WHO: Miami Dolphins (6-3) vs. Buffalo Bills (1-8)
WHERE: Ralph Wilson Stadium, Buffalo, N.Y.
KICKOFF TIME: 1 p.m EST
TELEVISION: CBS (Kevin Harlan and Craig James)
LINE: Miami 4 1/2
SERIES RECORD: Miami leads 45-28-1
LAST MEETING: Miami dominated the Bills all day in New York in what ended up being a 33-6 rout last Dec. 3. Jay Fiedler passed for 214 yards and three touchdowns, while Lamar Smith rushed for 100 yards and one touchdown. The defense, meanwhile, did its part by taking the ball away three times and coming up with six sacks. Olindo Mare had four field goals as well.
INJURIES: Dolphins— DT Daryl Gardner (back), S Brian Walker (thumb), CB Sam Madison (shoulder) are out; DT Ernest Grant (shoulder), DT Jermaine Haley (thumb), FB Rob Konrad (shoulder) are questionable; WR Oronde Gadsden (shoulder), WR James McKnight (back), G Todd Perry (knee), C Tim Ruddy (knee) are probable.
Buffalo— QB Rob Johnson (shoulder), TE Dan O'Leary (wrist) are out; DE Phil Hansen (leg), SS Raion Hill (neck), T Jonas Jennings (foot) are questionable.
MATCHUPS TO WATCH —Dolphins DE Jason Taylor vs. Bills tackle John Fina: Fina is one of two returning starters on the Bills' offensive line, but Jason Taylor has been playing well of late.
Bills WR Eric Moulds vs. the Dolphins cornerbacks— Without Sam Madison to blanket Moulds, the Dolphins need to be concerned with Moulds at all times, whether it be Patrick Surtain, Jamar Fletcher or Terry Cousin who is the one covering him.
Dolphins WR Chris Chambers vs Bills CB Nate Clements— Two of the top performing rookies in the NFL are competing against each other this week.
WHEN THE DOLPHINS HAVE THE BALL — The Bills, after losing seven defensive starters the past two offseasons, are considerably weaker than in previous years. That could mean a much-needed breakout game for Lamar Smith and Miami's offense. The Dolphins are going to focus on turnover-free football, so a conservative game plan could be in store.
WHEN THE BILLS HAVE THE BALL — Although the prospect of facing Alex Van Pelt as the starting quarterback may excite the Miami defense, Van Pelt could provide more of challenge than expected. He performed well against Seattle last week by throwing for 316 yards and two touchdowns. The Bills are going to want to get Travis Henry and their running game going in order to balance their offense.
BOTTOM LINE: If the Dolphins can eliminate their own mistakes (turnovers and penalties), they should be able to leave Buffalo with a win. The Bills defense should not be able to keep up with a talented Miami offense that features an improved passing game and a determined Lamar Smith. Something to watch for is how the injuries on the defensive side of the ball for Miami play a role.