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Bills blowout Dolphins in regular season finale, 56-26 (full coverage)

The Buffalo Bills trotted out most of their starters in the season finale against the Miami Dolphins on Sunday afternoon at Bills Stadium.

The offense started slow on their first few drives, likely to avoid anything tangible on tape for next week’s opponent in the Bills’ first home playoff game in 25 years.

Miami has held teams to just 18.8 points per game this season, but didn’t have a single answer for Josh Allen and the Bills offense once they started to attack. The Bills defeated the Dolphins, 56-26.

Allen threw for 224 yards and three touchdowns in just the first half before handing over the reigns to backup Matt Barkley. The Dolphins couldn’t stop Stefon Diggs, John Brown, and Isaiah McKenzie, who had a career day in the win.

The biggest takeaway from this game is that the Bills enter the playoffs as perhaps most dominant team in the field. They’ve won six games in a row and if not for the “Hail Murray” in the Arizona game, Buffalo would be 10-0 to finish the season.

The Bills went a perfect 6-0 against the AFC East this year, sweeping the division for the first time in franchise history. They finish at 13-3 for just the third time, tying a franchise record.

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With a win against the Patriots, the Bills have locked themselves into at least the No. 3 seed based off the New York Times playoff simulator. If Buffalo beats the Dolphins in Week 17, they will officially be the No. 2 seed. If the Bills lose to Miami, they need the Browns to beat the Steelers in order to remain the No. 2 spot. If Buffalo loses and Pittsburgh wins, the Steelers would take the No. 2 seed.

The million dollar question heading into Week 17 is play or rest the starters. Do you play the starters hoping for the No. 2 seed and no injuries? Or do you rest the starters and hope your backups can come through with a win? A win will guarantee the higher seed, but it’s not needed. Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin announced that backup quarterback Mason Rudolph will start against the Browns on Sunday. Tomlin said more starters may also sit, but he didn’t want to name any names yet.

With that in mind, it makes the argument to rest or play starters a bit more interesting. Bills head coach Sean McDermott said he has a plan, but that will stay within the team. McDermott did say Pittsburgh’s decision to rest Ben Roethlisberger does and does not factor into their decision.

“Yes and no,” McDermott said on if it impacts what the Bills do. “I think at the end of the day it all comes back to again making sure we’re in the right by our team. And the best thing for us, and I’m sure Mike [Tomlin] is doing the same thing for his team, is we’re always trying to weigh every factor we can, every variable, put that into the equation to help us make a good decision here.”

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