AFC East Preview: Battle of the Rookie QBs, Buffalo vs. Houston
It’s Week 9 for the NFL and in the AFC East it also means a bye week for two teams: the New England Patriots and the New York Jets.
For the Miami Dolphins, they’ll travel to the Midwest on a three-game win streak and have their talented rookie quarterback Ryan Tannehill play against fellow newbie Andrew Luck.
The Buffalo Bills will play the tough Houston Texans on their home field. Both teams are coming off bye weeks but this will be a tough one for the Bills.
Miami (4-3) vs. Indianapolis (4-3)
The Dolphins have won three in a row and have a little swagger. Their rookie quarterback and new coach are proving to be good choices and really, the same could be said of the Colts.
With their 4-3 records, a win could have playoff implications for the teams.
Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill went down last week against the New York Jets after a sack knocked him out. He is suffering from a bruised left knee and quadricep muscle. On Monday, an MRI didn’t show any structural problems and by Wednesday, he was back in practice, sharing reps with backup quarterback Matt Moore.
Last Sunday, Moore pinch hit for Tannehill and helped steer his team to the win. He went 11 for 19, 131 yards and one touchdown.
Tannehill is expected to play but if not, the experienced Moore will be ready.
He’ll be assisted by running back Reggie Bush, who vowed early in the season he would be a top league back; he has 112 carries, 499 yards and 13 touchdowns but the team’s running game has waned lately.
As for the Colts, Luck has lived up to his expectations. His 1,971 passing yards to-date with an average of 281.6 passing yards per game has him ranked at No. 9 in the league. Factor in his eight touchdowns and eight interceptions and you could say he’s having a good season.
He has connected well with veteran wide receiver Reggie Wayne and running back Donald Brown.
But the Colts have some injured players including former Dolphin cornerback Vontae Davis and rookie tight end Coby Fleener.
Can the Dolphins make it a fourth consecutive win? The bettors give them a slight edge at -1.5 with a 43.5 over/under.
Buffalo (3-4) vs. Houston (6-1)
After going on an undefeated run, Houston fell in Week 6 to the Green Bay Packers but it appears to be just a blip for the team.
The Texans are all about defense as they lead the league in 35.4 rushing attempts per game and an average of 140.9 yards to place them as No. 6 in the NFL.
Factor in beast defensive end J.J. Watt (the NFL leader in sacks at 9 1/2) and most teams don’t get excited going up against them.
But they are not without weaknesses. They only have 4.0 yards per carry — an area that will require running back Arian Foster to step up with improved performances aside from his league-leading rushing touchdowns.
Playing Buffalo may just be the ticket as the team has given up a league-high 176.9 rushing yards per game.
It’s not all doom and gloom for the Bills. With the return of top defensive player Mario Williams and former Texan player, the team is feeling a little optimistic even with the 197 rushing yards with four rushing touchdowns they gave up against the Tennessee Titans on Oct. 21.
They lost 35-34.
The Bills have found success with their running back duo of C.J. Spiller Fred Jackson; they average 150.3 yards running but this week could prove to be a tough one as the Texans only give up 83.0 rushing yards per game (No. 4 in the league).
Watt said of this week’s game via ESPN, “I think the biggest key to our success is we need to stop the run.”
History is on the Bills side when they play in Houston but this time, the bettors agree the Texans are still one of the top teams and give them -11.5 with a 47.5 over/under for the win.