C.J. Spiller: RB Is Crucial to Bills' Thursday Night Clash with Dolphins

Eric EdelmanCorrespondent INovember 13, 2012

Spiller will play a major role for the Buffalo Bills in their upcoming game against the Miami Dolphins.
Spiller will play a major role for the Buffalo Bills in their upcoming game against the Miami Dolphins.Thomas B. Shea/Getty Images

C.J. Spiller is probably the best running back most casual NFL fans are unaware of. However, in this Thursday’s upcoming AFC East slugfest against the Miami Dolphins, fans are surely going to see Spiller’s ability on full display.

Averaging a league best 7.3 yards per carry, Spiller’s incredible explosiveness when hitting the hole combined with his good hands make him a nightmare for opposing defenses. Coming off of a disappointing loss to another division rival—the New England Patriots—Spiller and the rest of the Bills are going to be looking forward to a bounce-back game on national television.

Although they’re on a two-game slide, the Miami Dolphins aren’t exactly going to go down without a fight. Despite a surprising upset at home against the Tennessee Titans, the Dolphins have shown flashes of consistency this season.

After a three-game winning streak, the Dolphins finally looked like they had hit their stride, but after losses to the Indianapolis Colts and beleaguered Titans, this Thursday’s game will certainly be a must-win in terms of proving their previous wins weren’t flukes. Even though they sport a 4-6 record, the Dolphins are coming in as one-and-a-half-point underdogs on the road against a Bills team sporting an equally disappointing record.

Despite averaging the seventh-worst passing attack at 278 yards per game, the Bills are sixth-best in the league as far as rushing yards—with Spiller and fellow running back Fred Jackson being the two primary backs in their backfield. Now that Jackson is ruled out for this Thursday’s game, it will give Spiller the perfect opportunity to demonstrate why he should be getting a majority of the carries—as if last Sunday’s game wasn’t already enough.

After an incredible game where he had over 131 combined yards and four touchdowns, Spiller’s performance was nothing short of dominating. Irregardless of his big game against the Patriots, the Dolphins may not be as easy to eviscerate offensively.

The Dolphins have a bruising top-five ranked run defense (they allow only 94 yards on the ground per game), but their secondary is allowing a fourth-worst 278 passing yards per game. If Spiller is allowed to break free and catch passes in the flat, the Dolphins are going to have a long Thursday night struggling to stave off a Spiller led offensive onslaught. 

For both teams, Spiller will remain a point of emphasis—can the Bills put Spiller in a position to make plays, or will the Dolphins manage to contain him? No matter what happens, fans will get to see a good old-fashioned smashmouth football game featuring one of league’s best offensive talents.