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Week 7: Bills vs. Dolphins Preview Sam Madison
The Bills and Dolphins renew their fierce battle as the Bills head into Pro Player Stadium looking to becoming real contenders in the AFC East race instead of just pretenders. The Bills have lost 7 of their last 8 meeting in Miami but a victory on Sunday would make the Bills a legitimate threat and put them within one game in the AFC East. The Dolphins will be without starting QB Jay Fiedler who broke his thumb in the closing minutes of their win over Denver last week.

Facts and Figures
Matchup: Buffalo (3-3) at Miami (5-1)
Date: Sunday October 20, 2002
Place: Pro Player Stadium
Time: 1:00pm
Television: CBS
Announcers: Dick Enberg, Dan Diedorf, & Bonnie Bernstein
Spread: Dolphins by 4
Series: Miami leads 47-28-1 (Bills 3-1 in playoffs)
Last Meeting: Miami 34-7 (2001)
Dolphins Off: Rush (5th); Pass (19th); overall (9th)
Dolphins Def: Rush (7th); Pass (25th); overall (13th)
Bills Offense: Rush (24th); Pass (2nd); overall (2nd)
Bills Defense: Rush (24th); Pass (19th); overall (25th)

Injury Update

The Injuries are starting to mount for the Bills for the first time this year. Dave Moore missed last week's game with a broken left hand. Mike Williams is suffering from a strained hamstring that may keep him out of the game. Marcus Price replaced him against Houston and played well. Shawn Bryson sprained his knee against Houston and is availability this week is in question.

The Dolphins lost their starting quarterback for 6-8 weeks against Denver and will go with scrambling QB Ray Lucas. His job may be made harder as star WR Chris Chambers suffered a significant concussion last week and will also most likely miss the game. OT Mark Dixon is suffering from an ankle injury but is expected to practice this week. DE Davis Bowens has been hampered by a knee injury.

For complete injury news throughout the week and the Official NFL Injury Report go to our Injury Page.

Key Matchups

DT Pat Williams vs. RB Ricky Williams: The Bills only chance to win is to keep Williams in check. Pat Williams has been on the field more and more lately as he is doing a great job of clogging the middle of the field. If the Bills' Williams wins his battle over the Dolphins' Williams then the Bills have a shot at this one.

LB London Fletcher vs. QB Ray Lucas: The bad news for the Bills facing a backup QB is that Lucas runs much better than Carr who tore through the Bills defense for 50 yards rushing last week. Fletcher will most likely have to spy Lucas all day to not let him roam free.

WRs Eric Moulds and Peerless Price vs. CBs Pat Surtain and Sam Madison: This is the marquee matchup of the game. The best receiving duo in the league this year against one of the best corner tandems. Surtain and Madison do give up big plays at times. That plays into the playbook of the Bills. They also are ball hawking corners who take the ball away also. Drew Bledsoe will need to be careful with the ball.

RB Travis Henry vs. MLB Zach Thomas: Henry seems to be getting stronger as the season progresses but can't shake his fumbling habit. If he puts the ball on the turf this week the Bills don't have much of a chance to win. Thomas is one of the best linebackers in the game, if Henry can still get yards that will help give the Bills the balanced offense it will need to win.

LT Jonas Jennings vs. RE Jason Taylor: This is a matchup of a savvy veteran who is at the top of his game against a young talented lineman. Taylor has 5 1/2 sacks this year and will be the biggest test of the year for Jennings who has played well but has been called for his share of penalties. If Jennings can't protect Bledsoe's blindside the results could be disastrous. Bledsoe put the ball on the turf twice last week, if he does it again this week the Dolphins are likely to recover it with their ball hawking abilities.

Game Plan

When The Bills Have The Ball: Miami's run defense is stout but they can be beaten in the air. The Bills will try to get Henry rolling on the ground but look for them to abandon that fairly quickly and take to the air. Drew Bledsoe needs to be careful though, as the Dolphins secondary is known for forcing turnovers, something the Bills defenders only dream about.

When The Dolphins Have The Ball: With Fiedler out look for the Dolphins to turn the offense over to Williams as they will run early and often. Lucas is more likely to be the Bills with his feet instead of his arm, the duo will look to put up big numbers on the ground and in turn keep the Bills high powered offense off the field. To beat the Bills through the air they would like to pick on Chris Watson but a depleted receiving corp may keep Watson off the field.

Bills Daily Prediction

The Bills know they must play better this week then they did last week for a chance to win. The problem is this team is too young and still makes too many mistakes to defeat a Dolphins team that will be focused to overcome the loss of their quarterback. Look for the Bills to play another close, tight-knit game but the Dolphins to pull it out in the end: Dolphins 26, Bills 20

Season Prediction Record: (6-0)
Season Record Against The Spread: (5-1)

Complete Statistical Matchup
Game Analysis and Review - Coming Sunday Night!
Positional Breakdown and Grades - Coming Sunday Night!
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