Miami Dolphins (0-12) at Buffalo Bills (6-6)
What can you really say about this game? On paper, it would seem like the last realistic chance the Dolphins have at winning a game this year because Buffalo's defense is ranked 30th and their offense is ranked 31st (which we'll get to below). So despite the 6-6 record, you have to think that this may be the best chance the Dolphins have at a victory. Of course, you could have said the same thing last week. And if the Dolphins can't pull off this win, then we are looking at going a full calendar year without a win. That's right. It'll be over 365 days since our last win come Monday morning. No pressure or anything.
Dolphins Offense vs Bills Defense
The last time these two teams met, the Dolphins only managed 269 total yards, which is about 100 yards fewer than the Bills give up per game. And in that game, it was Jesse Chatman starring in the offense, rushing for 124 yards on 27 carries while also catching 5 passes out of the backfield. However, it's likely that Jesse will not be able to play on Sunday. And this means that it will be Samkon Gado carrying the load for the Dolphins running game. And how exciting that is! Gado, since 2005 when he ran for 582 yards in 8 games with Green Bay, has just 76 carries (including his 2 as a Dolphin). And now he's expected to be the starting tailback if Chatman can't go. That's certainly not a good thing when you consider the Dolphins gained more yardage on the ground than through the air in these two team's first meeting.
What gets you a little more excited, though, is to think that Lorenzo Booker will likely see a lot more action in this game. He's coming off of his 6 catch performance last week and his role would likely expand if Chatman is slowed or cannot go. He'll surely be the guy in the backfield on 3rd downs or in passing situations, as he proved last week that his hands are definitely as good as advertised. And that brings me to this next point. Incase you've missed it, Marty Booker has missed some practice time with knee soreness and he's now a question mark for this game. And even if he is active, there's no guarantee that he'll be able to make it through the game injury-free. So there's the potential that we could even see Lorenzo Booker split out as a wide receiver in some situations considering the Dolphins, without Marty, would only have 3 healthy wide receivers. There's also a chance that the Dolphins might feel the need to bring back Kerry Reed, who was waived and placed back on the practice squad a few days ago. Reed showed some chemistry with John Beck in training camp but hasn't been a factor since the preseason. If Marty can't go on Sunday at all, I don't see why the Dolphins wouldn't sign Reed to the active roster and let him try to make some plays. He can't be any worse, really, than Greg Camarillo, right?
One thing is certain for Sunday. John Beck is likely going to have a very rough day yet again. I'm not saying he's going to throw for 3 picks again, but to think he's going to have a high completion percentage or yardage total is unrealistic. He's going to playing this week with even fewer weapons than he's ever had. And even if all those "weapons" (if you can call them that) play, they clearly won't be 100%. Sure, the Bills secondary isn't very good. They're 29th in the NFL in passing yards allowed and they allow the opposing QB to complete 65% of their passes. And sure, the Bills pass rush has really struggled this year, ranking dead last in sacks with just 14. But after seeing what the Jets defense did to John, I'd expect the Bills to copy. That means a lot of blitzing. And when blitzed, John is only completing 45% of his passes and averages just 4.4 yards per attempt. He's got that quick release, but it isn't going to matter if the offensive line can't keep him upright for a second or two longer than they did last week and let John get rid of the ball...that is if any receiver can get open. In all honesty, I'm going into this week expecting the worst on offense.
Bills Offense vs Dolphins Defense
The Bills offense, which has only scored 13.6 points per game over the past 3 weeks, will be getting a boost on Sunday, as rookie Marshawn Lynch is expected back into the lineup. Lynch hasn't played since the first time these two teams met 4 weeks ago. In that game, Lynch only ran for 61 yards on 19 carries, but did score a touchdown. But without a doubt, he's the main focal point of this Buffalo offense. And the Dolphins rush defense is, well, you know...bad, to say the least. They're dead last in yards allowed per game, allowing 149 yards per game on the ground. Over their past 5 games, though, they have been improved, only allowing 140 yards per game. How sad is that? Giving up 140 yards on the ground is an improvement. Ugh!
Now this will be the first time the Dolphins face rookie quarterback Trent Edwards. Edwards has played relatively well. Sure, he has just one touchdown to five interceptions, but he's completing 65% of his passes and averages 6.7 yards per attempt. And last week, with only 27 seconds left, Edwards completed the biggest pass of his career, a 30 yard pass that got Buffalo into field goal range with no timeouts left. It was a big time throw and catch to Josh Reed where Edwards really threaded the needle and threw a laser. Those are the kinds of plays we hope to see from John Beck sometime soon. Edwards, who has played more than Beck, is already making them for Buffalo.
The way I see it, I think this game is going to come down to two things. One is if the Dolphins will finally be able to put points up on the board. If not, then my second point is moot. That second point is how well the defense can contain Lynch. If Lynch gets off to a fast start, then you have to start worrying about the play-action pass. And one of the most infamous Dolphin killers is Lee Evans. He's got great speed and simply makes plays. The Dolphins must not allow the Bills to work their offense off of an effective running game. If the Bills are able to run the ball, then it's going to be a long afternoon for us yet again.
So that's how I see it in a nut shell. Feel free to tell us how you think this game will play out below.