The Miami Dolphins aim to keep their playoff hopes alive as they travel to Ralph Wilson Stadium to take on the injury-depleted Buffalo Bills this Sunday. This will be the second meeting of the season between the teams, with Miami taking defeating the Bills handily, 38-10, in the first game. Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams ran wild, while the Bills' offense continued its downward spiral. Since then, Brown has been lost for the year, Buffalo's offense has gotten even worse, Dick Jauron has been fired and another Bills season has gone by the wayside. Perry Fewell will be at home in Buffalo for the first time as the Bills' interim head coach. It should be a much closer game this time around, as the Bills look to pick up their first home victory over a division rival since 2007. What do the Bills have to do take care of business and get that mythical home W?
Run at the Dolphins: Even with a depleted offensive line, I still think it's very possible to run the ball well this week. The Dolphins have placed NT Jason Ferguson on IR with a quad injury, but were already proving to be vulnerable on the ground. After allowing just 61 yards per game on the ground through four games, the Dolphins' defense has given up 136 yards per game. Fred Jackson (and Marshawn Lynch if he plays) could have a nice game assuming the offensive line isn't downright pathetic. I expect the offense to try and get the ground game going early, especially if the weather is a factor. If they can establish the ground game, look for the Bills to go play action more often than we've seen.
Get it to TO early: Maybe Terrell Owens can still get the job done. Maybe the offense can continue to look a little better with him more involved. Maybe he can make some more big plays down the stretch. One thing that does seem certain is getting the ball to TO early in the game keeps him interested and focused. That needs to continue this week. Whether or not it was the plan, Perry Fewell seemed intent on making sure TO got some looks and catches early in the game. He was open over the middle often this past week and looked great on the deep passing routes. I'd love to see more of those. Getting Lee Evans more involved, once again, should also be a priority.
Utilize Shawn Nelson: Once a game it seems like Nelson flashes his potential, but then is never heard from again (except with penalties!). With the rookie getting more and more comfortable each week, its time to start making him a bigger part of the passing game. With his size and athleticism, throwing those jump balls to him when he's single covered seem like a no-brainer. He's made a pair of great catches this year and seem routes. I'd love to see more of those, and I also would like to see him on some crossing patterns giving him the opportunity to run after the catch.
Make Henne beat them: They needed to do this in the first game, but couldn't get it done. The Dolphins ran all over Buffalo and Chad Henne only needed to complete short passes to pick up 5-10 yards at a time. In order to force Henne to make plays, the defense has to shut down Williams and the running game on 1st and 2nd downs. If they can force some 3rd and longs, I like our chances of not only forcing some punts, but also forcing some turnovers. It was too easy for Henne last time, that needs to change.
Stop turning the ball over: The Bills have turned the ball over at least twice in eight of their last nine games. No wonder this offense can put points on the board. They can't get out of their own way.
Continue playing hard for Fewell: The Bills looked a little more passionate and played a little bit tougher last week against Jacksonville than we're used to. The intensity and desire needs to continue this week in front of the faithful home crowd. I like what Fewell brings to the table energy-wise, and I like seeing it rub off on the players. Keep it up, but this time turn it into a W!
The season is on the back stretch and the Bills will be playing out the string as they prepare for a coaching change, philosophy change, hopefully a front office change and a very important draft. But until January, this team will continue playing hard and playing to win. Nothing will make a frustrated Bills fan happier this Thanksgiving than a win over the hated Dolphins. Let's go Bills!