Saturday, September 13, 2014

Matchup Mashup: Your Dolphins-Bills primer


Week 2: Miami Dolphins (1-0) at Buffalo Bills (1-0), 1 p.m.
Location: Ralph Wilson Stadium, Orchard Park, N.Y.
Weather: Cloudy, high 50s at kickoff; 50 percent chance of rain (accuweather)

The skinny: The Buffalo wagons rolled into Chicago and outplayed a Bears team on the road in Week 1, riding a 193-yard rushing performance that kept the offense on the field and allowed EJ Manuel to be picky with his passes throughout. Though the defense gave up nearly 400 yards through the air, Buffalo was able to, for the most part, keep Chicago out of the red zone and was also able to win the turnover battle. Miami didn't look too shabby last weekend either, putting up an equally impressive rushing attack and fighting back from a slow start to defeat the New England Patriots in their home opener. With an opportunistic defense and an offensive line that exceeded first-game expectations, the Dolphins are hoping to ride their divisional win into Buffalo and leave with an early two-game advantage in the AFC East.

What to watch for (links):
- How will Miami's revamped O-line fare against Buffalo's stacked D-line?
- Will the Bills' run game exploit an ailing Dolphins linebacking crew?
- Will the Dolphins' attention on Buffalo's backfield pay off?
- What impact will the Bills' RB duo have on special teams?
- Can the 'Phins secondary shut down the slew of speeders that comprise the Bills' wide receiving corps?
- Will Stephon Gilmore be physically ready to handle Miami's No. 1 receiver in Mike Wallace?

Injury Report: Though a bit uncertain for a minute there on Thursday, it looks like linebacker Philip Wheeler will play Sunday for the Dolphins. Fellow 'backers Koa Misi and Dannell Ellerbe, however, are out. On the Bills' side, linebacker Keith Rivers will sit, with defensive back Jonathan Meeks and tight end Lee Smith also likely scratches.

Other tidbits from the week:
Unless you were living under a rock or out of a poker room in Vegas this week, the landmark deal between Tom Pegula and the Bills for the purchase of the team was hard to miss; Cameron Wake and Dan Carpenter earned player of the week honors in their respective units; Knowshon Moreno's Week 1 performance earned him an accolade, as well.

Our picks:
Dan: Bills 23, Dolphins 17
Nick: Dolphins 20, Bills 17
Sean: Bills 17, Dolphins 16

Head-to-head recent history: Buffalo has won three of the last four meetings between the two teams, including both matchups last season. Most recently, the Bills shut out Miami 19-0 in Week 16 of the 2013 season and played spoiler to the Dolphins' playoff run. Miami holds a 15-game lead in overall wins, however, as Sunday marks the 101st time the two the teams have met.

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