DETROIT - SEPTEMBER 02: Buffalo Bills head coach Chan Gailey watches the action during the fouth quarter of the preseason game at Ford Field on September 2 2010 in Detroit Michigan. The Lions defeated the Bills 28-23. (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images)
This morning, we'll continue our preview series for this weekend's matchup between the Buffalo Bills and Miami Dolphins with Matt Infante from The Phinsider. Over at his blog, we've already broken down three keys to a Miami victory (a post that includes my rebuttals to his keys); we'll have the same format here. I've given Matt my three biggest keys to a Buffalo win, and he's offered his rebuttals for your amusement.
1. Find a way to make Miami's defenders think. The Dolphins have a young defense, but they got faster and more aggressive in their front seven. They'll come after the run hard and make Trent Edwards try to beat them over the top; it's a recipe that has worked very well for them. Chan Gailey has got to find a way to keep Miami's defense off-balance early; C.J. Spiller and Roscoe Parrish figure to be key in that effort. Once Miami tempers the early aggression and tries to figure out what's coming next, that's when the Bills can exploit the youth of the defense and make some plays. They need to open up that can first, though.
Matty's Rebuttal: I agree with everything that is said. If Chan Gailey is smart, he will do whatever he can to keep Mike Nolan's young defense off balance. I'll be looking for screen passes and draws that could exploit Miami's defense - especially with Spiller, as you said. But you have to imagine that Nolan - one of the best defensive coordinators in the game - is preparing his players for this very issue. And if I'm choosing between an offense coached by Chan Gailey or a defense coached by Mike Nolan, I'm going with Nolan every day of the week - and twice on Sunday.
2. Make absolutely certain that Edwards makes it through the game. The Dolphins have pummeled Edwards in the last two times they've faced him, getting big pressure and a lot of hits in the process. Buffalo's got some one-on-one talent to get by with max protections early in the game. This also ties into key one; if the Bills can get Miami's defense on its heels even a little bit, they'll be able to relax their protection schemes a little bit and get more players on Edwards' fingertips.
Matty's Rebuttal: I'm not so sure the Dolphins will want to take Edwards out of the game. I'm going to be honest for a minute - I don't see what Buffalo sees in this guy as a starting quarterback. Now I haven't seen Edwards that much - don't get me wrong. But I'd be far more worried about Ryan Fitzpatrick than Edwards. Though I want to see the Dolphins making Edwards uncomfortable in the pocket because I think he'll be prone to mistakes, I do hope he makes it through the entire game. Much like the Bills want to make Chad Henne beat them, the Dolphins are going to make sure it's Edwards who has to beat them.
3. Be the more opportunistic team. Despite all the hype Miami is getting - and it's not undeserved, for the most part - this is a highly winnable game for the left-for-dead Bills. They get Miami at home, a little banged up and with a lot of new question marks. The Bills don't need to be airtight on both sides of the ball, but they cannot beat themselves with penalties and turnovers, and they need to capitalize on the opportunities they do get. Those opportunities can't be left on the field. This Dolphins team is well-coached and technically sound, and it will take an opportunistic Bills team to beat them. It's very possible; they just can't let it slip through their fingers. They need to play beyond their years.
Matty's Rebuttal: I completely agree. Some Dolphin fans are thinking this game is an easy win for Miami. I'm not one of them. The Dolphins are suddenly much younger and more inexperienced than in years past - though probably with more physical talent. But there are new pieces on both sides of the ball and nobody really knows how they will come together. Like it says above, the Dolphins are definitely a well-coached team. But they were well-coached last year, too, and still turned the ball over 29 times. If you were to tell me we will be sitting here Sunday night talking about a Dolphins' loss, I'll tell you the number one headline from the game will be the number of turnovers committed by the Dolphins.