The Miami Dolphins travel this weekend to face the Buffalo Bills at Highmark Stadium. This critical AFC East showdown will either tighten this race up considerably by the close of Sunday, or effectively seal it in Buffalo’s favor.
The Bills are currently rolling, having won four straight to reclaim first place and the top seed in the AFC. Everything is clicking for them right now. Meanwhile, the Dolphins have lost two straight to drop into second place. While Miami’s losses have come against solid teams in the 49ers and Chargers, quarterback Tua Tagovailoa has struggled considerably in recent weeks.
There will be plenty to watch on the field, but one factor that could play into this game is the weather. The weather is getting colder in Buffalo this week, and snow is expected on Saturday and Sunday. It won’t be enough to require moving the game like the Bills-Browns game in Week 11, but the elements will make life a little more difficult for both teams.
The question becomes how they handle it. And as the week moves along, they’re handling things in slightly different ways. The Dolphins have turned on the AC at their indoor practice facility, but that has only gotten it down into the 50s. It’s better than the 80s Miami is currently feeling, but it’s nothing like the low 30s and precipitation the team will face in Buffalo.
Dolphins head coach Mike McDaniel has decided to approach this from a mental perspective. He was spotted at practice on Tuesday wearing a tshirt that said “I wish it were colder.” After practice, he talked about not letting the elements matter more to you than your opponent.
Mind over matter? Dolphins HC Mike McDaniel wearing a "I wish it were colder" shirt. The team also cranked down the temp in their indoor practice facility as they get ready for Saturday night's game in Buffalo. McDaniel also gives his thoughts on cracking the cold here. pic.twitter.com/60rlZB26LD— Clay Ferraro (@ClayWPLG) December 14, 2022
Then you have the Bills. They’re practicing outdoors in weather that has been in the high 30s during the week, but also features a mix of snow, sleet, and rain. Straight snow is one thing, but when you start mixing in freezing rain, that takes things to another level.
On Wednesday, Bills defensive end Shaq Lawson went with a slightly different approach to the cold than Mike McDaniel.
Warm weather teams face some disadvantage heading into the cold, but when you get into freezing cold weather with precipitation, I don’t know that anybody really has a great advantage. We hear regularly about the Packers hosting cold weather games at Lambeau Field, but each of the past three years, they’ve been eliminated at home in January. It comes down to what the opposing team brings to the table on the field.
That being said, it’s a bold move by Mike McDaniel to tempt the weather fates!