Gameday Tipsheet: Week 14

Top 3 Individual Matchups1. Ted Ginn vs. Terrence McGee – After a less than 100 percent McGee was torched by Ginn to the tune of 175 yards, the Bills veteran corner is eager to redeem himself. Ginn's career has taken off since that game, but McGee will be ready this time.

  1. Will Allen vs. Lee Evans – Allen usually lines up on the left side, but he was assigned to Evans a good amount of the time in the first matchup. That doesn't figure to change all that much, but with Losman at quarterback for the Bills, Allen better expect to be challenged deep.
  1. Joey Porter vs. Jason Peters – Porter has had a monster season rushing the passer, but Peters is rounding into form after that long preseason holdout and has played some of his best football the past three weeks. Porter faces a much stiffer one-on-one matchup this time around.

Bills Top 2 AdvantagesGood Advantage – Run game – The Dolphins still have the 11th ranked run defense in the NFL, but Marshawn Lynch and Fred Jackson and Buffalo's offensive line have done a much better job of controlling the line of scrimmage the past three weeks. Miami struggled to keep the Rams' 27th ranked rushing attack down last Sunday. The Lynch-Jackson combo average 4.4 yards per carry in the first matchup and could have more success Sunday.

Best Advantage – Return game – Leodis McKelvin is the number one kick returner in the AFC and second in the NFL, while Roscoe Parrish ranks fourth in the league in punt return average. The Dolphins rank 31st and 32nd in punt and kick coverage. Miami better kick it out of bounds or squib a lot otherwise they might pay a big price.

Bills number one must
Control the clock – The Bills have to win the time of possession battle in this one and they can do so by depending on the running game. Buffalo's offensive line appears to have turned a corner with their run blocking and have been significantly more effective in re-setting the line of scrimmage a yard or two upfield. Miami has a better run front than the last three opponents so it won't be easy, but leaning on the run game is all the more important with backup quarterback J.P. Losman starting. A solid ground attack will keep the ball in Buffalo's possession and is low risk with respect to turnovers, which cost the Bills the game in the first matchup.

Scouting eye
Lineup shuffle: Miami has been pretty fortunate with respect to injuries this season, but did lose starting guard Justin Smiley and leading receiver Greg Camarillo to injury two weeks ago. Starting in Smiley's place has been Andy Alleman, a more athletic guard and Davone Bess has tried to fill the void for Camarillo contributing six catches for 84 yards last week.

Bess however, is a better slot receiver and not as effective outside as Camarillo was for the Dolphins. Miami's attack is still trying to adjust to the losses as evidenced by their 16-point output against St. Louis last week.

Playing keep away: Most of Miami's seven wins thus far this season have been close games, but the reason they've been able to win more than they've lost is due to their ability to control the clock in the fourth quarter. In five of their seven wins this season the Dolphins have held the ball for more than 10 minutes in the final stanza. That possession time has been essential in helping the Dolphins win because on the season Miami has only outscored manage a slight scoring edge over their opponents in the fourth quarter (69-59).

Protecting the ball: In addition to maintaining possession effectively, Miami has also done a great job of protecting the football this season. The Dolphins have the fewest turnovers in the league this season with just 10 in 12 games. They also rank second in the league in the takeaway-giveaway category where they're a plus-10.

Wildcat update: The Dolphins aren't relying on the Wildcat quite as much as they were earlier in the season, but they are still making use of it in the red zone. Buffalo was one of the more successful teams defending it this season allowing the Dolphins just 34 yards on seven plays in the first meeting between the teams (4.9 yards).

Red zone success: The Dolphins only rank 23rd in scoring, but you wouldn't know it by their red zone touchdown percentage. Miami ranks fifth in the league in red zone touchdown percentage scoring almost two-thirds of the time they crack their opponent's 20-yard line.

Naturally the Wildcat formation has been part of their success in close. But to give Miami's success in the red zone some perspective, the only AFC teams with a better touchdown percentage in the red zone are Indianapolis and Tennessee.

Porter play: Joey Porter's 14.5 sacks speak for themselves. Most of the time the Dolphins' pass rusher will line up on the open side and let fellow linebacker Matt Roth grind on the tight end. But on long drives by the opponent after Roth has worn the tight end down a bit, they'll flip Porter to the tight end side to get a more favorable matchup for Porter and thus a greater chance for a sack.

Weak deep: J.P. Losman might be the perfect defense buster for Miami provided he has time to throw. The Dolphins secondary has been victimized for a lot of big plays this season. Miami ranks 26th in the league in big plays surrendered this year. Through 12 games the Dolphins have allowed 22 plays of 25 yards or more.

Buffalo ChipsQuote of the week
"December is one of those months. This is the month where you really find out who the playoff teams are and moving forward, who's going to go. So you want to be at your best during the end of the season, so it's always a go when you come into it."
--Lee Evans

Stat of the week
In 14 of the last 18 games between the Bills and Dolphins the team that has won the time of possession has also won the game.

Milestones in reach
Lee Evans needs 22 receiving yards to pass Frank Lewis and move into fifth place in team history for career receiving yards.

Rian Lindell needs one field goal for the 200th of his career.

Marshawn Lynch needs 156 rushing yards to reach 1,000 on the season.

Leodis McKelvin needs 29 kick return yards to break Eric Moulds' rookie record of 1,205 yards.

Final note
The team that has produced an individual 100-yard rushing performance in the last nine meetings between Buffalo and Miami has emerged victorious eight times.

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