Game Preview: Miami at Buffalo

The Dolphins again have a chance to get back to the .500 mark on Sunday when they take on the Buffalo Bills at Ralph Wilson Stadium. Here's a complete look at the matchup.


KICKOFF: Sunday, 1 p.m. ET

SURFACE: AstroPlay

TV: CBS, Don Criqui, Steve Beuerlein

SERIES: 82nd meeting. The Dolphins hold a 49-31-1 all-time regular season series lead but have lost three of the past four matchups.

2006 RANKINGS: Dolphins: offense 18th (26th rush, 11th pass); defense 2nd (9th rush, 4th pass). Bills: offense 30th (23rd rush, 30th pass); defense 19th (27th rush, 9th pass)

KEYS TO THE GAME: RB Willis McGahee has been battling a variety of ailments, but the Bills desperately need a solid outing from him Sunday. Buffalo is 4-0 against Miami when McGahee rushes for at least 85 yards, and a strong ground presence will help negate the pass rushing presence of red-hot Dolphins DE Jason Taylor. Miami allowed seven sacks in the first meeting, but the offensive line is playing much better at this point in the season and QB Joey Harrington's mobility should help avoid a repeat. Harrington is developing chemistry with WR Marty Booker, who has a touchdown reception in each of the past three games. But Harrington is still prone to mistakes under pressure and must be wary of CB Nate Clements, who has produced 10 turnovers (seven interceptions, three forced fumbles) against Miami since 2002. The Dolphins also could use a third consecutive strong outing from RB Sammy Morris in place of injured Ronnie Brown.

FAST FACTS: Dolphins: Taylor has 15.0 sacks in 17 career games against Buffalo. TE Randy McMichael needs one reception to give team four players with at least 50 catches for the third time in franchise history. Bills: Evans has set a franchise single-season record with three touchdown receptions of at least 75 yards. ... McGahee's 14 career 100-yard rushing games is third in franchise history behind Thurman Thomas (46) and O.J. Simpson (41).



-- DT Dan Wilkinson, who has 14 tackles in relief of starting NT Keith Traylor this season, didn't practice Thursday because of an unspecified leg injury that was initially thought to be a cramp. Wilkinson, who was added to the injury report Thursday as questionable, said he thinks he'll be able to play Sunday.

-- WR Chris Chambers, who twisted his knee and ankle on the same play during Sunday's game, returned to practice and was upgraded from questionable to probable. Chambers said he would play this week.

-- LG Jeno James continues to practice, but he is still questionable for Sunday. Because Kendyl Jacox has steadily improved, it's doubtful that coach Nick Saban would change a winning formula and insert James back into the starting lineup.

-- WR Marcus Vick hasn't played a down this season, but now that the Dolphins signed QB Shane Matthews to be the No. 3 quarterback, look for Vick to get some snaps, possibly on special teams.

-- QB Joey Harrington (sprained ankle) continues to improve and is expected to start Sunday.


-- LG Jason Peters, who is nursing a bone bruise on his knee, was still listed as questionable on Thursday's injury report. He was not able to take part in the team portion of practice for a second consecutive day, and he likely will be a game-time decision.

-- LB Takeo Spikes (ankle, knee) remains questionable for the Dolphins game. He was not able to participate in team drills Thursday.

-- CB Terrence McGee, who sat out last Sunday's game against the Jets with a bad ankle, is expected back in the lineup for the Miami game. He was able to practice for a second consecutive day. He remains questionable on the injury report, but he will play unless there is a setback.

-- SS Donte Whitner, who missed last Sunday's win over the Jets with a hamstring injury, is expected to start Sunday against Miami.

-- LG Mike Gandy is expected to shift to left tackle against Miami on Sunday if Jason Peters (knee) can't play. Gandy switched to left guard six games ago but has a lot of experience at tackle. His assignment would be daunting, facing Miami sack leader Jason Taylor.

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