NFL wild-card playoffs: What do the Bills and the Dolphins need to defeat the other?

This weekend’s NFL wild-card games feature some exciting matchups, so let’s take a closer look at each game, concentrating on certain factors that can aid clubs in moving on to the divisional round.

We can get a better sense of how coaching staffs will plan for personnel, game circumstance, and coverage based on what we’ve seen so far and with some assistance from the numbers.

How the Miami Dolphins can beat the Buffalo Bills

Given that Teddy Bridgewater is doubtful and Tua Tagovailoa is out, this will be difficult for Miami.

Thompson, a rookie selected in the seventh round, will soon make his second straight start. In order to make things easier for Thompson, coach Mike McDaniel must develop more rhythm throws for him. To try to influence the Bills’ split-safety looks, one option is to target specific timing windows that are helpful to the timing of plays.

In Week 18’s game against the Jets, Thompson completed 17 of 25 throws while facing zone coverage, while more than 69% of his dropbacks involved split-safety coverage.

Consider three-level reads into the boundary with spacing strategies that compel defenders to broaden their drops from below in order to open that window for the quarterback. Thompson must receive simple throws from the Dolphins.

The Dolphins play a lot of man-free and Cover 3 defense, which is a single-high safety coverage. As was evident in their Week 15 head-to-head meeting in Buffalo, where Allen went 12-of-15 with the help of deep overs, in-breakers, and play-action concepts, Bills offensive coordinator Ken Dorsey had solutions for zone coverage.

Allen’s statistics declined as the Dolphins responded in the second half with increased man coverage; he only completed 5 of 13 passes in man-to-man coverage. Depending on the circumstances of the game, Miami must employ some zone looks, but it should play man-to-man the majority of the time.

How the Buffalo Bills can beat the Miami Dolphins

Dorsey will undoubtedly have a comprehensive game plan for his passing offense. However, keep an eye out for the look route, also known as a skinny post, which features wide receiver Stefon Diggs in a condensed split.

The natural openings in Miami’s single-high coverages can be exploited by the Bills. This allows Allen to lure those second-level defenders downhill before launching a rocket ball to Diggs when he breaks inside by throwing off play-action and RPOs. When the Bills enter the field’s red zone, the glance route is one of their top concepts.

In that game in December, Allen completed 9 of 13 play-action/RPOs. When he finds his rhythm, he can be difficult to stop.

Tyreek Hill cannot receive a free release off the ball from the Bills. This is when cornerback Tre’Davious White aligns in a press stance to match versus Hill on the backside of trips, whether they are in zone, Quarters/Cover 3, or man-free coverage.

Yes, in a one-on-one matchup with White for a touchdown in Week 15, Hill prevailed over the top. Thrown in the high red zone, it was a fade. Buffalo must regularly attack Hill with defenders in a position to reroute him at the line of scrimmage in order to alter the timing of the play, particularly if Thompson is the quarterback.

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