5 Buffalo Bills Players The Miami Dolphins Should Keep An Eye On
5 Bills Players The Miami Dolphins Need To Keep Their Eye On
It is no secret or surprise that the Miami Dolphins are riding a tidal wave of momentum into Buffalo to play their old rival the Bills. They just pulled out a fourth quarter victory against the AFC East juggernaut New England Patriots in a win that came in remarkable fashion as Michael “Who-was-that-guy” Thomas saved the day by intercepting Tom Brady in the end zone to preserve Miami’s 24-20 lead.
Coming off of such a significant win it is hard to picture them slipping up Sunday in Buffalo, but this is the Dolphins we're talking about. This is a classic trap game. Could this team be distracted with all the playoff talk?
The Bills are coming off of a win against the resurgent Jacksonville Jaguars, but it was a costly win as starting quarterback EJ Manuel sprained his left knee, this coming after recovering from a right knee sprain just a few weeks ago. Manuel will have to wait until next year to play his first game against the Dolphins as he will now have missed both matchups this season.
Thad Lewis will attempt to get the second win of his career, the first coming against the Dolphins in Miami for Lewis’ homecoming. In that game he was effective despite being called up from the practice squad only two weeks before. You have to wonder if the elements in Buffalo will not only affect the Miami team but the Miami kid Lewis as well.
The Dolphins are riding this tidal wave of momentum; let’s take a look at the five players who will be looking to freeze that wave in snowy Buffalo.
5. Mario Williams
Mario Williams is a force off of the edge and a real game-changer. Anyone who argues that can just take a look back to how the last game between these two teams ended. Williams got two critical fourth quarter sacks. One was a crushing blow to Ryan Tannehill to stop a seven-play drive which had taken more than four minutes off the clock, and another was a sack/fumble which was recovered by DT Kyle Williams at the Miami 34-yard line and led to the ensuing game-winning field goal by Dolphins cast-off Dan Carpenter. The Dolphins cannot let Williams terrorize Tannehill, whether that means more roll-outs, screens, draw plays or tight end help.
4. Scott Chandler
With the news that Stevie Johnson is not playing in this game, every receiver has to step up their game. Scott Chandler will likely be a frequent target of Thad Lewis, and with Miami’s spotty tight end coverage he will likely convert many of those targets into catches. The Dolphins must be especially weary of this big man in the red zone because, as you can see from the picture above, the big man can make some pretty athletic catches.
3. Marcell Dareus
The Dolphins' running game will be a very important factor in this game -- that being whether or not they have a running game. Miami usually struggles to run when Mike Pouncey is faced with an elite DT in front of him as he is not able to make second level blocks (being he’s one of the few on Miami’s line who can do so). Marcell Dareus fits that bill as the Alabama product has produced 7.5 sacks this season from his defensive tackle position which is hard to do. If he is getting interior push on Miami’s offensive line it’s going to be a long day.
2. Robert Woods
Stevie Johnson’s absence thrusts Robert Woods into the role as the No. 1 receiver for this Bills team, and he will likely be the leader in targets. The Dolphins must keep this speedy rookie from beating them deep, which may be hard to do seeing how every member of Miami’s starting secondary is nursing some sort of leg injury. One play is all it takes to change a game, and the Dolphins can’t let this guy make it.
1. CJ Spiller
CJ Spiller, the annual Dolphins killer, is the player the Dolphins need to highlight and circle in their meeting rooms. Miami has to keep Spiller in check, which is much easier said than done. The Bills love to run screen passes and are very good at it as they converted two third downs of more than 15 yards against the Dolphins the first time these two met. Spiller is a quick, shifty back, which the Dolphins have the most trouble with. If they find themselves in a blitz and this guy gets free on a screen you might want to close your eyes and look away from the television (unless you’re a Bills fan).