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Bills defense ready for challenge Dolphins' prolific offense presents

Even before the Dolphins dropped 70 points on the Broncos in Week 3, most everyone knew the storyline of their Week 4 contest would still revolve around Miami's offense.

It's been the talk of the league. Week 3 only increased the volume -- unless you exist in Western New York.

Bills head coach Sean McDermott has paid plenty of respect to Miami's offense this week, even going so far as calling Mike McDaniel's schematics "almost revolutionary." But his players have bristled at the idea that they might not do so well against Miami's explosive attack, especially without veteran Von Miller, who is out at least the first four games of the season while still recovering from a torn ACL.

"I think it's a joke. Like, one person doesn't make our D-line," defensive tackle Jordan Phillips said on Wednesday, via The Associated Press. "Von's a Hall of Famer. He's a great player. He makes us better. But we all have one beat of a drum, not just his drum."

So far, that drum beat has proven to be rather effective. Through three weeks, the Bills rank first in opposing passer rating, second in points allowed per game and total yards allowed, and third in passing yards per game. They lead the NFL with nine takeaways, proving to be an opportunistic bunch that has made the going easier for Buffalo's offense, leading to consecutive runaway victories.

Miami, meanwhile, ranks first in points, total yards, passing yards and passer rating. Talk about a clash of titans.

Buffalo has done so without Miller in the lineup, instead relying on a group led by Leonard Floyd, who already has 3.5 sacks to his name in 2023. But he's far from alone: Seven different Bills defenders have registered at least one sack in 2023, tying for the most in the NFL, and Buffalo is tied for second as a defense with 12 quarterback takedowns.

Recent history has told us that when Miller teams with Floyd, good things usually come from the pairing. The last time that happened, Miller joined a team with which Floyd was already thriving in Los Angeles, where the two earned a ring with the Super Bowl LVI champion Rams. This time around, Floyd followed Miller to Buffalo, arriving as a potential solution in a season in which the Bills knew Miller likely wouldn't be available to play early in the campaign.

Right now, Floyd is operating without Miller. And it's working quite well for the Bills, so much that young edge rusher Gregory Rousseau went as far as claiming it is "damn near we got telekinesis out there."

"A lot of confidence," Rousseau said, per The AP. "I'm as confident in this group as I've been in my career. And it's only going to get more scary when we got Von back. So we have to keep building."

The numbers suggest Buffalo is doing just fine without Miller. They'll receive quite a test from Miami on Sunday in a rivalry that could end up determining who emerges as AFC East champion. And for those who are siding with the popular pick through three weeks (and thus, doubting Buffalo's defensive abilities without Miller), McDermott had a message on Wednesday.

"I think they heard a lot about how they didn't do X, Y and Z from you guys," McDermott said. "So you guys keep talking about that, and maybe that'll motivate them even more. We'll see."

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