Game Preview: Buffalo at Miami

The Dolphins open AFC East play Sunday against the Buffalo Bills in desperate need of a victory after starting off 0-3 with losses to three 2008 playoff teams. Here is a breakdown of Sunday's matchup.

WHO: Buffalo Bills (1-2) at Miami Dolphins (0-3)

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

SITE: Land Shark Stadium


TV: CBS (Kevin Harlan, Solomon Wilcots)

SERIES: 87th regular-season meeting. Dolphins lead the series 51-34-1. The Dolphins are 1-3 in the postseason with their last meeting coming in a 1998 first rounder won by the Dolphins 24-17 on an 11-yard TD pass from Dan Marino to Lamar Thomas. The Dolphins swept the Bills last year for the first time since 2003 with the second meeting 16-3 in Rogers Centre in Toronto, the first regular-season NFL game ever played in Canada. The Dolphins held the Bills to 163 yards and Dan Carpenter kicked three field goals.

PREDICTION: Dolphins, 21-14

KEYS TO THE GAME: The Bills are preparing for plenty of Wildcat formations and RBs Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams with Dolphins QB Chad Henne makings his first career start. Henne has thrown just 31 career passes, but has a stronger arm than Chad Pennington and should take a few shots against the Bills' injury-depleted secondary. Buffalo wants to protect that defense, and RB Marshawn Lynch returns from suspension to share the workload with Fred Jackson. The Bills hope to use that tandem to set up Miami's secondary. The Dolphins have yet to record an interception this season and QB Trent Edwards must stretch the field more successfully to WRs Terrell Owens and Lee Evans to open up running lanes.

FAST FACTS: The Bills are converting just 27.8 percent (10 of 36) of their third-down opportunities. ... Dolphins LB Jason Taylor has 17 career sacks against Buffalo.


Buffalo Bills

-- CB Leodis McKelvin was placed on injured reserve with a cracked fibula in his right leg, ending the 2008 first-round pick's season. McKelvin was injured two weeks ago in a win over Tampa Bay but played last Sunday in a loss to New Orleans. He left the game in the first half and did not return. McKelvin assumed the starting right corner job this season and was poised for another season as a record-setting returned specialist. But the team needed to make room on the roster for RB Marshawn Lynch, returning from a suspension, and felt McKelvin's injury would keep him sidelined too long to carry him on the 53-man.

-- CB Drayton Florence, a free agent bust in Jacksonville, will get a second chance to revive his career. He was promoted permanently to starting right corner after Leodis McKelvin was placed on season-ending IR with a broken right leg. He'll start Sunday in Miami.

-- RB Marshawn Lynch was officially added to the 53-man roster. The team had been given a three-day exemption after Lynch's three-game suspension ended on Sunday. To make room, CB Leodis McKelvin was placed on IR.

-- OT Jonathan Scott will start at left tackle for Demetrius Bell with Bell sidelined this week by a groin injury. Scott started at right tackle last week for Brad Butler (on IR with a knee injury), but he's the team's swing tackle who has worked both sides. With Scott going to the left, backup Kirk Chambers will start on the right side.

-- QB Trent Edwards could have a much-needed breakout game facing a Miami secondary that is giving up 265 passing yards per game. Edwards needs 73 passing yards to hit the 5,000 mark for his career.

-- WR Lee Evans needs one TD catch to tie Bob Chandler for fourth place on the team's career list. Evans has 33 scores. Andre Reed holds the club mark with 86. Evans' 693 receiving yards against Miami is the most vs. any opponent.

Miami Dolphins

-- WLB Joey Porter tweaked a hamstring in Game 2 against the Colts and played hurt last week but still managed to sack Drew Brees and force Miami's only takeaway of the season. He did not participate in team drills all week. Porter hasn't missed a game since 2006.

-- WLB Charlie Anderson, who has started six games in six seasons, including one for the Dolphins last year, would start if Porter isn't activated on Sunday. Anderson had two of his best games against the Bills last season. He tackled center Duke Preston in the end zone after a Trent Edward's fumble for a safety in Miami's 25-16 early-season victory. In their 16-3 win over Buffalo in Toronto, Anderson had three tackles, including a 15-yard sack of J.P. Losman, and also forced two fumbles.

-- WR Ted Ginn Jr. has all the pressure on him this week after getting shut out -- zero catches -- in last week's loss to the Chargers. Now that he has a strong-armed quarterback in Chad Henne throwing him the ball, expect the Dolphins to take several shots downfield to Ginn, especially with the Bills' secondary ravaged by injuries.

-- QB Chad Henne, who has thrown just 31 passes in two games, will get his first start Sunday. Offensive coordinator Dan Henning pointed out Thursday that Henne has directed three scoring drives in six career possessions.

-- NT Paul Soliai said he will be playing with extra motivation this week after learning that he has lost family members in Tuesday's tragic tsunami back home in American Samoa. Several other members of his wife's family are still missing.

-- QB Tyler Thigpen, who was acquired from the Chiefs Tuesday after it was confirmed that Chad Pennington was out for the season with another shoulder injury, has been studying all week in hopes of being activated for Sunday's game. If not, rookie Pat White will be activated for the fourth straight week and Thigpen will be the emergency quarterback.

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