« Playoffs: Dolphins could be in or out this weekend | Main | Bills sound the alarm on Dolphins -- won't work »

Keys to the game: Dolphins at Bills

I picked the Dolphins to beat the Bills on Sunday.

I don't believe Thad Lewis, who started at quarterback the first meeting between the teams and helped the Bills to victory, can author another win against Miami.

Here are the matchups: 

When the Dolphins pass the football: The Bills get after the quarterback and it is not just about Mario Williams. Yes, Williams leads the team with 12 sacks – only 2.5 shy of establishing a career best – but Buffalo has four players with at least eight sacks. That’s the reason they lead the NFL with 49. So what’s the answer? Throw quickly. Throw on early downs. Avoid throwing out of necessity. Ryan Tannehill is having a fine month. He’s spreading the ball around to a handful of receiver and the locking down of any one of them does not upend the Miami passing game. So while the Bills have a major advantage at the line of scrimmage, the Dolphins enjoy a major advantage down the field. ADVANTAGE: Even.

When the Dolphins run the football: Daniel Thomas, hobbled for a couple of weeks with an ankle injury, is hobbled again with an ankle injury. He may not play. That definitely signals another week in which Lamar Miller will be allowed to carry most of the load rather than share 20-25 carries with Thomas. The Bills offer fertile ground for running the ball. They’re 26th in the NFL against the run. They’re not much better (23rd) in rushing yards per attempt, which confirms the previous statistic. The questions that matter here are the Dolphins going to stick with the run when it doesn’t work? And will offensive coordinator use the run to play situational football if the opportunity presents? The answer to both questions in the first meeting was no. ADVANTAGE: Miami.

When the Bills run the football: C.J. Spiller was hobbled the last time the teams met and that’s why he rushed only six times for 11 yards. But he’s healthy and playing more like the guy who last season rung up 130 yards from scrimmage against Miami. Spiller is averaging 4.6 yards per carry but the Dolphins can hope poor conditions will slow his wide runs and mitigate his speed. The Dolphins, once a top-10 team against the run, are a shadow of that now. The Dolphins are No. 22 against the run and that’s when run-stuff Paul Soliai is 100 percent healthy. He’s not now, as he’s nursing a tender ankle. Look for the Bills to use the running game as their primary weapon as long as the game is close. ADVANTAGE: Buffalo.

When the Bills pass the football: The biggest surprise of the week came when coach Doug Marrone announced that starting quarterback E.J. Manuel would not start against Miami and would be replaced by Thad Lewis. This suggests a windfall for the Dolphins because Lewis was a practice squad quarterback when the season began and obviously is a backup at best. But the backup helped author Buffalo’s October victory over the Dolphins so overconfidence cannot be a wise thing for Miami. Unlike the end of last week’s game, the Dolphins expect to have all their starting defensive backs available for this game. The Bills will be without receiver Stevie Johnson. ADVANTAGE: Miami.

Special teams: The Dolphins exiled Dan Carpenter before the season began – picking rookie Caleb Sturgis over the veteran. The Bills gladly signed Carpenter. The Dolphins were right to do what they did, based on the salary because they saved money. But Carpenter has been better than Sturgis in 2013. The Bills are 11th in field goal percentage with Carpenter. The Dolphins are 27th in field goal percentage with Sturgis. Leodis McKelvin, who last year had a punt return TD in Buffalo against Miami, hasn’t returned one for a score all this season. If that trend continues, it would mark the first time since 2010 McKelvin is held without a return TD. ADVANTAGE: Buffalo

Coaching: Joe Philbin has his team on a three-game win streak and the playoffs beckon if the team can close out the season with two more wins. That is commendable considering the Dolphins suffered a four-game losing skid, lost to winless Tampa Bay and had an NFL scandal to deal with this season. Doug Marrone was a good-not-great coach at Syracuse. He’s working toward becoming a good coach in the NFL. He’s a work in progress. ADVANTAGE: Miami

Comments

Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Weather may factor so play action setting up quick slants could prove to be a winner. Go Phins.

You know we stink when everyone is sooo worried about the crappy Bills. LOL

Armando, no fumbles
no int's
no penalties are the keys Eh?

You know we stink when everyone is sooo worried about the crappy Bills. LOL
Posted by: Jay | December 21, 2013 at 10:41 AM
Eh Eh Eh jajajaja.The HOMERS don't know what to do Eh?

I pick the Phins to win by more than a TD and continue their roll. The team is looking good, playing inspired AND has confidence. I like how Philbin has these guys playing loose right now. The interview where he defined swagger was very funny.

Thanks Mando. Happy holidays.

Jeff Ireland has more busts than Dolly Parton!

Got to stop or contain Spiller. Lets not wait till the 2 min warning of the 1st half to get going on offence. T-Hill has to get accurate on those deep sidline passes that he's been underthrowing or ovwerthrowing. It's hudge for this team because it means scoring around 8-10 more points per game if they can hit on one or two of them. Have to run for around at least 80 yards total to keep the pass ruch off T-Hill. And, Sherman has to call plays that will nullify the aggressive Bills Defence. I see the Bill stacking 7 on the line with bump & run corners. Have to put a reciever in motion on almost every down. please get Dion Sims involved in the passing game. How about 7-8 targets to him in this game? He can be a match up nightmare for the Bills who will be focused on Charles Clay. I disagree with the posts that call the Bills a bad team. CJ Spiller is a tuff runner & they lead the league in sacks. These two teams know eachother very well. This is not going to be a walk in the park. Moderate temps should help us. Bottom line, Game is in T-Hills hands. We'll win if he has time to throw.

Posted by: noreastdolfan | December 21, 2013 at 11:06 AM

Canadiens are clueless.

..So there has been some local debate about which matchup is the tougher for the Phins..Buffalo, the jets...Who knows.

What I do know is that the jet game doesn't matter right now. If the team prepares with the same collective attitude as some of our bloggers(thank goodness they do not..I hope) Next weeks game win or lose could be of no consequence.

So IMO..This week makes this game a more difficult game because there is more on the line. We cannot, or should not count on a teams losing to control our fate. For this reason, and because this game is on the road...It makes it the more difficult of the 2 remaining.

Now shall we win. We can revisit. If we lose...it may not matter.

alittle more play action too, sherman. atleast try to disguise the fact you want to throw every time on first down.

Coach of the year candidate Joe Philbin has this team playing hard in December.

I believe the Fins won't take this game for granted. his coaching staff has big goals. And Philbin & Co. Usually play a team better the second time around.

Not the second half. But The Rematch.

Pats game was byyyyyy......far the best game I've seen Tannehill play to date. Never seen the ball EXPLODE out his hand the way it did Sunday. Not only that, it arrived at his target with LASER like PRECISION.

Firs half of Pats game the protection was a little rocky(3 SACKS), but its been "blessing in disguise" Cogs/Martin are no longer manning the left side. Here's Why:

"The Patriots had noticed a little tendency in how Brenner was coming off the ball at the snap in the first half that left enough of a crease between him and McKinnie for their pass rushers to get to Tannehill. McKinnie helped correct that glitch with a true veteran move.

“They were just running a pick stunt so he was just saying, ‘come off the ball with me a little bit so we can pick this up easier,’ and it worked,” Brenner said."

Then Brenner Says:

“That’s just experience and something I wouldn’t have recognized so it was great to see it work and to find a solution in-game like that just coming from a veteran.

Jonathan Martin would not have known this. Neither would a rookie LT coming in next year. McKinnie/Brenner proving a very valuable upgrade over Cogs/Martin. Good riddance to both.

Resign McKinnie, enough said!

Pats game was byyyyyy......far the best game I've seen Tannehill play to date. Never seen the ball EXPLODE out his hand the way it did Sunday. Not only that, it arrived at his target with LASER like PRECISION.

Firs half of Pats game the protection was a little rocky(3 SACKS), but its been "blessing in disguise" Cogs/Martin are no longer manning the left side. Here's Why:

"The Patriots had noticed a little tendency in how Brenner was coming off the ball at the snap in the first half that left enough of a crease between him and McKinnie for their pass rushers to get to Tannehill. McKinnie helped correct that glitch with a true veteran move.

“They were just running a pick stunt so he was just saying, ‘come off the ball with me a little bit so we can pick this up easier,’ and it worked,” Brenner said."

Then Brenner Says:

“That’s just experience and something I wouldn’t have recognized so it was great to see it work and to find a solution in-game like that just coming from a veteran.

Jonathan Martin would not have known this. Neither would a rookie LT coming in next year. McKinnie/Brenner proving a very valuable upgrade over Cogs/Martin. Good riddance to both.

Resign McKinnie, enough said!

Philbon has to go for it on fouth and short from the 30 to the 35 in Bills territory. Sturgis is also not what we thought he was at this stage in the season, very unreliable kicker.

We really need to take shots at the endzone in this game and put the Bills under pressure to throw the ball early. Their backs are really good and we haev been unable to stop the run this year. Letss Philbins BALLS, out nice and shiney.

Bremner, is the new Harry Galbreath it seems. McKinnie is the best black LT we have had since Richmond Webb and Clabo is playing like Ron Heller.

Now we need Tanno to play like Marino for a shot at the playoffs.


Philbon has to go for it on fouth and short from the 30 to the 35 in Bills territory. Sturgis is also not what we thought he was at this stage in the season, very unreliable kicker.

Posted by: Harry Styles | December 21, 2013 at 12:16 PM

Going for it on 4th down greatly depends on 1st down Distance. 30-35yd line = 47-52yd fg. 4th and more than 2, we're far better, field position wise, to punt and pin the opponent inside the 10yd line.

We can not disregard distance and go for it on 4th down all willy-nilly. Also, the "GAME SITUATION" itself must be taken into HEAVY consideration. One wrong decision could have this coaching staff sitting atop its own dick.

best black LT? agree with going for it on 4th and short but only around 40 to 50 yard line. our D should hold in case we fail to convert. go dolphins!!

Styles my bad, you did say 4TH and SHORT.

Dol and Sam, I said from the Bills 30-35 on fourth and short.

Sturgis is bad enough in good weather let alone Buffalo. We only risk losing a risky 3 points and maybe 15 yards or so even if the pouch kick works.

When we are aggresive we have done well this year. the last thing we want is another situation where we have to score or stop a score inside the last two minutes. With the short and quick passing attack we have or even Tanno running we can at least convert half of these, hell even try to draw them offsides. We go up early and this one is over Thad Lewis aint a comeback kid. against the Jets we missed several chances to go up by about 21-17 and we went in 6-0 up against the worst Jets O we have ever faced.

If we fail on those 4th and 1 or 2 yard plays, Bills get the ball back at the 33, 35 of their own territory. Still have to get around 40 yards for a try at a FG, I'll take that against our D.

It wasn't the bills that won the game against the dolphins, it was the O Line losing the game for dolphins. The way things are now, I suspect it will be a good game. Big concern is Spiller, if he starts to shred the defense, then the fins are in trouble, outside of that fins have a big edge. The other concern is Caleb Sturgis! Coaching will be key, not during the game, but leading up to it. Fins have had some big emotional wins, coaches have to find a way to prevent the team from running out of steam and emotion.

Spiller and the screen could kill us all day. We have to put someone on him, maybe even Carroll, or Thomas. No way Wheeler or any of the safties could catch him.

If I was the Bills I'd look at what the Saints did to us with Sproles and go for the carbon copy plays as this. OLB will may be better with Jenkins ans Jordan coming in on passing downs for Wheeler, he is a weak link on D for us all year, Im getting sick of his weak tackling and poor positioning.

McKinnie already said this is his last season.


It wasn't the bills that won the game against the dolphins, it was the O Line losing the game for dolphins.

Posted by: dolfnman | December 21, 2013 at 12:51 PM


Turnovers are often key. Tannehill had 2 picks to go along with with Mario Williams sack/fumble, leading to the winning Carpenter fg.

IMO, the most crucial turnover, easily Tannehill's pic 6. Without the score's, Fins 21 Bills 16. I would go as far to say, Fins 21 Bills 13, the Mario Williams sack/fumble game winning fg never has chance to happen.

Clearly, the Tannehill pic 6 changed the way Sherman called the game. Clearly, the pic 6 happened on what was clearly a terrible read by Tannehill.

Clearly, Tannehill can not allow this to happen again Sunday. Then CLEARLY we will be in great position to win tomorrow's game.


McKinnie already said this is his last season.

Posted by: FYI | December 21, 2013 at 01:08 PM


Even if this is so, I much rather go after a LT in fa, than draft a rookie LT sitting in perhaps the 20th to 25th position of the draft. We could possibly be reaching at a 2ND RD LT, using our 1ST RD PICK.

Remember, Jonathan Martin was a 2ND RD LT. With where we'll be picking(20th-25th.. etc)we may be far better going with the experience of fa to protect Tanne's backside.

The "crappy" Bills, w/practice-squadder Thad Lewis, have already whipped us once.
Look for Sturgis to cost us this game. r

Even sign a fa LT, allows more time to see if Dallas Thomas can be developed into anything, or cut bait after 2-3 seasons.

Still, I would love to get 1-2 more years out of McKinnie. His wealth of vet-experience would be a boon to our younger olinemen.

I don't know that Mac's actions are that of a guy not playing next year. Where did someone see the quote that he was not playing next year. FYI...Please post the link. I read almost all of the Phins websites and I have never seen that anywhere.

There would be no reason to void the final year in his contract for next year if that were the case.

Will not see bacon. Will not see pancakes.

The boy on Lost in Space gave mints to lesbians.

If we draft in the 20-27 range, take a good look when Ohio St. plays their bowl, and take a good look at Carlos Hyde, the running back.

Not saying he's the answer to our running back woes. Just look. That would be a better choice, if deemed worthy, then reaching for a LT. We could get a promising G in the second. And either convince McKinnie to give it one more year or use free agency for our LT.

Or we could do what the Pats do each year and trade down into the top half of the second and pick up another 2 or 3. That, more then likely, wouldn't solve our LT problem. But might secure us one of the best guards in the draft. Also either this coming draft or the next we will need another DT. That might be a FA pick up this year.

FYI...That's it...you likely read where he voided his final year of the contract and assumed he's not playing next year. Or possibly are looking to stretch the truth to fit your agenda. Wrong...

The facts...He and the Phins mutually agreed to void the final year if he played well. It makes no logical sense to do that unless you are going to play the next year. In other words he wants a better deal.

SHOULD BE AN EASY WIN TOMORROW

What's up phellas?
I don't post as much when we are winning, I just can't bash the team, mgmt or phans when we are winning.

Enjoy the game!

Oh, and Hyde is averaging over 7 yds. per carry while carrying 238 lbs. Over 1400 yards on 183 carries. He was suspended for the first 3 games because of an alleged bar fight. I think or coaching staff has learned that young men sometimes do stupid things. And they can grow , with guidance, out of these types of problems. At least I hope they've learned. Hell look how professional McKinnie is.

Good thinking Truth, hadn't thought along those lines. Which would mean that the need for a starting LT to be automatically drafted in the first would come down significantly.

RB in first round? Highly unlikely & a misguided decision, if it were to happen.

Can't argue with that, after all look at Trent Richardson. Drafted in the top 5 by the Browns and after a year and a half showed nothing and was traded to Indy for their first. Which will be in the vicinity of 22-27. Lots of value lost, Look what he's done in Indy...nothing! Lots of draft value lost by a second team.

Drafting a running back in the first might not be prudent but take a look at him against Clemson. Granted their not all that good a defensive team but what the hell, look anyway.

The weather tomorrow is being blown out of proportion. According to weather.com, between 12-2 there is 10% chance of rain & between 3-4 it's 30% chance of showers.

Wind will be there all day between 10-16 mph. It's also going to be high 40's up to 50 degrees during the game. Weather will not dictate the outcome. Eliminate the int for 6 pts & the int in the end zone which cost another 6 points & RUN THE BALL WITH THE LEAD & DO NOT THROW.

If Brenner is the answer at LG, then the real holes to fill on the OL in the offseason is RG & RT. McKinney should be brought back for a 1 year deal. The guy is playing OK for only being here a short period of time & is gigantic. Imagine how good he can be when he actually learns the playbook. He admittedly doesn't know it well.

Resign Grimes, McKinney & Soliai. Sign or draft a RG & RT & find a competent every down RB who can run, pass, & block. I know playoff possibilities exist this year but, I really feel with a bit more tinkering, this team is ready to compete seriously next year. With a Healthy Gibson, Matthews, Wallace & Hartline & an adequate line, Tannehill has nough to lead us to a Championship.

um doesnt any one remember that the fins were in the hunt last year to up until the final game.the pats game was meaningless because the fins, while winning week 16 so did the other team they were racing against and that essentialy doomed them.so yes the did play meaningful games last december but didnt control their own destiny.the difference last year, is roughly in week 10 or 11 the fins did control their destiny but promptly went on a 4 game losing streak.so far this year they have done the opposite

As I said, resigning McKinnie to, say a 3yr contract, buy valuable time to develop Dallas Thomas. If Thomas' development goes well, in a season or two, it would be the equivalency of drafting a 1st rd LT.

If not, McKinnie sticking around a couple more seasons, buys time to even find another LT in fa. I say fa, because if Tannehill develops by leaps and bounds, we'll be drafting pretty much in the HIGH 20's for the next 10yrs.

With McKinnie here and playing well right now, I absolutely do not see ANY REASON to draft a LT 1st rd in 2014, nor to sign a fa LT in 2013. Especially when we can at least 2 more quality seasons from McKinnie for far less against the cap.

While also buying time to possibly develop Dallas Thomas. If he isn't ready to become starting LT in 2 more seasons, then we go to plan B, which would be to acquire a starting LT.

Brenner has the LG spot on lockdown right now. So, with no urgent needs, bpa should be the best route to go, even if it's RG. I say RG, if, he's a MODERATE upgrade to John Jerry.

oh ya dusty u still think incognito is better than brenner.or mckinney not better than any rookie LT.or that eifert is better than clay is now?

Lets just pray its not Ireland doing the draft next year.

or how about those roasters of ireland for drafting jordan.while jordan hasnt done much this year you can see the massive amount of potential there,frankly id be more dissapointed if we did draft milliner or eifert like many of you wanted to draft....and how bout irelands acorns now//they looking more like the size of watermelons now biches

Go for a FS or OLB in the 1st. We really need to address this position on D. Trade Wheeler and Jones for picks, they both are pretty awful.

The backs in the 2-3 round are pretty good prospects too, like Carlos Hyde, Jeremy Hill. All that goes away though if thomas can come good for us in the last 2 weeks, as Gillislee and Miller may well be here next year ?

With Cogs, we got far more than or money's worth. We acquired him for less than a bologna sandwich. Meaning we also lose nothing in parting ways with him.

Brenner's looking like in a season or two, he could be pushing for being one of the better LG's in the league. The Cogs/Martin mess, every day, seems to be more blessed than messed for or oline.

Ross should hire Kiper or Mayock to do our draft next year.

Ireland should be fired for bringing jackass Incognito and wussy Martin to the Fins.

Sam,

I think Mckinnie could come back for one more year. He seems to love playing here and in the warm climate of Miami he is more likely to push his body through one last camp, he also will be playing for a team onthe rise.

As a leader he's been like a Chad Pennington acorn. If I was to buy a new jersey for Xmas, after Clay, it would be a McKinnie, hardy ha.


Ross should hire Kiper or Mayock to do our draft next year.

Posted by: Shula | December 21, 2013 at 02:37 PM


Do you think that there's a reason 32 NFL OWNERS undeniably disagree?

You or I can watch youtube highlights and begin ranking players. 1ST RD is easiest because those are the names you hear most throughout the college season.

There's a reason Kiper/Mayock have yet to be granted a NFL GM interview, nevertheless an actual gmship.

If we make the playoffs Ireland is staying, like it or not.

Here's the reality...to all you pretend fans/trolls so choke it down...The Phins will win tomorrow and that should guarantee Ireland will be back next year. AND do us fans a favor and save us your normal babble because you are horrible at evaluating talent and who is best for this team.


Posted by: Harry Styles | December 21, 2013 at 02:40 PM

Removing Cogs from the quotient, then adding McKinnie, may have actually changed the culture surrounding the oline. McKinnie's a partier, but baller too. He really proved his worth Sunday alerting Brenner to an adjustment Brenner needed to make to offset the success the Pats d-line had began to have in the pass rush.

Brenner made the suggested "IN-GAME" adjustment suggested by McKinnie and Tannehill "STAYED CLEAN" the rest of the day.

Cogs was a douchbag and Martin was too weak. McKinnie, class act and leader, Bremner warrior, thats a real upgrade. Lets not forget Garner too, he really can play any position and should be back next year also. Dallas may develop into a decent RT, but he doesn't look athletic enough to play LT.

I've not been a fan of Ireland for roughly 3 years. Each year I care for the fellow a little bit less. Hard to explain yet he's placed some talent all around this team. He's always given me the impression that he thinks he's the smartest guy in the room. And with that apparent smugness he clearly isn't. His press conferences, haven't seen him lately, were always forced. It's like 'why should I talk to the peons when my way is the only way whether they know it or not'.

He's done some things right, there's no denying it. But my confidence in letting him go forward with his duties isn't strong.

I guess he's one of the people you come across in life that you just don't like. And that's not a reason to fire him!

If we make the playoffs Ireland is staying, like it or not.

Posted by: Harry Styles | December 21, 2013 at 02:44 PM

Then lets PRAY we dont make the playoffs.

Signal..
I'll check him out for sure.... It's just that recent trend in nfl, & Richardson is the exception that proves the rule, is no1st round for RBs, gind 'em lster. Ido remember, however, coveting Spiller & McVlusky coming out of college.

Find em later.
McClusky.
Pardon the lousy spelling.

Not sure if it's been mentioned above or not, but using Thiegpen may be wise in the base offense to first force the Bills to account for him out of the backfield or in the slot with a DB or LB which in turn could slow the rush from the outside a tad. Short paases in space may prove to be an advantage in bad weather. Also, if the Bills use a DB or LB to cover it would open up the seam and/or the edge for Clay. Let's see id this does occur.

McKinnie said he wanted to play 3 years before this season started, so I could see him going another year or 2.

Carlso Hyde is very tough to bring down and with some O-line help I imagine he would solve most of our O-line issues.

Ireland has place talent around the team like it has been mentioned and after Parcells left he picked Pouncey, Clay, Jimmy Wilson, Tannehill, Vernon, Rishard Matthews, Miller, Daniel Thomas. He also got Brenner as undrafted free agent the Michael Thomas signing was nice.

This team will make the playoffs and he will be around next year.

Please look at my twitter feed.

1 2 »

The comments to this entry are closed.