Game 5: Bills vs. Dolphins
Wow! How far has this rivalry fallen? The Bills and Dolphins is usually a game circled on many fans of both team's calendars. This year, it is a battle of the only two remaining winless teams in the entire league. Both teams will be looking to get into the win column. The Dolphins season has been disastrous even before it started when Ricky Williams quit. The Bills have lost three of four games by a combined eight points and could have had at least two wins by now including last week when the Jets beat them on a last minute field goal.
FACTS AND FIGURES
||Buffalo (0-4) vs. Miami (0-5)
||Ralph Wilson Stadium
||Don Criqui and Steve Tasker
||Bills by 6 1/2
||Miami lead 49-30-1 (Bills 3-1 in playoffs)
||Dolphins 20-3 in Buffalo (2003)
||Rush (32nd); Pass (22nd); overall (32nd)
||Rush (27th); Pass (1st); overall (2nd)
||Rush (25th); Pass (27th); overall (28th)
||Rush (5th); Pass (23rd); overall (15th)
The Bills continue to be banged up but are getting healthier. Troy Vincent remains out with tore cartilage in his knee as does Trey Teague who has several small fractures to a bone in his left leg. Lawyer Milloy is expected to return to practice this week but he probably is at least a week away from returning. Coy Wire missed last week's game with a quad strain but does have a chance at returning on Sunday. Travis Henry injured his foot against the Jets but should be ready to go for the Dolphins game. Shaud Williams is battling back from a sprained knee.
The Dolphins are also banged up starting at the quarterback position where both their starter and backup may be out. Jay Fiedler has cracked ribs and A.J. Feeley has a concussion. Sage Rosenfels would get the start if neither can go. Coach Wannstedt is expected to wait until later in the week to decide on his starter. Both quarterbacks are doing better each day but may not be able to make it back. RB Travis Minor remains out with an ankle injury. The Dolphins may also need a new kicker. Olinde Mare missed last week's game with a calf injury. The team will have to decide on whether they need to sign another kicker or not. KR/WR Wes Welker replaced him last week and hit a field goal and an extra point in his only two attempts. OT John St. Clair is battling knee and ankle injuries and missed the Patriots game last week. DT Tim Bowens also remains out with a back injury. He hopes to return this week. LB Tony Bua is suffering from a hamstring injury that kept him out of action last week as well.
Bills Daily Injury Page
RBs Travis Henry and Willis McGahee vs. LB Zach Thomas:
Thomas is the star of a very vaunted defensive attack. He has 57 tackles on the season. The Bills need to win this game on the ground and that means a good mixture of both Henry and McGahee. If they succeed on the ground it will eat up the clock, then it shouldn't take too many scores to get the W.
DE Aaron Schobel vs. LT Damion McIntosh:
The Miami O-Line is almost as bad as the Bills line is. Schobel had a big game against the Jets last week and when he gets hot, he usually stays hot. Look for Schobel to be a presence in the Miami backfield on Sunday.
LT Jonas Jennings vs. DE Jason Taylor:
Taylor is a solid pass rusher and he goes against Jennings who may have had the worst game of his career last week. Look for Taylor to try to disrupt the timing of the Bills offense by trying to go right through Jennings.
Bills Safeties vs Miami Quarterback:
Whether it is Feeley, Fiedler, or Rosenfels at quarterback they will try to attack the banged up Bills secondary, namely the safeties. Look for the Dolphins to try to use the short passing game to get the ball to one of their biggest weapons, TE Randy McMichael.
WR Eric Moulds vs. CB Sam Madison:
Moulds has had big games against Miami in the past and faces a tough battle against the veteran Madison. Moulds will need to make a few plays for the Bills to get enough offense to win the game.
DTs Pat Williams and Sam Adams vs. C Seth McKinney:
If the two big guys in the middle can clog it up good, then the Bills will be half way there in shutting down Miami's attack.
When The Bills Have The Ball: Miami may be struggling but they have the league's second ranked defense and they are number one in pass defense. The way to attack them is on the ground. That means a heavy dose of Travis Henry and Willis McGahee. Look for a couple of gadget plays early and maybe a couple of deep balls mixed in to keep the Miami defense on its toes.
When The Dolphins Have The Ball: This unit has struggled more than the Bills offense has. They are dead last in total offense and running the ball. There only success has been through the air and that may be difficult this week with the injuries at the quarterback position. Their best bet is to try to control the game with a short passing attack and to keep the mistakes to a minimum.
BILLS DAILY PREDICTION
It shouldn't matter who plays quarterback for the Dolphins. Their offense is terrible and the Bills defense will be looking to prove something after failing to stop the Jets at the end of last week's game. The Dolphins should not be able to move the ball on the Bills. Of course, the Bills offense will in all likelihood struggle against a solid Miami defense. The Bills are the better team on paper and for a change I think they will be the better team on the scoreboard as well. It is time for them to turn that potential into results and a convincing victory:
Bills 23, Dolphins 3
Season Prediction Record: (2-2)
Season Record Against The Spread: (0-4)
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