The Dolphins head up to Buffalo this Sunday to take on the Bills in what is essentially a must-win situation for the Dolphins if they hope to advance unimpeded into the playoffs. It's simple: the Dolphins whack the Bills and then the Jets next weekend and they're in the playoffs for the first time since 2008. Lose either or both of these games and the MC Escher painting of playoff possibilities to get them in either too impossible or stupid to worry about. They simply must win and go 5-0 in December -- something the Dolphins have never done since they started having 17 weeks of football.
What to watch for:
1. Admiral Ackbar says....
Gah! Of course it is! Bills starter EJ Manuel is injured. So, once again, the Bills will call on practice squad-cum-Dolphins-killer Thad Lewis to line up under center. 'Pssshaawww...we're such a different Dolphins team now!' Yea, well, we thought we were pretty hot shit when the Bills came in to town last time, steamrolled our o-line then had Dan Fucking Carpenter go all schadenfreude up our asses by kicking the game winning field goal. The Dolphins cannot afford to believe the hype. They must go out there hungry and angry and pissed and snarling and beat the crap out of that very shitty Bills team. Between these last two games, this Buffalo game is the one that most screams HOLY SHIT WE CAN TOTALLY GET OVERCONFIDENT AND LOSE THIS GAME so the Dolphins must focus on Sunday and not worry about the Jets, playoffs, the Super Bowl or any of the awaiting blowjobs to come.
Ryan Tannehill is ON FIRE. Like, billowing smoke out of Mt St Helens HOT. The kid has got THE GLOW. The Dolphins have been slow-starters out of the gate in most of their games this season and the next logical step for this team is to put their collective balls on the table and point at them. That means it would help the Dolphins to get out early and - for the first time this season maybe - just blow a team out. Suggestion: start the game with some 2-miinute offense - something Tannehill thrives at - and score a quick 14 on the Bills. This will force Thad Lewis or whatever his name is to try and play catch-up. That will not work, we will eatz all the interceptions and we will takes all the touchdowns!
3. Crappy O-Line or "Meh Betterish" O-Line?
The first meeting between these two teams yielded only two sacks but those two were crucial ones at the end of the game, one of which caused a fumble and set up the game-winning field goal. The Dolphins have given up a total of 51 sacks this season and are well within reach of breaking the franchise record of 53 sacks given up in a season established shortly after we landed on the Moon. This is bad news because the Bills - with their 49 sacks on the season - are very very good at doing that thing we are...ummm...not so good at protecting against. Can the Dolphins - with their patchwork line installed since the Martin/Incognito fiasco - find a way to keep it together against one of the NFL's nastiest pass rushes? This is probably the most crucial key going into Sunday.
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4. Run, Run, Run
The Bills have the 6th-ranked passing defense but their run defense is not so great. Once again, the Dolphins' running back duo of Lamar Miller and Vagina Feet MUST play well. Even if something bad happens to one of them and there's only one of them left (which is when they seem to thrive, oddly) then SO BE IT. GIVE THOSE BOYS THE BALL, SLAP EM ON THE BUTT AND POINT TOWARDS THE END ZONE! The Dolphins are 1-5 in Orchard Park over the last 7 years (not counting our victory in Toronto's Rogers Centre) so the odds are stack against us. Spread option Tannehill run! Reverses! 2-minute offense! Throw the kitchen sink at them and sneak off in the night with a win. Whatever it takes to set Miami up against the hated Jets at home next week and a chance to make those playoffs.
The Dolphins go up to rainy Buffalo on Sunday to face the Bills. Kickoff is at 1 p.m.