Breaking down the game

Because the AFC East has been so bad this season, there actually has been talk of the Dolphins making a run at the playoffs down the stretch following last Sunday's victory at Oakland. But it won't happen unless the Dolphins get on a roll, and a nice start would be the first winning streak of the season.

In Buffalo, the Dolphins are facing a team that has struggled most of the season, except for a little streak after veteran Kelly Holcomb replaced JP Losman as the starting quarterback in October.

But that didn't last long, Holcomb got hurt and the Bills ultimately decided to go back to Losman as their quarterback.

He's played better in his second stint as the starter, but there have been other problems that have continued to hold back the Bills.

Defensively, the big problem has been stopping the run.

The Bills were seventh in the league in that department last year, but have fallen to 31st in 2005. The two biggest reasons have been the free agency loss of mammoth defensive tackle Pat Williams and injuries to linebacker Takeo Spikes and Williams' projected replacement, Ron Edwards.

Ronnie Brown rushed for 97 yards only 17 carries in the first meeting between these teams, but his afternoon unfortunately was remembered for his late fumble inside the Buffalo 20-yard line.

With Ricky Williams now in the lineup alongside Brown, there's no reason the Dolphins can't crank out big yardage in the running game on Sunday.

In fact, the Dolphins shouldn't end this game without Brown and Williams combining for at least 40 carries.

That would make life easier on Gus Frerotte, who is coming off a nice outing at Oakland but hasn't been that consistent all season.

On the other side of the ball, Buffalo's problems, other than Losman's spotty play, has been an offensive line that continues to underachieve.

Buffalo came out on fire against the Dolphins back on Oct. 9, scoring on its first three possessions, but did nothing for the last two quarters and change.

After the defense's strong showing against Oakland, there's some momentum heading into this game, particularly along the defensive line, where Jason Taylor, David Bowens and Vonnie Holliday combined for seven sacks against the Raiders.

Losman has better mobility than Holcomb, whom the Dolphins sacked three times in October, so his scrambling could become a factor.

But Losman isn't nearly as effective a downfield passer, so Eric Moulds, who has had big games against the Dolphins, becomes a little less dangerous.

Buffalo was expected to challenge for a playoff berth this season, but has badly underachieved. If the Dolphins want to think about the playoffs, this is a team they absolutely have to beat.


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