.
This is also the last week where teams get a bye. We're getting close to the home stretch.
As always I'm joined by Bret Clev and Mike Maloney to break down tonight's game.
Standings after Week 10 (Straight Up)
John 97-48-1 .669 (Last Week 9-4-1)
Mike 94-51-1 .648 (10-3-1)
Bret 93-52-1 .641 (8-5-1)
The impressive season of picks continues. I know we're all pleased with where we are although I'm sure Mike and Bret want to pass me. Not going to happen!
Miami (4-5) at Buffalo (3-6) 8:20 PM ET
Bret: Very strange game for Miami last week. They started with a few bad luck drives. I thought they would still pull it out, but instead they just completely fell apart. That's not a good sign for a team that was trending down anyway.
I'm throwing the results of last week out though - Miami simply got away from their game plan. If you take that away, Miami remains a team that's tough to run on, and you're going to have to make deep plays in the passing game - and I still don't trust Buffalo to do that.
Buffalo continues to baffle defensively - I have no idea how that much talent in the front 7 remains so soft.
Miami has come back to Earth offensively, but I still think the coaching staff in Miami is solid enough to put together a winning program.
If Miami goes down early, they'll have trouble getting back in this game, but I expect them to manage this one better. Miami 24 Buffalo 21
I'm also taking Miami +2.5 as part of my best bets in Friday's column. Even better if it hits +3 before game time.
Mike: I give up trying to figure out Miami. They seemed to have all the makings of the "good" bad team, the team that will end up finishing around 9-7 or 8-8, can take care of business against the bad teams, but can't hang with the good teams. Then they go and can't score points against a Colts defense that likes to give up points, and then last week get absolutely blown out of the water by the Titans. So is Tennessee starting to figure things out or is Miami just in a bit of a tailspin? I have no idea.
So naturally they get thrown into a Thursday night game against a divisional opponent who also seems mired in inconsistency. In theory Miami should be able to control this game on the ground, but I thought they would do that against Indy and Tennessee and that didn't really happen at all. Instead, it may be Fred Jackson and CJ Spiller who can control the ground game given how Chris Johnson looked against the Dolphins last week. I'm going to go with Buffalo mostly because they've just been playing better as of late, but honestly I have no clue what's going to happen in this game and I would never bet on it in a million years. So that's my official prediction: Just stay away. Buffalo 20 Miami 14
John: I like to pat myself on the back when I write these picks sometimes, but when it comes to the Bills I just can't do that. I picked them to make the playoffs before the year. Oops. I thought their defense had improved to the point that they could be a threat in the AFC. Nope. They still suck. They've lost five of their last six with their only win coming against Arizona in overtime. They can score points, but with their run defense giving up a league worst 163.7 yards per game it's tough for them to win games.
The Dolphins had momentum. They were at 4-3 with some hope for the playoffs. Then they lost a close game to the Colts and then they got destroyed by the Titans at home last week. That's the NFL we know. Two weeks ago you're a playoff threat. Now they're probably picking in the top 15 of the draft, which is a familiar place for them. Do they have the kind of team to win five of the last seven to finish the year at 9-7? Don't think so. They're too inconsistent.
Where do I lean with a pick? Neither team has any momentum, nor are they playing that well. I expect the Bills to run the ball fairly well since RB CJ Spiller can be an elite back and since Fred Jackson is out they might give him 20 carries for a change. That will help the offense. But can they stop anybody? Not sure about that.
I'm going with the Dolphins because I think that when it counts they are more likely to stop the Bills than the other way around. I'm not a fan of the Dolphins benching RB Reggie Bush last week after he fumbled, but at least he'll be very fresh for this game. Hopefully he can redeem himself especially for my fantasy team that's in a tight playoff race. I don't think the Bills should be too much trouble for Dolphins rookie QB Ryan Tannehill, who has fared well against bad defenses.
The game may not mean much, but the offenses can put up some points so in that sense it has a chance to be entertaining. I'm trying to be positive here. Dolphins 27-20
Thanks for reading. We'll see you again on Friday for the rest of this week's games.
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