5 Keys: Buffalo Bills
By Brian Miller
The Buffalo Bills, excuse me, the AFC East leading Buffalo Bills…excuse me….the 5-1 AFC East leading Bills are coming to Miami this Sunday. I only say that to remind any straggling Patriot fans that they are not…the leaders of the AFC East.
The Miami Dolphins will have their hands full with a team that keeps fighting, clawing, scratching, and everything in between to get victories. The Bills are playing very good football and will give the Dolphins a really good opportunity to see what they have against a team that they not only shouldn’t beat on paper, but really shouldn’t beat on the field.
These Dolphins however, don’t care a bit about what they should or shouldn’t be able to do, and that is why they play the game.
5 Keys: The Buffalo Bills
5: Time of Possession: The Bills have a running game and the Bills have a passing game. The best defense is a good offense and the Dolphins need to establish long time consuming drives as often as possible to eat up the clock. They can not fall behind early or they will not only be playing the obvious catch-up game, but they will be passing to do it and that means the clock won’t be running as fast.
4: Run the ball. Forget about the WC formation, forget about the quick hit to Ted Ginn on the outside (who will no doubt run it straight down the line of scrimmage instead of upfield), hand the ball to Ronnie Brown, Ricky Williams, and then hit them again with Patrick Cobbs. Wear down the defense with run after run after run. The Bills have a good running defense but the Dolphins can make the heat their 12th man by constintely forcing the front 7 of the Bills to battle in the trenches. Pass protection doesn’t wear down a defense.
3: Find a way to go down field. The Dolphins play their offense in the 10 to 15 yard range, sometimes they toss the rock 20 downfield, the problem is that anything longer than that and the WR must be wide open or Pennington can’t get the ball there without floating it through the air. The Dolphins must go deep even if they throw it deep and out of bounds or even for that matter a pick. The Bills safeties will play closer to the LOS than they have in weeks past because there is no threat of a deep ball. That puts all 11 defenders withing 15 yards of the LOS and you can’t beat that every play.
2: Special teams. The Bills have one of the best special teams units in the NFL. They are solid on punt and kick-off returns and are explosive enough to take advantage of mediocre ST units let alone struggling ones. This game will not be a game of field position, but it will be a game of time and allowing the Bills the opportunity to put cheap unearned points on the board will do nothing for the Miami Dolphins.
1: Stay focused. The Dolphins defense of late has lost their focus over the last 2 weeks and have regressed. They can not afford to sit back and think that just because they had one of their best practices this week, that they can simply show up to win. The defense has given up a late 4th quarter drive that lost them one game and last week they let Baltimore turn the tables on the Phins by allowing them to dictate the tempo and every other facet of the game. If the Dolphins want to keep this game close, they need an all around effort from the defense that lets the offense control the clock…and hopefully the score.