Today, the 5-9 Buffalo Bills will square off against the 6-8 Miami Dolphins in a game that, astonishingly and inexplicably, has playoff implications. Miami must win to keep its incredibly slim playoff hopes alive, while the Bills are playing out the string as has become their December custom.
For Bills fans like myself, the outcome of these late-season games is equivalent to the nature of the games themselves: meaningless. It's self-scouting season - players have even come out and said that the last two games are more about the Bills than their opponents - which means we're left to focus on specific players as we head into the 2013 off-season.
These are the five guys I'm going to be watching closely today.
C.J. Spiller. Oh, I don't expect to learn anything about Spiller today. We know what he is and isn't good at, and we know that he's a ton of fun to watch when the ball is in his hands (cough). If today happened to end with his getting 20 or more touches for the fifth time in his career, that would be lovely, Chan Gailey.
T.J. Graham. Last week, Graham got his second career start. He was terrible, catching three passes for 32 yards, dropping at least that many throws, and generally looking like he was completely and utterly out of his element. Today will be Graham's third career start. We'll know today whether or not the speedster can respond to a little adversity.
Cordy Glenn. The rookie left tackle had one of the more glaring mistakes of his rock-solid rookie season last week, giving up a sack and a forced fumble on a speed rush. He had several other mistakes throughout the game in what otherwise was a comedy of errors for the entire team; like Graham, I'm curious to see how he responds to a poor performance.
Kyle Moore. Hey, what do you know: it's another young guy looking to bounce back from a bad game. Moore was terrible against Seattle, specifically in defending the run, where he continually lost contain as Seattle racked up huge rushing yardage out of an option attack. You can expect Miami to give Buffalo that look today; Moore needs to be more assignment sound this time around.
Nick Barnett. One of the biggest personnel decisions that the team will need to make this off-season is whether or not they still consider Barnett - whose production is down significantly from a year ago - a sufficient three-down NFL linebacker. My answer to that question is 'no,' but a strong finish from Barnett could lead to a different team outcome.
Who are you interested in monitoring today, Bills fans?