Buffalo Bills vs. Miami Dolphins
Date and Time: Sunday, December 31, 2017, 4:25 p.m. ET
Location: Hard Rock Stadium, Miami, FL
Opening NFL Odds: Bills -2.5
Dolphins vs. Bills TV Coverage: CBS
The Bills are clearly going to be the more-motivated team in this game with the Dolphins formally getting eliminated from playoff contention on Christmas Eve.
The path to the postseason might be grim, but at least the Bills are still on it. Both Tyrod Taylor and Sean McDermott deserve a lot of credit for that.
McDermott will be back in Buffalo next year, but we're not sure we can say the same for Taylor. The Bills can save almost $10 million against the cap by letting him go in the offseason, and though there isn't an heir apparent on the roster that we can see, Buffalo can probably do more with that money.
Though Taylor has thrown for 2,595 yards and 13 touchdowns against just four interceptions, his game against New England last week showed why he's probably never winning a Super Bowl. He was just far too cautious with the ball and took very few chances. The Bills never scored an offensive touchdown in the affair, and that's why they were ultimately blown out in a game that should have been significantly closer.
This could end up being Jay Cutler's final game in the NFL as well. Cutler almost never did get a job this year, and he clearly has no future in Miami unless the Fins inexplicably cut bait with the injured Ryan Tannehill.
Cutler, to his credit, didn't play all that poorly this year. He completed 62.1 percent of his passes and will likely finish just shy of a 3,000-yard campaign. Sure, he tossed 14 picks in 13 games, but he also threw 19 touchdowns. What more could you reasonably expect out of a man who has had a career chock full of ups and downs?
At least the Fins seem to have a motivated team at the moment. They aren't winning, but there isn't any sign of giving up either. After Buffalo took care of business when these two teams met two weeks ago, Miami would love to return the favor and knock the Bills out of the playoffs once and for all.
If you haven't seen the Travaris Cadet injury yet, do yourself a favor and don't watch it. You'll just have to trust us when we say that it was gruesome.
Cadet is obviously landing on injured reserve this week, and that's a bigger blow to the Bills than you might think. LeSean McCoy is obviously the primary back in this backfield, but without Cadet out there, he might literally never be able to come off of the field.
Mike Tolbert is still around and will surely steal a rep or two here or there. That said, the veteran had just three carries for -3 yards against New England last week and really hasn't had any meaningful impact in quite some time.
It's Shady or bust in Buffalo at this point, and that's a dangerous proposition.
Bills vs. Dolphins Free Picks
The Bills have been barely holding on for a while now, but we think they're going to be bounced from the playoffs here. They didn't play all that well a couple weeks ago in a 24-16 victory, and this game is going to be played in a much cleaner environment than in the ridiculous winds and flurries in Orchard Park. That's definitely more of an advantage to Miami.
The Dolphins have a few players who really have a lot to prove here at the end of the season, notably all of their receivers. Heck, if Cutler actually has his sights set on playing somewhere in 2018, this could be a huge game for him, too.
It almost feels a little insulting by the top NFL sportsbooks that the Dolphins, after beating both Denver and New England at home to start December, are dogs in this game.
NFL ATS Pick: Dolphins +2.5 at BookMaker.eu
NFL Score Prediction: Dolphins 28, Bills 21