The Miami Dolphins have a daunting task in front of them this week as they face the NFL's third ranked rushing attack. The Buffalo Bills' tandem of Fred Jackson and C.J. Spiller has the Dolphins' AFC East rival averaging 148.8 yards per game on the ground. The Dolphins, meanwhile, are allowing 105.4 rushing yards per game, making them the 15th ranked rushing defense on the year, down from their preseason expectations.
The Dolphins realize the match up will be tough. "They both have a little different skillset," Miami head coach Joe Philbin said on Tuesday of Jackson and Spiller. "They are both excellent players. There is no secret why they are averaging 150 yards a game rushing."
Will the Dolphins be able to slow the two headed attack?
"It's going to be incumbent on us to have good block protection," Philbin continued, "get off of blocks, tackle well, pursue well. Certainly nothing magical."
The good news for the Dolphins is Paul Soliai, who was forced to miss the Atlanta Falcons game in Week 3, then most of the New Orleans Saints game in Week 4 thanks to a knee injury, got a week of rest after playing 50 snaps in the Baltimore Ravens games two weeks ago. Soliai's presence changes the Dolphins' rush defense from night to day, with the big man in the middle clogging up rushing lanes by himself and freeing the linebackers to make plays.
Spiller had been limited in practice leading up to the team's game against the Cincinnati Bengals last Sunday, but was able to play, giving the team 10 carries for 55 yards; Jackson added 35 yards on 10 carries. On the season, Spiller has 351 yards on 84 carries, a 4.2 yards per attempt average, with one touchdown while Jackson has 344 yards on 75 carries, a 4.6 yards per attempt average and four touchdowns.
The Dolphins face the Bills on Sunday in Miami. The teams will conclude their annual two-game series in Week 16 when Miami will travel to Buffalo.
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