1:00 PM EST on Sunday, Sept 12th. The game will be
broadcast regionally on CBS TV, on DirecTV channel 705 and on Sirius
radio 91 and 130.
PLACE: Ralph Wilson Stadium, Orchard Park, NY
WEATHER FORECAST: A chance of showers. Mostly cloudy, with a high near
73. Chance of precipitation is 40%.
FIELD CONDITIONS: The Bills' field has an artificial surface called
"AstroPlay". This stuff is supposed to be much better than the old
AstroTurf from which it evolved. There are no other events at Ralph
Wilson before the game, so it should be in good shape.
STANDINGS & STATS: Since this is the first game of the season, there
are no relevant stats. Stats below are from the end of last season.
Dolphins Pts/Game Rank Bills Pts/Game Rank
Scored 22.5 15 Scored 16.1 28
Allowed 24.4 25 Allowed 20.4 16
Dolphins Yds/Game Rank Bills Yds/Game Rank
Total Offense: 338 16 Total Defense: 341 19
Rushing: 140 4 vs Rush: 156 30
Passing: 198 20 vs Pass: 185 2
Total Offense: 274 30 Total Defense: 349 22
Rushing: 117 16 vs Rush: 115 18
Passing: 157 30 vs Pass: 234 24
Sacks Made (Avg/G) Allowed (Avg/G)
Dolphins 44 2.7 34 2.1
Bills 32 2.0 46 2.8
Individual Skill Position Stats:
QB: QB Henne: 274-451-2878-12-14-75.2
Rush: RB Williams: 241-1121-4.7-11
Rush: RB Brown: 147-648-4.4-8
Rec: WR Marshall: 101-1120-11.1-10
Rec: WR Bess: 76-758-10.0-2
Rec: RB Williams: 35-264-7.5-2
Rec: WR Hartline: 31-506-16.3-3
QB: QB Edwards: 110-183-1169-6-7-73.8
Rush: RB Jackson: 237-1062-4.5-2
Rush: RB Lynch: 120-450-3.8-2
Rec: RB Jackson: 46-371-8.1-2
Rec: WR Evans: 44-612-13.9-7
Rec: RB Lynch: 28-179-6.4-0
HISTORY: The Dolphins have won 3 of the last 4 against the Bills, but
have only won once in their last 6 trips to Buffalo. The last time
Miami faced the Bills, the Dolphins lead 14-7 going into the 4th
quarter, but gave up 24 unanswered points in the final period and lost
31-14. Overall, the Dolphins lead the series 52-37-1.
DOLPHINS: LB Channing Crowder (groin) did not practice on Wednesday or
Thursday. OT Jake Long (knee) was limited in practice. WR Brandon
Marshall (ankle) full participated in practice.
BILLS: Linebackers Reggie Torbor (chest), Kawika Mitchell (foot) and
Antonio Coleman (hamstring) did not practice on Wednesday or Thursday.
Safety Jairus Byrd (groin) was limited, but did practice.
QB - 7 Chad Henne LE - 70 Kendall Langford
RB - 23 Ronnie Brown NT - 94 Randy Starks
FB - 36 Lousaka Polite RE - 98 Jared Odrick
WR - 19 Brandon Marshall SLB - 59 Ikaika Alama-Francis
WR - 82 Brian Hartline ILB - 52 Channing Crowder
TE - 80 Anthony Fasano ILB - 58 Karlos Dansby
LT - 77 Jake Long WLB - 91 Cameron Wake
LG - 68 Richie Incognito LCB - 21 Vontae Davis
C - 67 Joe Berger RCB - 32 Jason Allen
RG - 74 John Jerry SS - 37 Yeremiah Bell
RT - 72 Vernon Carey FS - 30 Chris Clemons
K - 5 Dan Carpenter P - 2 Brandon Fields
PR - 22 Clifton Smith KR - 22 Clifton Smith
Jake Long is practicing and should start. Channing Crowder did
not practice on Wednesday, but may still start. If Crowder can't go,
Tim Dobbins will fill in at ILB. Clifton Smith was just signed, but
is an outstanding returner and will, most likely, be returning punts
QB - 5 Trent Edwards LDE - 99 Marcus Stroud
RB - 21 C.J. Spiller NT - 95 Kyle Williams
FB - 38 Corey McIntyre RDE - 98 Dwan Edwards
WR - 13 Steve Johnson SLB - 53 Reggie Torbor
WR - 83 Lee Evans ILB - 54 Andra Davis
TE - 88 Jonathan Stupar ILB - 51 Paul Posluszny
LT - 77 Demetrius Bell WLB - 90 Chris Kelsey
LG - 67 Andy Levitre RCB - 29 Drayton Florence
C - 63 Geoff Hangartner LCB - 24 Terrence McGee
RG - 70 Eric Wood SS - 20 Donte Whitner
RT - 74 Cornell Green FS - 31 Jairus Byrd
K - 9 Rian Lindell P - 8 Brian Moorman
KR - 28 L McKelvin PR - 11 Roscoe Parrish
Reggie Torbor is penciled in as one of the starting outside
linebackers for the Bills, but is injured and may not go.
- Dolphins vs Themselves: The Dolphins had a poor preseason,
have just finished playing musical chairs on the offensive line, have
injuries to some key players and are working with a new defensive
system. And if that wasn't enough, the Dolphins under Tony Sparano are
0-2 on opening days and 1-5 in September.
- Wake, Ike and Misi vs C.J. Spiller: Bills' rookie
C.J. Spiller is an amazing talent and very quick to the outside. The
Dolphins are starting all new outside linebackers this year and they
must contain Spiller.
- Dolphins Interior Offensive line vs Bills Defensive line:
The Dolphins are starting a rookie right guard and a brand new left
guard against a tough, veteran Bills' defensive line.
- Chad Henne vs Bills' Secondary: In the last game against
the Bills, Henne threw 3 interceptions in the 4th quarter. Bills'
safety Jairus Byrd had 9 picks last year and Henne must protect the
ball in order for the Dolphins to win.
PLAYERS TO WATCH:
The new season brings a lot of questions and this year, they
start on the offensive line. The play of Joe Berger, rookie John
Jerry and Richie Incognito will be key to the offensive success of
this team and they'll get a tough test on Sunday. There will be a lot
of attention paid to Brandon Marshall, but that could open up
opportunities for Brian Hartline, who could have a big game.
On defense, rookie Jared Odrick will get his first taste of
the real NFL and how well he can hold his position on the line will be
crucial to limiting the Bills' ability to run. But perhaps more
importantly, the Dolphins' perimeter linebackers - Cameron Wake, Koa
Misi and Ikaika Alama-Francis - will need to contain the edge running
game of the Bills. And Jason Allen will get the start at cornerback
and will be tested early and often.
Bills' Quarterback Trent Edwards has been called the worst
starting quarterback in the NFL, but has managed to keep his job this
year under new head coach Chan Gailey. The big news for the Bills'
offense, however, is rookie running back C.J. Spiller, who was a
controversial pick for the Bills in this year's draft. He is very
quick and elusive, but at less than 200 pounds, he's not a bruiser.
On defense, the Bills have a stout veteran defensive line with
Marcus Stroud, Kyle Williams and Dwan Edwards. They also have a strong
secondary, anchored by safety Jairus Byrd, who had 9 interceptions
last season. However, there are questions about their linebacking
corps, with former Dolphin Reggie Torbor and Antonio Coleman both
Miami picked up former Pro-Bowl return man Clifton Smith a
couple of days ago, but it's unclear how much he'll be able to
Bills' Punt Returner Roscoe Parrish used to be an outstanding
return man, but had a very poor year in 2009.
The Dolphins open the season with a game that should be
relatively easy for them to win. The Dolphins match up very well
against the Bills, as their offensive strength is running the football
and the Bills were ranked 30th in the league in run defense last
The Dolphins also have a new, more aggressive defensive
coordinator and more experience in the secondary. They've improved
their linebacking corps and face a weak Buffalo offense that has lost
Terrell Owens and will be relying on a rookie starter at running
Unfortunately, there are two reasons to think that this game
will not be as easy for Miami as it should. The first is that the
Dolphins have not won in Ralph Wilson Stadium since 2003. There are
more than one reason for this record, but a very large factor is that
the Bills are always extra fired-up to play the Dolphins, one of their
biggest rivals. That extra enthusiasm the Bills show often makes up
for a lack of talent.
The other reason is that, under Tony Sparano, the Dolphins
have been very slow starters. Since Sparano took over, the Dolphins
are 0-2 on opening days and 1-5 in September. If the Dolphins get off
to a slow start this weekend, they could find themselves on the losing
end of an embarrassing loss.
For Miami to win this game on Sunday, they will need to play
much better than they have in the preseason. Chad Henne must avoid
the kind of mistakes that doomed the Dolphins the last time they
traveled to Buffalo. In last year's game at Ralph Wilson Stadium,
Henne threw 3 picks in the 4th quarter to give the Bills the victory.
On defense, the Dolphins must secure the perimeters to keep
the Bills from running to the outside. Last year, Miami had trouble
doing that and it cost them. This year, with new starting outside
linebackers, the Dolphins must secure those edges to stop the Bills'
When Miami has the ball, look for them to concentrate on the
run. It doesn't take a genius to figure out that Miami will want to
run the ball right down the Bills' throats as this will not only
attack the weakest part of the Bills' defense, but it will also give
the Bills' secondary less chance to do what they did to Chad Henne
Fortunately for the Dolphins, they are in a much better
position to run the ball effectively than they were the last time they
visited Buffalo. Ronnie Brown is back and the Dolphins have their
full complement of running backs ready to go. The question for
Miami's running game is whether or not the new offensive line can open
the lanes that Ronnie and Ricky need and we don't know the answer to
that question - yet.
When Miami throws, Brandon Marshall will get his share of
passes, but it could be Brian Hartline that will have the best
opportunity to break some big plays. Hartline averaged 16.3 yards per
catch last season, about 5.2 yards per catch more than Brandon
Marshall. With Buffalo focusing on Marshall, Hartline should get
plenty of opportunities to break some big plays - provided Henne sees
that and can get the ball to him.
On defense, Miami's first priority will be to guard the
perimeter and prevent the Bills from running to the outside. With new
starting outside linebackers Cam Wake, Koa Misi and Ike Alama-Francis,
this could prove tough. If those three players can hold their own and
seal the edges, the Dolphins should be able to contain the Bills'
runners. Alama-Francis is big and strong, but has never played OLB
before, while Wake is primarily a pass-rusher and Misi is a rookie.
The defensive backs will also need to contribute to containing
the outside running game of the Bills, which may account for the
promotion of Jason Allen to starting on the right side. While Vontae
Davis is a very aggressive and hard-hitting tackler, Sean Smith is not
as good at defending the run. Jason Allen is a stronger hitter and
probably a better tackler than Smith and with the Dolphins facing a
team with a very limited passing attack, Jason Allen would be better
in run support than Smith.
The Bills' passing game is not very strong and will be even
less dangerous this year without Terrell Owens. Their starting
quarterback, Trent Edwards, is one of the worst in the NFL and shows
no signs of improving dramatically. As long as the Dolphins don't
commit and huge errors, they should be able to halt the Bills'
In the past, the Bills have had some very good special teams,
but last year they regressed dramatically. They have many of the same
players returning kicks and punts, but their production dropped off
dramatically last season.
For the Dolphins, it will be very interesting to see if
newcomer Clifton Smith can put some spark back in Miami's return
game. Two years ago, Smith made the Pro-Bowl as a rookie return man
for Tampa Bay, but had two concussions last year and was not as
dynamic, although he still averaged 29.1 yards per kickoff return in
Overall, the Dolphins should beat the Bills on Sunday. But to
do that, they must come out of the gate faster, with more intensity
and playing smarter than they have the last two years. They must not
make the kind of mistakes they have been making on opening day since
Tony Sparano took over or they will find themselves losing in Buffalo.
PLACES TO WATCH:
To watch the game on TV, you may go to one of the sports bars listed on my "Places To Watch" web page.
To listen to the game live over the Internet, you must now pay
the NFL for the privelege. They are charging $9.99 (US) per month or
$39.99 for the season for something you used to get for free. If you want to sign up for that, go to the following link NFL Field Pass.
Also, here is a list of some websites that have live scores
and updates. Both the Official Website and NFL.com have almost live
applications that run in your browser and give you current stats and