Week 3: Bills vs. Miami
There is a lot of hype surrounding the Bills after their 2-0 start and this being "Miami Week" only enhances that hype. Make no mistake about it, the Dolphins are still the Bills number one rivalry despite all the attention the matchups with the Patriots have received the last year plus. This game is a battle for first place. A Bills win and they may have a two game lead on the division (if the Jets can beat New England). A loss, and Miami has the early edge on the division and will move even with the Bills in the standings. The Bills need to remain focused on the long term goals and not rest on the laurels of two blowout wins to start the season. The Dolphins are looking to build on their triumph over the Jets in the Meadowlands last week, a place they normally struggle in.
FACTS AND FIGURES
||Buffalo (2-0) vs. Miami (1-1)
||Pro Player Stadium
||Mike Patrick, Joe Theismann, Paul Maguire, and Suzy Kolber
||Dolphins by 3
||Dolphins leads 47-30-1 (Bills 3-1 playoffs)
||Bills 38-21 in Buffalo (2002)
||Rush (9th); Pass (t-17th); overall (10th)
||Rush (6th); Pass (32nd); overall (30th)
||Rush (t-25th); Pass (4th); overall (9th)
||Rush (18th); Pass (8th); overall (8th)
The Bills remain remarkably healthy. Sam Aiken remains bothered by a hamstring injury but the rest of the team is practicing this week and should be available. Last week the hot Florida sun got to many players who became dehydrated in Jacksonville. This could happen again this week since it is the second straight game in Florida. The fact that it is a night game should help matters and hopefully keep players on the field.
The Dolphins came out of last week's game with the Jets healthy but they went into it banged up. Safety Shawn Wooden did not play with a hamstring injury and neither did tackle Mark Dixon who has an ankle injury. We will update their injury situation as the week progresses.
Bills Daily Injury Page
DT Sam Adams vs. RB Ricky Williams:
Williams ran wild on the Bills twice last year. That is one of the reasons the Bills brought Adams to Buffalo. He had a quiet day in Jacksonville and needs to do a better job of clogging the middle this week. If he succeeds, then the Bills stand a chance of slowing down the best back in the game today.
RB Travis Henry vs. DTs Larry Chester and Tim Bowens:
Henry is off to a very slow start this year but has traditionally performed well against Miami. If the Bills can contain the big defensive tackles, Henry may be able to get ontrack.
LT Jonas Jennings vs. DE Jason Taylor:
The key to slowing down the Bills passing attack is getting pressure on Bledsoe. Taylor will be the main man in charge of doing that. If Jennings continues to perform well, (he was real good in Jacksonville) then that will make things easier on the offense.
S Lawyer Milloy vs. TE Randy McMichael:
McMichael is a solid third option for the Dolphins and the Bills need to take him out of the picture also. Milloy should be able to do that as he will lineup against the tight end on many plays.
CB Antoine Winfield vs. WR Chris Chambers:
Chambers has big play ability and is off to a fine start. Winfield is also off to a good start on his race for a big contract after this year. The Bills need to win this battle to make the Dolphins offensive attack one dimensional.
WR Eric Moulds vs. CB Sam Madison:
This is usually a classic battle with Moulds traditionally having big games against Miami. If he can duplicate past performances, then the team could be in good shape. Madison is as good as it gets in the secondary and will be a formidable challenge.
When The Bills Have The Ball: Going by the rankings you would think the Bills would go to the pass against the league's worst ranked pass defense. Two weeks into the season those numbers are misleading, many of the yards Miami gave up were in garbage time against the Jets last week when they had a big lead. Look for the Bills to concentrate on establishing the running game since that is the one aspect of the team that has struggled mightily so far. If they can get the running game moving it will open the play action passing game to help dupe the strong Miami secondary. Look for them to stick with the run even if they are struggling with it early.
When The Dolphins Have The Ball: The Bills defense's weak point so far has been stopping the run so look for the Dolphins to run Williams as much as possible. That will serve two purposes, gaining them yards and keeping the clock moving to keep the Bills red hot offense off the field. They know the way to win is on the ground.
BILLS DAILY PREDICTION
The Bills need to avoid a letdown after another big win but that shouldn't be too much of a problem since it is the dreaded Dolphins they are playing. Miami is back on track and looking for a share of first place and should give the Bills a real battle this week for the first time this year. Look for the Bills to rise to the occassion and pull out a squeaker:
Bills 20, Dolphins 17
Season Prediction Record: (2-0)
Season Record Against The Spread: (2-0)
Complete Gameday Review - Coming Monday!
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