Week 4: Bills vs. Dolphins
The Bills head down to sunny and hot South Florida where it is never easy to play early in the season for a Northeast team because of the heat. The Bills look to stay out of the AFC East cellar and Miami is looking to get into the win column for the first time. Both teams are facing adversity as Miami has lost their starting quarterback Chad Pennington for the year and the Bills will likely be without 75% of their defensive secondary because of injuries.
Sunday, Oct. 4th
FACTS AND FIGURES
||Buffalo (1-2) vs. Miami(0-3)
||Land Shark Stadium
||Kevin Harlan and Solomon Wilcots
||Bills by 2
||Dolphins lead 52-37-1 (Bills 3-1 in playoffs)
||Dolphins Won 2
||Dolphins 16-3 in Toronto (2008)
||Rush (3rd); Pass (30th); overall (19th)
||Rush (3rd); Pass (26th); overall (17th)
||Rush (9th); Pass (24th); overall (17th)
||Rush (18th); Pass (28th); overall (28th)
The Bills continue to be hit by the injury bug as their defensive secondary is decimated right now. They will almost certainly be without Donte Whitner who had surgery on a thumb injury suffered against New Orleans. Leodis McKelvin is out with a broken fibula suffered in that same game. Bryan Scott has a high ankle sprain that makes him unlikely to play this week. Demetrius Bell and Kyle Williams both have groin injuries that make them questionable. Derek Schouman and Brad Butler are out for the year with knee injuries. Paul Posluszny remains out with a forearm injury. Shawn Nelson and John McCargo missed last week's game with a shoulder and calf injury respectively. It is unknown if they'll be able to play this week.
The Dolphins are without QB Chad Pennington whose career is in jeopardy because of a third season ending shoulder injury. LB Joey Porter left last week's loss to San Diego with a hamstring injury that he re-aggravated. He will likely try to play.
Check out our Bills Daily Injury Page throughout the week for the latest updates on the injured players.
DTs Marcus Stroud vs. RB Ronnie Brown:
This is not a matchup in the traditional sense. It's more a matchup for the wildcat offense. Brown will be at the controls when they go to this formation and it will be up to the men in the middle to blow it up by getting pressure at the heart of the Miami offense. The pressure will be on Stroud even more if Williams can't go because of his groin injury.
WR Terrell Owens vs. CB Will Allen:
Mt. T.O. seems ready to erupt and all Bills fans hope he erupts on the field, not off of it. This week he has a chance to have a breakout performance against the veteran cornerback.
Bills Secondary vs. QB Chad Henne:
This is the biggest battle in my opinion. It's the battle of the backups. Henne will get his first career start and he goes against the very banged up secondary. If he keeps the ball away from Terrence McGee's side of the field he may have a chance. The veteran Drayton Florence however is not much of a drop off in coverage from the injured McKelvin.
DE Aaron Schobel vs. LT Jake Long:
Schobel has played well for the most part this year and showed that he can still play this game. He goes against one of the rising starts in this league in Long. He needs to get pressure on Henne to rattle the young quarterback.
RBs Fred Jackson and Marshawn Lynch vs. ILBs Channing Crowder and Akin Ayodele:
This will be the season debut of the Bills two back offense. The two players are suppose have touches evenly distributed but expect them both on the field at the same time on many occasions. This should cause some confusion for the guys in the middle of the defense that are in charge of shutting down the running game. Something Miami has done very well so far this season.
LT Jonathan Scott vs. OLB Joey Porter:
Scott will flip sides and protect Trent Edwards blindside this week with Bell likely out. The Bills may be facing a less than 100% Porter who is battling a nagging hamstring injury. He has killed the Bills over the years and if he's healthy this could be trouble.
WR Lee Evans vs. CB Sean Smith:
With the veteran Allen likely locked up with T.O., it is a golden opportunity for Evans to breakout against the rookie Smith. He needs to be able to take advantage of having Owens on the other side of the field from him.
When The Bills Have The Ball: Look for the Bills to try to take advantage of a Miami secondary that has been known to give the big play in the passing game. They should attempt to take shots deep early to open up running lanes for the debut of the dynamic duo in the backfield.
When The Dolphins Have The Ball: They will likely try to bring Henne along slowly which would mean a lot of a short passing game and a lot of the wildcat with Brown at the controls. Miami will try to get points with trick plays to overcome other deficiencies.
BILLS DAILY PREDICTION
You would think this would be a good spot for the Bills since the Dolphins will be breaking in a new quarterback. That advantage has been neutralized by the injuries the Bills have. Some will say the Dolphins are due for a win and the defending division champions have to be better than their 0-3 record indicates. The Bills are looking to bounce back from last week's loss and have had controversy this week. They seem to overcome adversity well and usually beat the teams they are supposed to beat. I expect them to win this game but it won't be easy:
Bills 16, Dolphins 13
Season Prediction Record: (3-0)
Season Record Against The Spread: (2-1)
Bills Blitz - Coming Sunday Evening!
Gameday Grades - Coming Sunday Evening!