Miami Dolphins and Buffalo Bills Contest Playoff Hopes

Thanks Tony Nicoletti for the following post...

So here we are after a tough loss in the final minute by yet, another NFC North team (The Detroit Lions). There is no time to lick our wounds because we host the Buffalo Bills in our house Thursday Night. (BTW, I hope Finnegan is not too seriously hurt after losing Branden Albert for the season).

Normally, I like to wait until after the Monday Night game so I can get the most up-to-date stats and standings information before contemplating our chances against an upcoming opponent. But I'll be away from my PC Tuesday and Wednesday of this week for health reasons, so I'm offering up this game preview, now. (That means the stats from today's games are not included). It shouldn't make much of a difference in this contest. Statistics don't always reflect the whole story in these games. This far into the season, player and team figures/rankings are not going to vary much.

Both the Dolphins and Bills are coming into this game after losing by 4 point margins to playoff caliber teams. Buffalo was leading 13 to 3 before the Chiefs scored 14 unanswered points in the 4th quarter to win the game. We, on the other hand battled back to capture the lead, in the 4th quarter, only to lose the game in the last 29 seconds. This kind of scenario makes for an intriguing match up. Neither of us are happy with losing games we could and should have won.

The statistics suggest this will be another close defensive struggle as both teams have a top 10 defense. The Bills possesses the best defensive line in the league, with the most sacks. They are a little stronger than we are at defending the run.  Our defense has given up fewer yards and points overall. We allow the fewest average passing yards per play of anyone in the league, as well. Buffalo also has some ball hawks on the back end that we have to watch out for with their 12 INT versus our 9. We both have been opportunistic in the turn over category.

Offensively, we are ranked 12th overall, while they are 24th. Without CJ Spiller, they have lost considerable ground in their running game. They favor and have a passing attack that equals our own. First, it was El Manuel, (earlier in the season) and now Kyle Orton. Orton has a 104.0 rating through 8 games and has been playing well of late. They have allowed their QB's to get sacked 23 times so that might be an area we can exploit as we too, can chase down the QB.

After facing the toughest defense we are likely going to meet this season, Buffalo"s will be almost as challenging. We were able to adjust against the Lions so that Tannehill was more effective passing from the second quarter, on. I expect Lazor will dial up a game plan that will neutralize Buffalo's stampeding front 4 and their pass rush.

These two teams know each other all too well and are fairly evenly matched. I'm personally tired of Buffalo pressing our buttons with that vaunted pass rush of theirs. They caught us earlier this season, just after we emotionally spent ourselves with that surprising New England victory. Ryan Tannehill was still deciphering and getting acclimated to Bill Lazors new playbook. Now that Ryan has a better, more comfortable understanding of his role in this offense, it could be a different story this time around.

Anticipate Tannehill moving around in the pocket with roll outs, scrambles and read option plays designed to negate the athletic, fast and formidable Buffalo rush. Quick intermediate passes, screens and slants, interspersed with strategic running plays should keep Buffalo off balanced and at bay. This will give Miami opportunities to take shots down the field on occasion to Wallace.

We need to pressure, hurry, hit and sack Kyle Orton. There seems to be a resurgence of veteran QB's getting second chances in the league these days. I would just assume see Kyle make the most of his opportunities from a prone position. Can't have him getting a reputation off of us! Tannehill is the more mobile of the two QB's. Let's see how the Bills like having their QB under duress instead of the other way around.

Essentially, I want to see Miami knock the buffalo chips out of the Bills. It won't be an easy task, though. They have had our number 4 out of the last 5 meetings. That kind of familiarity breeds contempt. Time to turn that around. This is a different Dolphins team that they will be going up against in Miami.

I said before, because of our defenses, this just might be a close game. Well, history dictates otherwise. We need to get some redemption after the squeaker in Detroit. This Buffalo Bills team has been a thorn in our side for a number of years. Wouldn't you just love for the Dolphins to demonstrate that this was a bad time for the Buffalo Bills to show up in south Florida to play football? What better team to get a little pay back against than them. Besides, we need to cover the point differential they hung on us in our previous match. (19 points, remember)?

I'd settle for a three touch down our favor, of course. If not, we better hope we don't end the season in a tie. Oh... and that is another reason I want to beat them so bad. They lost to Kansas City. The Bills gave the team that holds the tie breaker against us, a one game advantage, too.

Get them Miami! GO DOLPHINS!