By Jeremiah Thermidor
The Bills visit Sun Life Stadium this weekend as they try to snap a two-game losing skid versus a Dolphins squad coming off an impressive victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars. Buffalo suffered a 50-17 blowout loss against Seattle last Sunday, in a game which saw Bills quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick pass for 217 yards, a touchdown and two interceptions.
Fitzpatrick, who has thrown at least one interception in Buffalo’s last four games, will try to limit his mistakes in this matchup. The Dolphins, however, will be looking to capitalize and force some turnovers. Fitzpatrick is going to be counting on his No. 1 receiver Stevie Johnson to make big plays in this one. Johnson put forth his best performance of the season against the Seahawks, catching eight passes for 115 yards and a touchdown.
As for Buffalo’s running game, tailback C.J. Spiller is sure to be problematic for Miami’s defense as he was in the first matchup played between the two teams this season. The Dolphins, who lost to the Bills 19-14 in Week 11, allowed Spiller to rush for 91 yards. Spiller surpassed 1,000 yards on the ground for the first time in his career when he ran for 103 yards on 17 carries last weekend. He’s also had his best year catching the ball with 37 receptions for 352 yards and a touchdown. “He can score a touchdown when he gets his hands on the ball,” Dolphins head coach Joe Philbin said regarding Spiller. “He’s got elusiveness, he’s got speed and he’s got instinct. The guy is a fine player. When you watch him on tape he’s impressive.”
Miami starting tailback Reggie Bush has a chance to reach 1,000 rushing yards this Sunday. It would be the second-straight season he’s accomplished the feat. He’s only 105 yards away and has a pretty good shot at doing so against a Bills team which hasn’t done a good job this year at defending premier running backs. Buffalo has one of the worst rushing defenses in the league this season, allowing teams to pick up an average of 144.1 yards on the ground. Last week, the Bills allowed Seattle star running back Marshawn Lynch to rush for 113 yards and a touchdown. Bush will be getting a lot more touches this weekend since No. 2 running back Daniel Thomas, whom he has split carries with this year, will miss the final two games of the season with a knee injury. Miami third-string running back Lamar Miller will also get a lot of action on Sunday.
Miami’s receiving core may be without two of its best players as both Brian Hartline and Davone Bess are dealing with back injuries. Bess, of course, missed the first regular-season game of his career last Sunday with the injury, while Hartline sat out practice Thursday after being limited on Wednesday. Hartline missing practice on Thursday indicates his condition has worsened. So, the Dolphins will likely be leaning on guys such as Marlon Moore, Rishard Mathews and perhaps even Armon Binns to step up in this matchup.
The Miami Dolphins (6-8) will play host to the Buffalo Bills (5-9) on Sunday at 1 p.m. eastern. You can watch full coverage of the game right here on CBS 4.
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Jeremiah Thermidor is a freelance writer covering all things Miami Dolphins. His work can be found on Examiner.com.