GAME PREVIEW: Miami vs. Buffalo

The Dolphins will help make history this weekend when they take part in the first regular season game played in Canada. But the Dolphins have a lot bigger things on their mind, namely trying to complete their season sweep of the Bills to remain in the thick of the AFC playoff picture. Here's a complete breakdown of the Dolphins-Bills matchup.

KICKOFF: Sunday, 4:05 p.m. ET

SITE: Rogers Centre; Toronto, Ontario, Canada

SURFACE: AstroPlay

TV: CBS (Kevin Harlan, Rich Gannon)

SERIES: 86th meeting. Dolphins lead series 50-34-1, not including 1-3 in the postseason. Miami beat Buffalo 25-16 on Oct. 26 by forcing three four turnovers and getting a career game out of second-year receiver Ted Ginn Jr., who had seven catches for 175 yards.

KEYS TO THE GAME: Look for the Dolphins to be a bit conservative at the outset with Andy Alleman taking over for LG Justin Smiley. And with Buffalo showing a better pass rush of late, Dolphins QB Chad Pennington will utilize a lot of quick passes. WR Ted Ginn had a career-high 175 receiving yards when CB Terrence McGee was slowed by a groin injury in Miami. Now the Bills are concerned about rookie Leodis McKelvin likely replacing Jabari Greer on the other side.

Home away from home: Instead of below-freezing temperatures and possible snow in Buffalo, the Bills' home field will be the controlled 72 degrees of the Rogers Center in Toronto. Whatever the conditions, the Bills need Lynch to continue his resurgence. A solid ground game will limit the impact of Dolphins OLB Joey Porter, who had a pair of sacks and forced fumbles in the first meeting. If QB J.P. Losman starts over ailing Trent Edwards, the Bills will sacrifice quick decisions and accuracy for more vertical shots downfield.

Specialties: Dolphins PK Dan Carpenter has converted a franchise rookie record 11 consecutive field goals.

Key Injuries: Dolphins — LT Jake Long (ankle) is still less than 100 percent; CB Jason Allen practiced all week with a cast on his right hand and was added to the injury report as probable on Friday.

Bills — Edwards (groin) is a game-day decision; Greer (knee) and TE Robert Royal (hamstring) are uncertain; DE Aaron Schobel (foot) probably will miss his eighth consecutive game.

Need to know: Pennington needs 119 passing yards to become the third player in Dolphins history to pass for 3,000 yards, joining Dan Marino and Jay Fiedler. ... The Bills have lost their past three games at Ralph Wilson Stadium.



-- WR Chris Hannon was claimed off waivers from the 49ers and added to the Dolphins' 53-man roster in place of injured LG Justin Smiley, who was placed on IR. Hannon, an undrafted rookie out of Tennessee in 2006, has bounced around several practice squads, but coach Tony Sparano likes his size (6-3) and speed. He will no doubt earn his stripes on special teams before playing on the base offense.

-- K Dan Carpenter was named AFC Special Teams Player of the Month for making all eight field-goal attempts in five games this month, including the game-winning 38-yarder against the Oakland Raiders. Tony Sparano credited Carpenter's kickoff placements with the recent improved play of Miami's kick coverage units.

-- LG Andy Alleman, who was signed in September after the Saints cut the former 2007 third-round pick out of Akron, is expected to make his first NFL start Sunday in place of injured LG Justin Smiley, who broke his left leg in the first quarter of last week's win over St. Louis. Alleman was originally signed to back up C Samson Satele.

-- C/G Al Johnson is ready intellectually to start at guard or center Sunday, however, coach Tony Sparano suggested that his recovery from double knee surgery isn't quite complete enough for a starting job. If C Samson Satele continues to struggle against large nose tackles as he has this season, expect Johnson to supplant him.

-- OLB Joey Porter, who hasn't spoken to the local media since he put his foot in his mouth when asked about Michael Vick a few weeks ago, has only one sack in his last two games as teams have focused on stopping him. He still has a career-high 14.5 sacks, trailing NFL sack leader DeMarcus Ware by half a sack.


-- QB Trent Edwards sat out practice Thursday with a groin injury for a second consecutive day. A decision on his status for Sunday's game against Miami in Toronto likely won't come until just before kickoff, but missing practice time this week could weigh into the decision.

-- QB J.P. Losman would get the start Sunday in Toronto against Miami if Trent Edwards' groin injury keeps him sidelined. Losman is 26 of 38 for 313 yards, one TD and one INT in relief appearances this season. He hasn't started a game since November 2007.

-- RB Marshawn Lynch was limited in practice Thursday with back spasms. Lynch could barely bend over to pick up a ball, but coach Dick Jauron expressed confidence his top rusher will play Sunday against Miami in Toronto.

-- WR Josh Reed has caught a pass in 24 consecutive games, including 10 catches in his past two games. More than 61 percent of his 36 catches this year have resulted in first downs.

-- TE Robert Royal, who missed last Sunday's loss to San Francisco with a hamstring injury, did not practice again Thursday. He may still be a game away. He has a career-best 29 catches and the Bills' running game needs his blocking.

-- SS Donte Whitner, who has missed two consecutive games and three overall with a shoulder injury, practiced for a second straight day Thursday and is on course to return to the lineup. The Bills play Sunday against Miami in Toronto.

-- CB Jabari Greer continues to recover from a knee injury that has cost him his last two starts. He did not practice again Thursday.

-- DE Aaron Schobel, who has missed his last seven starts with a foot injury, practiced for a second straight day Thursday and appears on course to return to the lineup. A final decision likely won't come until game time Sunday in Toronto, where the Bills face Miami.

-- Bills CB Terrence McGee, who is healthy again and playing well after a knee injury, is eager for Sunday's rematch against Miami WR Ted Ginn Jr. Ginn caught seven passes for 175 yards in the year's first meeting.

-- Bills KO return man Leodis McKelvin is second in the league with a 29.4-yard average. He is poised for a big game this week facing Miami's KO coverage unit, which ranks last in the league.

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