Two weeks ago, the Miami Dolphins were favored on the road against the Indianapolis Colts. Now they're an underdog on the road against the Buffalo Bills. From both a betting and straight-up perspective, no one has a clue what to make of this team.
On "Hard Knocks," the Dolphins seemed like a disaster in waiting. Then a three-game winning streak in October put them in position to contend for a wild-card berth. And then came the loss to the Colts, followed by a 34-point drubbing at home at the hands of the Tennessee Titans.
The biggest reason the Dolphins are so confounding is rookie quarterback Ryan Tannehill. Suppose we redid the 2012 draft today with all the information that we now have at our disposal. There's no doubt that the top two picks would be the same: Andrew Luck would go to the Colts, and Robert Griffin III would be a Redskin. Would Tannehill go third to the Cleveland Browns, a team that needed a quarterback in the 2012 draft? I don't know. When it comes to quarterbacks, it's typically clearer.
ESPN Insider Chris Sprow took a look at Tannehill last month and was impressed with the start of his career.
The Bills, meanwhile, are well on their way to continuing one of the most improbable and sad runs in sports by missing the playoffs for the 13th straight year. Their last playoff game was the Music City Miracle -- when Bill Clinton was president. The league is set up to create as much parity as possible, yet the Bills have had only one winning season (9-7 in 2004) this century.
According to ESPN Insider's PickCenter, fans have shown solid support for the Bills at the essentially pick 'em line. The Bills almost beat the New England Patriots on the road last week while the Dolphins put forth possibly the worst performance in the league, so you know how the always reactionary public is going to assess the game.
Miami Dolphins at Buffalo Bills
Spread:Opened at pick 'em; now Bills minus-2.5
Total: Opened at 45; now 45.5