The Buffalo Bills will be shorthanded on defense when they face the Miami Dolphins in Miami Gardens, Fla., in an early-afternoon matchup of 2-0 teams in the AFC East.
Safety Jordan Poyer, cornerback Dane Jackson and defensive tackles Ed Oliver and Jordan Phillips all are on the Bills’ inactive list. Safety Micah Hyde was placed on the injured reserve list Saturday, and his agent, Jack Bechta, wrote on Twitter that Hyde will miss the remainder of the season because of his neck injury.
So the Bills will have an inexperienced, seemingly vulnerable secondary on the field when they face the Dolphins’ revved-up passing game led by quarterback Tua Tagovailoa and wide receivers Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle. But, judging by the number of Bills fans shown to be on hand Saturday in South Florida, it might have the feel of being a home-away-from-home game.
Tailback JK Dobbins is active and expected to play for the Baltimore Ravens in their early-afternoon game against the New England Patriots in Foxborough, Mass.
Dobbins is poised to make his return after missing all of last season and the first two games of this season because of a knee injury.
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Tua Tagovailoa and Lamar Jackson staged an entertaining quarterbacking duel last week in Baltimore, as Tagovailoa’s Miami Dolphins rallied from a 21-point deficit in the fourth quarter to beat Jackson’s Ravens.
Both of those quarterbacks and their teams are right back in the Sunday spotlight, participating in highly intriguing Week 3 matchups. The Dolphins host the Buffalo Bills in an AFC East meeting between 2-0 teams. The Ravens face the New England Patriots at Foxborough, Mass., with the loser of that game falling into an early-season predicament at 1-2.
The third Sunday of the NFL’s regular season also will bring a clash of legendary quarterbacks, with Tom Brady vs. Aaron Rodgers playing a late-afternoon game in Tampa.
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The Bills-Dolphins and Ravens-Patriots games are part of the early-afternoon slate. The Bills have lived up to their reputation thus far as the league’s Super Bowl favorite. They’ve beaten the Los Angeles Rams, the defending Super Bowl champs, and the Tennessee Titans, last season’s No. 1 AFC playoff seed, by a combined margin of 72-17.
Now they must go on the road to play a warm-weather game on a short workweek against a promising Dolphins team with a revved-up passing game. Tagovailoa threw for 469 yards and six touchdowns in last Sunday’s 42-38 triumph over the Ravens.
“We were executing on all cylinders offensively,” Tagovailoa said after that game. “And then when there were times where we didn’t execute, no one panicked. Everyone just came back into the huddle and we regrouped.”
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The Dolphins overcame deficits of 28-7 at halftime and 35-14 in the fourth quarter. They scored 28 points in the game’s final 13 minutes, and Coach Mike McDaniel began his postgame news conference by asking, “Is anyone else tired?”
The Ravens renew their sometimes-spirited rivalry with the Patriots as they try to get back into the win column. Jackson is coming off a brilliant performance against the Dolphins. He became the first quarterback in NFL history to have a touchdown pass and a touchdown run of at least 75 yards each in the same game.
“There are challenges every week,” Patriots coach Bill Belichick said at midweek. “But certainly the Ravens have a lot of them with the quarterback, his passing game, the running game, his ability to make elusive extended plays, the explosiveness of their receivers and tight ends and him.”
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Belichick even drew chuckles when he was asked whether Jackson has answered the questions about his pocket-passing abilities that he faced entering the NFL.
“Without a doubt,” Belichick said. “He’s the type of player that’s an MVP type of candidate. I think he’s more than answered it. Wait and see what his contract is. That’ll answer it.”
Brady and Rodgers will square off for the fifth time in their highly decorated careers. Brady has won three of the four meetings to date.
Brady has thrown for a modest 402 yards in two games this season but the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, led by their defense, are off to a 2-0 start. Rodgers’s Green Bay Packers are 1-1, having regrouped to beat the Chicago Bears at home last Sunday following a season-opening loss at Minnesota.
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