BUFFALO BILLS (8-7) AT MIAMI DOLPHINS (6-9)
KICKOFF: Sunday, 4:25 p.m. ET, Hard Rock Stadium. TV: CBS, Andrew Catalon, James Lofton.
SERIES HISTORY: 104th regular-season meeting. Dolphins lead series, 59-43-1. Buffalo won the last meeting, 24-16, in Buffalo two weeks ago.
KEYS TO THE GAME: Miami must limit two players -- running back LeSean McCoy and quarterback Tyrod Taylor. Doing that starts with fundamental football -- sure tackling, playing your assignments, minimizing penalties, etc. -- and that's where the problems start for the Dolphins.
Miami must play a smart, clean game because its margin for error is slim. If the Dolphins reduce their self-inflicted wounds -- for example, the Dolphins are minus-13 in turnover differential and their 28 turnovers are tied for second most in the league -- they give themselves a chance to win.
The Bills were unable to get their wide receivers involved in the first game as Kelvin Benjamin, Zay Jones, Brandon Tate and Deonte Thompson combined for four catches for 57 yards. Last week at New England, Taylor had much more success throwing the ball to his wideouts and he finished with 281 yards. The Dolphins may be susceptible through the air and, given the success they had in plugging the Bills' run game two weeks ago, Taylor may want to open things up, provided he gets the support from offensive coordinator Rick Dennison. Taylor has had some of his best games against Miami's defense, including his lone 300-yard passing performance.
Miami has nothing to play for, and this could be Jay Cutler's final game in the NFL, so it seems reasonable to believe he may want to go out in a blaze of glory and throw the ball all over the field. He has the weapons to do it in Jarvis Landry and DeVante Parker, who combined for 16 catches for 188 yards at Buffalo. Also, he may want to get running back Kenyan Drake involved in the passing game, so the Bills have to be sharp in the short zones and avoid missed tackles, or the Dolphins will be able to move the sticks.
MATCHUPS TO WATCH:
--Bills RB LeSean McCoy vs. Dolphins' run defense. Miami has allowed three 100-yard rushers, and McCoy is fourth in the league with 1,128 yards. Miami limited McCoy to 50 yards on 20 carries two weeks ago. The Dolphins must pick their poison between McCoy and QB Tyrod Taylor. Although Taylor beat them in the last meeting, they would rather take their chances there than with McCoy.
--Dolphins RB Kenyan Drake vs. Bills' defense. Drake had 113 yards from scrimmage against Buffalo two weeks ago; the Bills allowed Drake runs of 31 and 19 yards in the first quarter. Drake must find a way to keep moving the chains, aside from big plays, for this offense to work efficiently. And the offensive line must do its part, or too much of the game plan will rely on inconsistent QB Jay Cutler.
FRIDAY INJURY REPORT
--Out: CB Shareece Wright (concussion)
--Questionable: G Ryan Groy (illness), WR Deonte Thompson (back, shoulder)
--Doubtful: QB Matt Moore (foot), T Laremy Tunsil (ankle), RB Damien Williams (shoulder)
--Questionable: TE MarQueis Gray (hip), DE Charles Harris (thigh), LB Neville Hewitt (hamstring), S T.J. McDonald (shoulder), WR DeVante Parker (ankle), S Michael Thomas (not injury related), CB Alterraun Verner (hamstring), DE Cameron Wake (illness)
PLAYER SPOTLIGHT: Bills DT Kyle Williams. The 12-year veteran may be playing his final game in the NFL. His play has slipped and he might choose retirement to free agency. He no longer can hold the point of attack like he once did, and part of that has to do with the trade of wide-bodied Marcell Dareus. Teams have had some success running up the middle on the Bills -- New England managed 193 yards last week. Williams can still make the occasional penetration -- last week he sacked Tom Brady -- but the Dolphins may look to exploit the soft middle of the Bills' defense.
FAST FACTS: The Bills can clinch a playoff berth with a win combined with either a Baltimore loss or losses by both Tennessee and Los Angeles. ... In five games vs. Miami, Bills QB Tyrod Taylor has nine TD passes and no interceptions, plus two rushing scores. ... RB LeSean McCoy had 96 scrimmage yards and two TDs in the last meeting. Since entering the league in 2009, he has 73 games with 100 scrimmage yards, most in the NFL. ... LB Preston Brown had team-high 10 tackles in the last meeting. ... S Jordan Poyer had an INT in the last meeting. He has picked off a pass in two straight games. ... S Micah Hyde is tied for third among NFL safeties with a career-high five interceptions. ... Miami QB Jay Cutler has five TD passes and one pick in his past two home games vs. AFC East clubs. ... RB Kenyan Drake had 113 scrimmage yards and a rushing TD in the last meeting. ... WR Jarvis Landry leads the NFL with 103 catches. He had 10 catches for 99 yards in the last meeting. ... CB Xavien Howard had a sack in the last meeting. ... DE Cameron Wake had a sack in the last game vs. Buffalo. He has 3.5 sacks in the past three meetings. ... S Reshad Jones had a career-high 15 tackles last week.
PREDICTION: The Dolphins can play spoiler against a Bills team that beat them just two weeks ago. Look for Miami to get it done in what may be Cutler's last game as a Dolphin.
OUR PICK: Dolphins, 20-17.