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Miami Dolphins: What the 'Fins Must Do to Beat the Bills in Week 11

ORCHARD PARK, NY - DECEMBER 18: Tashard Choice #30 of the Buffalo Bills carries for a gain during their NFL game against the Miami Dolphins at Ralph Wilson Stadium on December 18, 2011 in Orchard Park, New York. (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)
Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images
Connor McKnightSenior Analyst INovember 14, 2012

The Miami Dolphins (4-5) had a rough awakening at the hands of the Tennessee Titans (4-6) in a 37-3 blowout last weekend.

But this Tuesday, it does not get much easier as the 'Fins prepare to take on the struggling Buffalo Bills (3-6), a division rival that can never be ruled out in any game. The Bills are coming off of a 37-31 defeat at the hands of Tom Brady and the New England Patriots (6-3).

Offensively, the Bills are incredibly unpredictable. On some occasions, they put the ball in Ryan Fitzpatrick's hands and have him lead the way for the offense. However, they also trust the running back tandem of Fred Jackson and C.J. Spiller as an effective weapon to keep opponents on their toes.

The Dolphin defense is in a limbo state right now. The defensive line had been incredibly solid against the run, until Chris Johnson managed to find running lanes and hit the 100-yard mark. On the flip side, the Miami secondary has been below average this season, but managed to keep Jake Locker and the Titan passing game in check.

So, from the Bills' standpoint, attacking the Dolphins is an interesting and borderline difficult task to attempt. Their offensive strategy will presumably build as the game goes along, particularly as the Bills look to salvage their season.

However, the Dolphins must return to normalcy on the defensive side of the ball. Miami must take the Buffalo running game out of the equation early, and that stems from the defensive line closing the running lanes immediately. The Dolphins must force the football into Ryan Fitzpatrick's hands, who has the propensity to throw interceptions. Miami must win the turnover battle in this one.

On a similar note, Ryan Tannehill and the Dolphin offense must keep possession of the football. Against the Titans, turnovers led to Miami's demise. Against the Bills, this cannot be the case. When Tannehill controls the football, the Dolphins are a solid offensive unit and put points on the scoreboard. The two games where Miami looked particularly vulnerable, against the Titans and then the Houston Texans in Week 1, the turnover battle was a complete loss.

The Dolphins must also not be afraid to run the ball. The Patriots had plenty of success on the ground last weekend with Stevan Ridley. The tandem of Reggie Bush and Daniel Thomas should see plenty of carries, but the running backs must also be involved in the passing game to keep a relatively weak Bills defense vulnerable throughout the afternoon.

If the Dolphins can accomplish all of this, they can definitely return to .500 and stay in the playoff hunt.

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