Who: Miami Dolphins (4-5) at Buffalo Bills (3-6)
Where: Ralph Wilson Stadium in Orchard Park, NY
When: Thursday, November 15th at 8:20 P.M. EST
Last Week: Miami was blown out by Tennessee 37-3; Buffalo fell to New England 37-31.
The Miami Dolphins will play their only game of the season in primetime on Thursday night as they head north to take on the Buffalo Bills. Miami will be looking to snap a two-game skid which includes an utter embarrassment on Sunday against the Tennessee Titans. The match-up with Buffalo will also be the third division game for the Dolphins, but the first against a team not named the New York Jets. Like Miami, the Bills also come on a losing streak. Buffalo began the year 3-3, but have since dropped three straight. Sunday’s game will be the first of two this season between Miami and Buffalo. The teams will meet in South Florida on December 23rd.
At 4-5, the Miami Dolphins come in as the second place team in the AFC East and are two games back of the division-leading New England Patriots. Buffalo is in third place tie in the division with a record of 3-6. The Bills trail the Patriots by three games; the Bills are 0-3 against their division this season. The Dolphins swept the season series a year ago winning 35-8 in Miami and 30-23 in Buffalo. The Dolphins have won three of the last four in the series including the last two meetings in upstate New York. Thursday’s game will be Miami’s final trip into a cold weather destination until the season finale against New England.
Keys to a ‘Fins Win
Protect the Football
The turnover prone Miami Dolphins team that stuck around for the first four games reared its ugly head again on Sunday in a 37-3 loss to Tennessee. The Titans led 24-3 at the half, but 17 of Tennessee’s first half points came off of Miami turnovers. Dolphins’ rookie quarterback Ryan Tannehill had a streak of more than 100 pass attempts without an interception, but on Sunday, he threw three. Reggie Bush also had a turnover that set up Tennessee’s first score. Had it not been for turnovers, the Dolphins may be 6-2 right now. Miami is simply not a good enough team to give points away. If it happens again, the Dolphins will likely leave Buffalo with a 4-6 record and their playoff prospects will be in real doubt.
Get Off the Field on 3rd Down
One week after allowing the Indianapolis Colts to convert 13 of 19 third down conversion attempts, the Dolphins watched Tennessee go an efficient 8-for-17. Early on this season and particularly during Miami’s three-game winning streak, Miami was among the best in the league in getting their opponents off the field when given opportunities. If the Dolphins want to get back to their winning ways, that’s a trend that needs to begin again and there’s no better time to get back on the right track than on Thursday night.
Stuff the Run
Early on this year, the Miami Dolphins’ defense was tops in the NFL against the run. They’ve recently fallen to fifth and on Sunday against Tennessee, the Dolphins allowed Chris Johnson to become the first rusher to go over 100 yards against the Dolphins in 22 games. Buffalo is sixth in the league when it comes to running the football with the combination of Fred Jackson and C.J. Spiller. Jackson will be out on Thursday, but the Bills will have Spiller. The Dolphins will need a big game from Randy Starks and Paul Soliai to stuff the Bills’ ground game. If the Dolphins can be stout against the run and force Ryan Fitzpatrick to make throws, Miami should have a very good opportunity to leave Buffalo with a sorely needed win.
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