Thursday Night Football features an AFC East battle between the Miami Dolphins and Buffalo Bills.
Week 11 of the NFL schedule begins with one of the oldest rivalries in football, and one with a long, bitter history.
Neither team is in the playoff hunt this season, but neither will surrender bragging rights to the other without a fight.
In the first of two matchups between these teams, the Bills host the Dolphins on what should be a cold day in Buffalo on Thursday.
When: Thursday, November 15 at 8:20 p.m. ET
Where: Ralph Wilson Stadium, Orchard Park, N.Y.
Watch: NFL Network
Live Stream: NFL.com
Spread: Even (via 5 Dimes)
This looks like an even matchup on paper, hence the even spread.
Who ya got?
Both teams have similar passing and rushing attacks, and neither team has a very successful defense. It makes sense that this game is too close to call one way or another.
Over/Under: 45.5 (via 5 Dimes)
Like I said, neither team can play very good defense. At times both teams play exceptional offense, centered around playmakers like Reggie Bush, Brian Hartline, C.J. Spiller and Fred Jackson.
Personally, I'm inclined to take the over on this one since neither team really plays defense, but there's also the possibility of seeing both offenses collapse.
Miami Injury Report (via Yahoo! as of Nov. 13, 2012)
|Ryan Tannehill QB||Probable||Knee|
|Mike Pouncey C||Probable||Knee, ankle|
|Jake Long T||Probable||Back|
|Brian Hartline WR||Probable||Hamstring|
|Karlos Dansby LB||Probable||Biceps|
|Tony McDaniel DT||Questionable||Knee|
|Jeron Mastrud TE||Questionable||Hamstring|
Buffalo Injury Report (via Yahoo! as of Nov. 13, 2012)
|Eric Wood C||Probable||Knee|
|Kyle Williams DT||Questionable||Ankle|
|Aaron Williams CB||Out||Knee|
|Mario Williams DE||Probable||Wrist, knee|
|Kraig Urbik G||Questionable||Foot|
|C.J. Spiller RB||Probable||Hamstring|
|Brad Smith WR||Probable||Hamstring|
|Shawne Merriman DE||Questionable||Chest|
|Leodis McKelvin CB||Probable||Groin|
|Chris Kelsay DE||Questionable||Neck|
|Stevie Johnson WR||Questionable||Thigh|
|Spencer Johnson DE||Questionable||Ankle|
|Stephon Gilmore CB||Probable||Shoulder|
|Marcell Dareus DT||Probable||Shoulder|
|Mark Anderson DE||Out||Knee|
|Fred Jackson RB||Day-to-Day||Concussion|
Fantasy Big Plays
Miami RB Reggie Bush
As I mentioned above, Reggie Bush is one of the best playmakers the Dolphins have. What's even better for him is that he will be going against a run defense ranked dead last in yards allowed per game and fantasy points allowed this season.
Bush is completely healthy (something that his fantasy owners have to be excited about) and has averaged at least four yards per carry in his last three games.
The Bills have surrendered 14 rushing touchdowns to running backs alone this season (not including rushing touchdowns allowed to quarterbacks), including seven in the team's last three games.
I think it's safe to say that Bush is a must-start this week.
Projected Stats: 25 rushes, 125 yards, 1 TD
Buffalo QB Ryan Fitzpatrick
You probably thought I'd take C.J. Spiller here since Fred Jackson's concussion put his status in doubt, but the Dolphins surprisingly have the No. 5 rushing defense in the league.
Fitzpatrick has been hot as of late, scoring at least 20 points in two of his last three games (the exception being a game against the Houston Texans).
The Dolphins' pass defense is pathetic, ranking No. 28 in the league. With Fitzpatrick getting in a groove and the Dolphins appearing unable to stop any quarterback at this point, I'm taking a risk on him.
Projected Stats: 25-of-40, 321 yards, 3 TD, 1 INT
Key to Victory: Which Defense Can Make a Stop?
This is most likely going to be a high-scoring affair in Buffalo, since it matches two pitiful defenses against each other.
With Bush running all over Buffalo and Fitzpatrick airing it out against the Dolphins, I see both teams putting up good offensive numbers.
The key to this game is playing solid defense and forcing turnovers. Whichever defense can find a way to consistently stop the opposing offense will win, whether their stops be from turnovers or forcing punts.
In all likelihood this game will come down to the turnover battle, but it's all about which defense can outplay the other.
The Bills have shown that they can hang with good teams at times, but at others they will get blown out by teams like the Tennessee Titans. Luckily for them, the Dolphins also have a tendency to find ways to lose, and I see the deciding factor being home-field advantage in another sloppy edition of Thursday Night Football.
Final Score: Buffalo 38, Miami 31