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Countdown To Kickoff: Dolphins At Bills

Posted Nov 12, 2012

A first look at this Thursday night's AFC East battle.


GAME FACTS

DATE: Thurday, Nov. 15
TIME: 8:20 p.m. ET
SITE: Ralph Wilson Stadium
TV: NFL Network (Brad Nessler, play-by-play; Mike Mayock, analysis)

THE SERIES
SERIES RECORD: Miami leads 56-39-1 (including playoffs)
AT MIAMI Dolphins lead 31-16-1
AT BUFFALO: Dolphins lead 24-23
AT TORONTO: Dolphins lead 1-0
LAST MEETING: 2012 at Buffalo; Dolphins 30, Bills 23
SERIES TREND: The Dolphins have had the upper hand of late, winning six of the last eight meetings. Miami recorded sweeps in both 2008 and 2011, and the teams split in 2009 and 2010.
SERIES HIGHLIGHT: Two of the Dolphins’ top four individual rushing performances — and the top two on the road — have come against Buffalo, the last of which was Reggie Bush’s 203-yard outing last December. Bush capped off his magical day with a 76-yard touchdown with 4:51 left that gave the Dolphins a 30-13 lead. The Bills made the final score more respectable with two late scores.

SCOUTING REPORT
BILLS’ RECORD: 3-6
LAST GAME:Lost at New England, 37-31
OVERVIEW: The Bills entered the season with high hopes after an offseason shopping spree that brought in defensive ends Mario Williams and Mark Anderson, but Buffalo appears headed for a 13th consecutive year out of the playoffs after dropping five of its last six games.
THE BILLS’ STRENGTH ON OFFENSE: As has been the case for the past few years, the Bills are loaded at running back with Fred Jackson and C.J. Spiller. Jackson was injured late in Sunday’s game at New England, which might mean a bigger work load for Spiller, who’s averaging a remarkable 7.3 yards per rushing attempt this season.
THE BILLS’ QUESTION MARK ON OFFENSE: The Bills have scored 28 points or more in five of their nine games, so they have offensive firepower. They also have a bad habit of turning the ball over. Buffalo easily could have beaten the Patriots on Sunday, but Jackson fumbled the ball at the New England 1-yard line and Ryan Fitzpatrick was intercepted in the end zone in the final minute.
THE BILLS’ STRENGTH ON DEFENSE: Despite the additions of Williams and Anderson, the Bills still give up a lot of yardage. What they’ve done well, however, it take the ball away. Safeties Jairus Byrd and Bryan Scott are particularly good at it, with four takeaways each through the first nine games.
THE BILLS’ QUESTION MARK ON DEFENSE: The Bills have struggled at times in pass defense, but their real problem on defense has been stopping the run. Buffalo is dead last in the league in both rushing yards allowed per game and per attempt.
THE BILLS’ STRENGTH ON SPECIAL TEAMS: This is nothing new, but the Bills have very good returners. Leodis McKelvin is among the leading punt returners with a 19.5-yard average and he has an 88-yard touchdown against Kansas City already this season. McKelvin is also averaging 29.1 yards on kickoff returns, while Brad Smith returned a kickoff 89 yards for a touchdown against Tennessee.
THE BILLS’ QUESTION MARK ON SPECIAL TEAMS: Buffalo actually has been pretty good in every facet of the special teams this season, with Rian Lindell making 9 of his 10 field goal attempts and Shawn Powell averaging a healthy 45 yards per punt. Buffalo did give up a punt return for a touchdown in its opener when the Jets’ Jeremy Kerley took one back 68 yards.



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