But these fiery competitors would be well-advised to be on their best behavior Sunday. Just one emotional mistake could ultimately be the difference between home-field advantage throughout the playoffs and a Super Bowl path with three road games.
The 3-0 Dolphins visit the 2-1 Bills Sunday in the biggest game of the season to date.
But even if these teams were winless, Allen and Wilkins would be at Level 10. They are oil and water on a football field.
Miami Dolphins’ Christian Wilkins vs. Buffalo Bills’ Josh Allen
Christian Wilkins talks about his battles with Josh Allen over the years pic.twitter.com/9ajsj5o29l
— Adam Beasley (@AdamHBeasley) September 25, 2023
The short history, for those who need a refresher:
Wilkins has always had a knack of getting under opposing quarterbacks’ skin, and Allen, more than most, takes the bait.
Twice in the teams’ three meetings last season, Allen and Wilkins got into it. The most memorable exchange?
“The #NFL is investigating a matter between Josh Allen and Christian Wilkins, where Allen ripped off Wilkins’ helmet after Allen alleges Wilkins “crotch grabbed” him in a pile. The 2 were jawing at each other all game.” pic.twitter.com/cXeTiPxcPl
— Jacob Meshel (@JacobMeshel) September 26, 2022
When Allen ripped off Wilkins’ helmet after an altercation at the bottom of a pile. Allen later suggested that Wilkins grabbed his groin, and the NFL fined the Dolphins defender $13,261 for the illegal act. (Wilkins has steadfastly denied doing it.)
“I think that’s all speculation that I do that,” Wilkins said Monday, when asked about being a skilled antagonizer. “I mean, you have no proof. I haven’t said that that’s what I do. So I think that’s all speculation. That’s all hearsay and whatnot. But, like I said, division opponents. It’s always competitive, so just hopefully, we’ll be ready to play a good game.”
The Dolphins and Bills played three good games in 2022, with the three contests decided by a total of four points.
Each team won at home — with the Bills beating the Dolphins both late in the regular season and in the playoffs. During that Wild Card Round game, Wilkins and Allen engaged in an extended shoving match.
On Monday — a day after the Dolphins and Bills won in blowouts to set up Sunday’s anticipated showdown — Wilkins tried to downplay the rivalry.
“That’s my guy,” Wilkins said. “I love Josh. We’re cool, we’re tight. But no, he’s a heck of a competitor. I love playing against him. He definitely brings the best out of you as a defense, as an individual. His résumé speaks for itself.
“But definitely a heck of a player, and we’re going to have to be on it this week as a defense and as a team because they’re a really good team, and they play tough, and we know them, they know us. There’s no secrets. Just have to go out there and ball, compete, and may the best man win.”
Dolphins’ House of Horrors
For the past decade, Buffalo has overwhelmingly been the best team. Dating back to the start of the 2013 season, Miami has lost 16 of 21 meetings.
The Bills are 11-1 in their last 12 home games against the Dolphins and have won the last seven. (One of those 11 wins was last December, when a heavy snowfall gave Bills fans an entire arsenal of snowballs, which they used to pelt the Dolphins players — even when a play was in progress.)
Bills fans are throwing snowballs at Dolphins players as soon as they enter the red zone 😂 pic.twitter.com/RZurz29GyG
— Off The Deck Sports (@OTDSports_) December 18, 2022
Not coincidentally, the Bills are the three-time defending AFC East champions, while the Dolphins are in search of their first division title since 2008.
“I want to beat them bad because they beat us multiple times,” said Dolphins defensive end Emmanuel Ogbah.
Added Dolphins right tackle Austin Jackson: “I don’t use terms like statement games and stuff like that. It’s a big game, for sure. They’re a great team. We know that. We know that doing what we do well is going to be important and also fixing what we don’t do well.”
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