Welcome football fans to Week 11! The first battle of the post season push is the (4-5) Miami Dolphin travelling to New York to take on the (3-6) Buffalo Bills. This battle of AFC rivals features two teams which have been hard to predict this year. Two weeks ago, we were talking about what a surprise the Dolphins have been before they dropped two straight, including getting dismantled by the Titans on Sunday. The Bills have at least been competitive in their struggles, pushing the Goliath Patriots to the brink in Foxboro.
In a weakened AFC, and with injuries and reeling teams all over the map, this is a must win for either team to even think about playoffs. The Bills have proved that they can score points behind quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick and running back CJ Spiller. They will be without RB Fred Jackson, who will be sidelined with a concussion. They will need to rack up some points against a very good defense in Miami, who was outclassed by the Titans a weak ago.
The Dolphins feature a young offence, with the best OL-man in the game in left tackle Jake Long. He will be out to neutralize the pass-rushing of big money linebacker Mario Williams, who will be out to pressure rookie QB Ryan Tannehill into making costly decisions. The Titans proved that rattling Tannehill is the key to success as he was awful in that game, and truly looked like a rookie.
For the Dolphins to win: The need to execute on offense, and need more than Reggie Bush to do so. Tannehill needs to get Bush 25-30 touches tonight, and spread the ball to Brian Hartline, who has been their most consistent receiver this season. The also need to shut down the Bills on 3rd down and use their defense to come up with some big plays when Ftizpatrick gets trigger happy in the pocket.
For the Bills to win: We know that they will be able to score points, as they average 24 pts a game. However, they are averaging 31pts/game allowed, so if they have any chance of winning this game – that defense needs to make some plays, and not let Tannehill get comfortable and pick them apart. They are letting teams convert on 3rd down at a scary rate of 47%! Even a rookie QB can have a field day with those percentages!
So what happens? The Bills get the ball in the hands of CJ Spiller and Stevie Johnson early and often and win by 10. They will do “just enough” on defense to limit Tannehill and the offense and continue the trend of home team dominance on Thursday Night Football
Big Game – Ryan Fitzpatrick, CJ Spiller, Stevie Johnson, Dan Carpenter, Reggie Bush
Forgets to show up -Anthony Fasano