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Opposing Player Spotlight: Week 7, Buffalo Bills

The Dolphins are taking on a division rival this week and will have to corral a familiar face to have any shot at a victory.

Cincinnati Bengals v Buffalo Bills Photo by Timothy T. Ludwig/Getty Images

The Miami Dolphins are 0-5 and well on the way to securing a top-3 draft selection in the 2020 NFL Draft. With that said, most have written the team off in terms of Miami’s chances of winning a single game this season, but as the saying goes, “on any given Sunday...” This is especially true for games between division rivals.

With his announcement that Ryan Fitzpatrick will start in Week 7’s contest against the Buffalo Bills, Brian Flores proved to fans, media pundits, and most importantly, his players that he’s not willing to go down without a fight. Against the Washington Redskins, Fitzpatrick showed that he gives Miami’s offense a spark, and with that, a better chance to win games than Josh Rosen has shown. With all that said, you know the Dolphins will be entering New Era Field up in Buffalo with the intention of coming out victorious, but what will a former teammate have to say on the matter?

Each week of the 2019 season, I am highlighting one player on the team squaring off with the Miami Dolphins that ‘phins fans should be watching out for. This week, that player is Buffalo Bills running back Frank Gore.

Do you have a player recommendation for next week’s spotlight? Let me know on Twitter @HierJustin.

Fact Check: Frank Gore

Position: RB

Experience: 15th

Age: 36

Height/Weight: 5’9”, 212 lbs

College: Miami (FL.)

Stat Review

Gore has played in all five of Buffalo’s games this season, starting four. As everyone should’ve expected, the ageless Gore is as efficient as ever, rumbling through opposing defenses for a respectable 4.4 yards per carry. On the season, Gore has accumulated 333 rushing yards, two rushing touchdowns, six receptions, and 37 receiving yards.

Over the course of his 15-year career, Gore has racked up a whopping 15,081 rushing yards, and you know he’ll be looking to add to that total against his former team. Gore may have spent only one year with the Dolphins, but his connection to the city of Miami goes back to his childhood days, and there’s no doubt he’ll be excited for this matchup, even if he doesn’t actually play at Hard Rock Stadium until later in the season.

Key Matchups

With Bills rookie Devin Singletary back in the lineup following his recovery from a hamstring injury, Gore will likely be relegated to early down, and possibly goal line work against the Dolphins. With Buffalo QB Josh Allen still developing as a downfield passer, expect the Dolphins to implement some heavy packages with fewer defensive backs and more linebackers and defensive linemen. That being said, Allen has a cannon for an arm, meaning the Dolphins can’t get caught sleeping on the deep ball. It’s a delicate balance between preparing for Gore’s sledgehammer running style and Allen’s arm.

It’s likely the Dolphins continue to rely on linebacker Raekwon McMillan on early downs to stifle the run. Despite McMillan’s deficiencies in pass coverage, he’s been one of the league’s best run defenders through the first half of the season. He’ll likely team up with Jerome Baker and Sam Eguavoen to keep Gore and the rest of the Buffalo’s running game at bay. Rookie defensive tackle Christian Wilkins will also be key in keeping Gore behind the line of scrimmage. Wilkins has improved through each game this season, and his matchups with Redskins guard (and two-time Pro Bowler) Brandon Scherff last week showed that he’s made strides in his ability to get behind the opposing team’s o-line.