This Sunday's matchup sees a Dolphins team desperate to get back to winning ways against a Buffalo team that suffered a heartbreaking loss to the Cincinnati Bengals in overtime last week.
The good news for the Dolphins is that the team submitted their first injury report in single-digits since the first week of the NFL season. Despite this, some key contributors may not make the game on Sunday. Cornerback Dimitri Patterson, defensive end Cameron Wake, linebackers Koa Misi and Dannell Ellerbe and safety Chris Clemons are all listed as "questionable" for the game.
Buffalo's main strength lies in their run game, which is ranked No.3 in the country. This is quite possibly where the game will be won and lost. If Miami's defensive line can stop C.J. Spiller (who's listed as probable for the game) and Fred Jackson, Tannehill and co. will have a great chance to go 4-2. The flipside of the coin is that the offense needs to stay on the field longer. The Dolphins are 28th in the NFL in time of possession, holding the ball for about 27 minutes per game. The big worry for me is that if the Dolphins don't hold onto the football, the defense (and especially the defensive line) will grow tired and allow the Bills to utilise their running game.
Pass protection will be another issue heading into the game. The offensive line has had two weeks to get it right during the bye week. If they don't get it right now, they quite possibly never will. The coaches may be able to combat the issue by running the football. While Joe Philbin and Mike Sherman's game-day policy is to throw the football, running the ball more will keep Buffalo's defense on their toes and allow Ryan Tannehill to make more plays, and take less hits.
And one last thing - stop Mario Williams!
Buffalo have lost two straight games since EJ Manuel suffered a knee injury, and Thad Lewis also went down injured late against the Bengals last week. This makes Buffalo's passing attack much more vulnerable and may allow Miami to concentrate on defending the run, one of the team's main strengths. For this reason I see Miami getting back to winning ways in a comfortable win.
Can the Dolphins get back to winning ways? Where do you think the game will be won and lost? We'd love to hear your thoughts.