The bye week has come and gone as the Miami Dolphins look ahead to Sunday's crucial matchup against the Buffalo Bills at Sun Life Stadium. At 3-2, the Dolphins weathered the storm in what many believed to be the toughest part of the schedule and have positioned themselves well to make a run at the playoffs. However, the team has suffered two consecutive losses and must right the ship this week to prove they are a true contender.
In addition to allowing the team to regroup, the Dolphins Week 6 bye gave their injured stars a chance to get healthy. Cameron Wake is listed as probable and would provide a huge boost to Miami's pass rush if he is able to suit up. Dimitri Patterson, who hasn't played since Week 2, is questionable and could add depth to a depleted secondary if he is able to play. While Dannell Ellerbe insists he will be on the field this Sunday, it looks like a long shot as he is listed as doubtful.
The bye also gave the Dolphins the opportunity to make adjustments to what wasn't working in the first five games of the season. Have Ryan Tannehill and Mike Wallace developed chemistry? Will the coaching staff use more Marcus Thigpen and less Daniel Thomas at running back? Has the offensive line worked out the kinks? These are all questions that will be answered on Sunday.
On the other hand, the 2-4 Buffalo Bills are coming off an impressive performance against Cincinnati in which they lost 27-24 in overtime. Despite starting practice squad call-upThad Lewis at quarterback , the Bills have shown they can compete with anyone and should not be take lightly. Buffalo also features an explosive rushing attack with the likes of C.J. Spiller and Fred Jackson and a defense that can generate takeaways.
With Lewis not 100% healthy, the Dolphins game plan on defense should be simple; get pressure on the quarterback. Miami's front seven should have the edge against a Bills offensive line that has allowed nine sacks in the past two games, especially if Wake is on the field.
On offense the Dolphins need to make sure they protect the football. Ryan Tannehill must make good decisions with his passes and avoid adding to his high fumble total. After throwing three interceptions against New Orleans, Tannehill didn't throw a pick last week and that must continue. Establishing the run and improving on their 29th in the league rank must be a priority for Miami as well in order to make the offense multi-dimensional and take pressure off Tannehill going forward.
Considering the Dolphins have had two weeks to prepare and the significance of this home game, Miami should win and really have no excuses if they are unable to execute. Joe Philbin called this week's practice the best the team has had so far therefore it will be interesting to see if it translates to Sunday.
Prediction: Dolphins 27, Bills 20