Flashback three weeks ago and Miami was 3-0 and almost out of the hardest part of their schedule. The Dolphins had their issues, but they were winning. Now, Miami is coming off a two game losing streak and finds themselves facing a surprisingly tough Buffalo Bills team. Luckily for Miami both Kevin Kolb and E.J. Manuel can’t go, leaving QB Thad Lewis as the starter for Buffalo. Unfortunately for Miami, Lewis is surrounded by talent, none more dangerous or explosive than RB C.J. Spiller.
The dangerous running back out of Clemson was upgraded to limited participation in practice as of Thursday and is still listed as Questionable for Sunday. I think we can expect to see him play. While Spiller has not had the season the Bills hoped for up to this point, the ‘Phins have a history of allowing running backs to have their “coming out” parties, as demonstrated in losses the previous two weeks where Miami gave up multi-touchdown games to Darren Sproles and Ray Rice in the last two weeks.
Maintaining Spiller will not only be essential to a Dolphin win on Sunday, but it will put the pressure on whoever is behind center for the Bills, whether it be Thad Lewis, Jeff Tuel (not likely) or newly signed Matt Flynn. Eliminating Spiller and Fred Jackson would force Buffalo to throw the ball and would give Miami’s most dangerous asset – their defensive line – a chance to shine. If Buffalo sinks the Dolphin defensive ship and Spiller gets hot, it could be rough swimming for the ‘Phins.
Hopefully, HC Doug Marrone will elect to rest Spiller Sunday and the Dolphins can catch a break. If not, I think he should be priority number one on defense. I am looking for this Miami D to contain Spiller and the Miami offense to establish a running game of its own. If they can complete both of these tasks, it will much easier to defeat the Bills.