Top 3 Individual Matchups
1. Lee Evans vs. Sean Smith ? Miami?s rookie cornerback has had his moments and is one of the bigger corners Evans will face this season at 6?3? 214, but Evans has had his share of success against the Dolphins in the past.
2. Kirk Chambers vs. Jason Taylor ? With Jonathan Scott manning the left tackle position with Demetrius Bell out, the veteran Chambers will be at right tackle. Jason Taylor operates as an outside linebacker now, but he?ll still be a primary pass rushing weapon. Chambers will have to be at his best to handle the league?s active sack leader.
3. Geoff Hangartner vs. Jason Ferguson ? Having both previously played in the NFC, Hangartner and Ferguson have faced each other before. At age 34 Ferguson is still effective at playing two gaps and often demands the double team. Hangartner will get some assistance most likely from Andy Levitre, but handling Ferguson will be a key to a productive run game.
Bills Top 2 Advantages
Good advantage ? quarterback ? Buffalo has the more seasoned signal caller, who is less likely to be rattled by new defensive looks or disguised coverages. Trent Edwards has to be more effective than Chad Henne in this game.
Best advantage - pass game matchups ? The Bills talent at wide receiver is far superior to what the Dolphins have to offer on the corners. Whether it?s enough to pull Miami out of their man coverage calls remains to be seen, but both Lee Evans and Terrell Owens are mismatches against their respective counterparts.
Bills Number 1 Must
Connect on big play opportunities ? The Dolphins have played three playoff teams from last season to start the year and have lost to all of them to start 0-3. Miami however, has been in every game. The difference for Miami between winning and losing has been the big play. Buffalo has big play weapons and must connect on at least half of their handful of big play opportunities in the game for a chance to win.
The other ChadWith Chad Pennington out for the season, the Dolphins offense, which hasn?t exactly been explosive to begin with, may become even more conservative with Chad Henne now under center. Henne has a big arm, but how often he?ll be given license to use it remains to be seen.
The general consensus is that the Dolphins will lean even more on their run game and Wildcat set to support Henne, allowing him to simply manage the game and make some third down conversions to keep drives alive.
Henne was 10-19 for 92 yards last week in relief of Pennington with a costly interception return for a touchdown that put the game out of reach for the Dolphins. Sunday will be his first career NFL start.
Success against Tampa 2
The Bills will bring their Tampa 2 style defense down to Miami on Sunday. And while Perry Fewell has put his own stamp on it, the Dolphins have demonstrated good success against teams that run that defensive system.
In Week 2 against Indianapolis, the Dolphins rolled up 239 yards rushing on 49 carries (4.9 avg.), scoring a pair of touchdowns on the ground as well. They converted 15 of their 21 third down situations (71%) and held the ball for over 45 minutes en route to putting 23 points on the board. Yes, they lost, but that had more to do with the performance of a future Hall of Fame quarterback on the other sideline than anything else.
Susceptible to big playsIn the Dolphins last two losses their defense has been exposed on the back end. Miami plays a good deal of man coverage and over the past two weeks they?ve been victimized. Against Indianapolis they gave up plays of 24, 48, 49 and 80 yards. Two of those plays went for touchdowns and all four led to points for the Colts.
Against San Diego they gave up plays of 30, 47 and 55 yards. Two of those plays led to points (1 TD, 1 FG) while the other put the Chargers in position for points, but a 41-yard field goal attempt failed.
Even against Atlanta in the opener though the Falcons biggest plays went for 20, 21 and 22 yards, all three led to points (2 TDs, 1 FG).
Run stuffersPart of the reason opponents have gotten big plays is because Miami commits to stop the run and in most cases succeeds. The Dolphins rank third in the league in run defense allowing just 66 yards per game on the ground, with the front of Kendall Langford, Jason Ferguson and Randy Starks a formidable trio. Atlanta?s Michael Turner (65 yards) and San Diego?s Darren Sproles (41 yards) were each held to 3.0 and 2.3 yards per carry in their games against the Dolphins.
Porter-Taylor pass rush tandemWith Jason Taylor making his return to the Dolphins this offseason after a one-year stint in Washington, Miami has one of the most prolific pass rush tandems in football.
Taylor has more sacks than any other active player over the past 10 years (105) and Porter stands fourth in that same category (85). Both are lined up as outside linebackers in Miami?s 3-4 defensive scheme.
Porter, who had four sacks in two games against the Bills last season, is listed as questionable for Sunday?s game with a hamstring injury. It should be noted however, that Porter was also listed as questionable last week, but started against the Chargers and played 25 plays. In his 11-year career, Porter has missed just six games.
Physical groupEvery team in the NFL brings a measure of physicality to the game, but the Dolphins are the true definition of a smash-mouth team on both sides of the ball. Proof of this comes in the offense?s grind-it-out style on the ground and the defense?s aggressive tackling.
After last week?s game against San Diego, Chargers head coach Norv Turner made a point of mentioning to Dolphins head coach Tony Sparano that he thought Sparano had one of the most physical teams he?s seen in a while.
Quote of the Week
?For us to be down two safeties and our starting corner we have to get out there this week and fly around. The main thing is having the right mindset and right attitude. Don?t be concerned about making a mistake. You?re not going to play the perfect game. Just go out, play hard, have fun and take on any adversity that comes our way.?
--SS George Wilson
Stat of the WeekTrent Edwards has 4 touchdowns, one interception and a 92 passer rating in two career starts against Miami.
Milestones in reach
Trent Edwards is 73 passing yards from 5,000 in his career.
Terrell Owens needs one touchdown to take sole possession of fourth place on the NFL?s all-time touchdown list.
Josh Reed needs three catches to move past Bob Chandler and Elbert Dubenion for sixth-most catches in team history.
Final noteIn his career Fred Jackson has averaged 6.2 yards per carry against the Dolphins (25 carries, 156 yards).