Where: Dolphin Stadium
When: Sunday, 1:00 PM ET
- Miami: Out - LB Zach Thomas, S Travares Tillman; Probable - NT Keith Traylor
- Buffalo: Out - TE Matt Murphy, TE Derek Schouman; Questionable - LB John DiGiorgio, QB Trent Edwards, WR Roscoe Parrish, WR Josh Reed, DE Aaron Schobel; Probable - LB Leon Joe, CB Ashton Youboty
| Dolphins || Unit || Bills |
| || Quarterbacks || + |
| || Running backs || + |
| || Receivers || + |
| || Offensive line || + |
| || Defensive line || + |
| || Linebackers || + |
| || Secondary || + |
| || Special teams || + |
| || Coaches || + |
| || Overall Advantage || + |
Keys to the Game:
- Can the safeties step up in run defense? Zach Thomas won't be playing, so an already weak run defense will struggle more than usual. Cameron Worrell and Jason Allen are starting at the safety spots and they will need to step up into the box in order to effectively stop the run. Marshawn Lynch is adept at reaching the second level of defenses, and it will be up to Worrell and Allen to keep him in front of them and hopefully keep him in front of the linebackers as well.
- Can the defensive front seven generate a consistent pass rush against J.P. Losman? The thing that Losman does best is to air out the deep ball, especially to Lee Evans. That requires time in the pocket. His effectiveness diminishes sharply when he has to make quick decisions and short throws. Obviously, the best way to take away this strength and force him into his weaknesses is to pressure him with blitzes. Miami hasn't been successful doing this in the past, but they will need to be able to do it this week if they want to have a chance to contain the Buffalo offense from exploding.
- Can Cleo Lemon avoid the early hook? If Cleo Lemon gets yanked from this game in favor of John Beck, chances are that things won't be going to well. If Lemon is careless with the ball and forces the coaches to make a change, the game will most likely be out of reach, regardless of what Beck can do.
- Miami: DE Jason Taylor - The pressure up front needs to start with Taylor - even if he is just drawing double teams to open up other guys along the line. If he doesn't prove that he is a threat, the Bills won't have to constantly devote a second or third guy to him and they can send more guys out in pass patterns rather than keeping them in to block.
- Buffalo: RB Marshawn Lynch - Against this porous run defense, Lynch really has an opportunity to shorten the game by grounding out the clock and chunks of yardage at the same time.
This game will be somewhat of a nail-biter. I'd like to think that Miami will be re-energized following its bye week and will be able to take advantage of its home field advantage, but until this team wins, I can't confidently choose them.
Buffalo wins 20-19.