Although the Bills are officially out of playoff contention, the Phins still have an outside shot at one of the final wild-card spots. They'll need a lot of outside help, but regardless AFC East bragging rights are still on the line between these two bitter division rivals.
Here’s everything you need to know about the AFC East matchup.
Where: Sun Life Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida
When: Sunday, Dec. 23 at 1 p.m. ET
Listen: Sirius XM Radio: 136 or online at Audio Pass
Betting Line: Miami by 4.5, according to Bovada
What’s At Stake?
For the Dolphins, there's still hope for postseason action under rookie quarterback Ryan Tannehill and new head coach Joe Philbin.
For the Bills, it's all about pride and people playing for their jobs—including players, coaches and management.
Thankfully for those watching the game’s sake, though, the fact that Buffalo and Miami play each other twice a year—every year—will fuel the players enough to make it entertaining.
Bills Injury Report (via ESPN, as of Dec. 18)
Arthur Moats, LB, Injured Reserve
Donald Jones, WR, Injured Reserve
Leodis McKelvin, CB, Questionable
Dolphins Injury Report (via ESPN, as of December 18)
Davone Bess, WR, Questionable
Fantasy Start ‘Em, Sit ‘Em and Sleeper
Start: Reggie Bush
Daniel Thomas was forced to the sideline this past Sunday with a knee injury. As a result, Bush will likely get more of the workload and, against the Bills’ 30th-ranked run defense, blow up.
Bush rushed for 104 yards on 5.0 yards a pop last week against the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Sit: Ryan Fitzpatrick
Fitzpatrick is the definition of inconsistent.
The Bills’ passer has sporadic flashes of the ability to be a solid fantasy QB. But that’s it—nothing more than random successes. The only thing that’s been consistent about Fitzpatrick as of late are his interceptions, as he has thrown at least one in the last four games.
Sleeper: Scott Chandler
Chandler started off the season hot, but in Weeks 10-12, he caught a combined five footballs. In the last two, though, he’s reeled in five receptions each.
Even with just two touchdowns since Week 5, Chandler is still a viable fantasy option.
What They’re Saying
As if Phins fans wanted to hear this.
Nick Saban revealed to Dan Le Batard that, when he was in Miami, he wanted to acquire Drew Brees, but team doctors didn’t think he was physically capable of playing. So the Dolphins added Daunte Culpepper instead.
Saban: "We chose Drew Brees. I've never ever talked about this publicly... That's the guy we made the first offer to." -Mike Ryan— Dan Le Batard Show (@LeBatardShow) December 17, 2012
As painful as that is, the Bills’ past isn’t much easier to reminisce on. Joe Buscaglia of WGR550 tweeted this fun fact after their latest loss.
At the end of the year, Chan Gailey's #Bills will have only beaten 1 team that ended the season with a winning record in 3 years (NE in '11)— Joe Buscaglia (@JoeBuscaglia) December 18, 2012
Bills Player to Watch: C.J. Spiller
Spiller is special.
It’s a mystery whatever took Chan Gailey so long to give him the touches he deserves. Scratch that, he still isn’t getting the touches he deserves—it just looks like Spiller is because he’s averaging an otherworldly 6.5 yards per carry.
Last week, he rushed for 103 yards on just 17 carries. With Fred Jackson out, Spiller should be getting 25 touches a game. Buffalo may actually earn a W if he does.
Dolphins Player to Watch: Ryan Tannehill
Tannehill has had an up-and-down rookie campaign, but he definitely had a high last week against the Jags.
He completed 22-of-28 pass attempts for 220 yards, two touchdowns and added another 52 yards on the ground. If Tannehill gives a similar effort on Sunday, combined with Miami’s solid defense, it’ll win its second straight game.
Key Matchup: Steve Johnson vs. Sean Smith
Johnson has twice as many receiving yards as the next-best Bills wideout. And according to Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald, Smith is the most targeted corner in the league.
Translation: The camera is going to be on this matchup all day.
Johnson is capable of taking over the football game against the poor cornerback. Smith must slow him down at least a little bit.
On the Hot Seat: Chan Gailey
If Gailey is the Bills’ head coach next season, it would be shocking—as in, he would likely have blackmail on Ralph Wilson shocking. Buffalo hasn’t sniffed a winning record since Gailey was hired and there’s no sign of progress.
Wilson needs to fire Gailey while Spiller is still in his prime.
Buffalo surrenders the second-most points in the NFL and has the 25th-worst passing attack. That’s not a combination that wins football games. The Bills would come out on top if they knew how to use Spiller properly, but they don’t.
Miami by 7
David Daniels is a featured columnist at Bleacher Report and a syndicated writer.
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