Big Fellas Up Front Key to Miami Dolphins' Success

By Scott Feder
Ryan Tannehill
Robert Mayer-USA TODAY Sports

With the Miami Dolphins hosting the Buffalo Bills this weekend, one of the biggest factors of the game will be the Dolphins’ ability to shut down the Buffalo running attack of C.J. Spiller and Fred Jackson. The Bills are unlikely to put the game completely in the hands of their young quarterback Thad Lewis and will rely heavily on their running game to control the flow of the game.

Coming into their Week 7 match-up with the Bills, Miami’s run defense is ranked 7th in the league allowing just over 105 yards per game on the ground. That being said, the front seven for the Dolphins is banged up with the status linebackers Danell Ellerbe and Koa Misi listed as probable with knee and shoulder injuries respectively, and Cameron Wake‘s status is still questionable as he is still trying to recover from the knee injury he picked up back in Week 3 when the Dolphins defeated the Atlanta Falcons.

Another very important factor to this weekend’s game will be the Dolphins’ ability to establish their own running game. The offensive line has yet to dominate the line of scrimmage in any game this year, and that has impacted Miami’s ability to run the ball effectively as well as keep second year starter Ryan Tannehill on his feet. Whether former No. 1 overall pick Jake Long was injured or not over the last few seasons, the Miami O-Line hasn’t looked the same without him. It is absolutely critical for the Dolphins to protect their young quarterback and allow him time to make plays with his arm if they aren’t going to open up holes for Lamar Miller and Daniel Thomas.

With the bye week now over, Miami has had a full week of rest and plenty of time to make adjustments in preparation for a playoff run. This weekend, the resiliency of this Dolphins team will be put to the test as they look to bounce back from suffering defeats in the last two games despite winning their first three ball games.

Scott Feder is a Miami Dolphins Contributor for Follow him on Twitter @federisbetter81, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google.

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