The Going Nowhere But Home Bowl isn’t likely to do much to excite anyone at New Era Field, including those participating on the field. The Buffalo Bills found a way to blunder themselves out of chances to knock off a New England Patriots team begging for an upset last week. This week, being at least semi-competent should be enough to beat the Dolphins, who have the distinct disadvantage of traveling a long way to play a meaningless game in the cold. Bills, 17-10.
I can’t imagine the Dolphins are real excited to get on a plane and come to Buffalo for a meaningless season finale. The Bills, meanwhile, will be eager to get the sour taste out of their mouths after last week’s clunker against the Patriots. Let’s be real: A loss is better for both franchises with draft position on the line. The Bills’ front office and coaching staff would disagree with that, though, valuing the continued development of Josh Allen. The thinking here is the rookie quarterback ends 2018 on a high note. Bills, 24- 17.
The Dolphins are more banged up than the Bills. The Dolphins have more of a cloud of uncertainty hanging over them, given that this probably is the end of the line for quarterback Ryan Tannehill and the front office could be reshuffled. So I look for the Bills to demonstrate more belief in the mission, given they know Brandon Beane and Sean McDermott control their futures. And the Bills benefit from playing at home. Josh Allen produced 231 yards passing and 135 yards rushing against Miami four weeks ago. Let’s see him come close to or exceed those numbers. Bills, 24-17.
Allen set career highs with 135 rushing yards and two passing touchdowns in his first game against the Dolphins, but fell just short of pulling off the victory. The Dolphins are a different team on the road, where they’ve won just once this season. It’s not a stretch to believe the Bills could close 2018 on a positive note. But Buffalo’s three victories at home have been by five points combined, so the Bills giving 3 1/2 points seems a bit high. Bills, 17-16.
This seems like a merciful end to the season for the Bills, who have little to play for other than draft positioning and a sixth win. The Bills can finish the year on a bright note and win their fourth game in the last seven. About two months ago, that would have been unimaginable. Bills, 24-17.