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Predictions & Projections
By David M. Dorey
 
The Huddle
WEEK 16
December 17, 2003
Season Ticket
Saturday Sun 1 PM Sun 1 PM Sun 4 PM Sun 8:30 PM
ATL at TB 1 BAL at CLE NYG at DAL ARZ at SEA DEN at IND
KC at MIN 5 CIN at STL NO at JAX SD at PIT Mon 9 PM
NE at NYJ 8:30 DET at CAR TEN at HOU SF at PHI GB at OAK
Times EST MIA at BUF WAS at CHI *updated
   
Miami vs Buffalo Sun, Dec 21; 1 PM on CBS at Ralph Wilson Stadium
  Miami at BUF Rush Catch Pass
QB Jay Fiedler 10 0 200,1
RB Ricky Williams 100,1 20 0
TE Randy McMichael 0 50,1 0
WR Chris Chambers 0 60 0
WR Derrius Thompson 0 40 0
WR James McKnight 0 20 0
  Buffalo vs MIA Rush Catch Pass
QB Drew Bledsoe 0 0 190,1
RB Travis Henry 80,1 10 0
TE M. Campbell 0 20 0
WR Eric Moulds 0 40 0
WR Josh Reed 0 30 0
WR Bobby Shaw 0 50,1 0

Game Prediction: MIA 17, BUF 14

Update: James McKnight has been limited in practice due to a knee sprain and is questionable to play. I am downgrading his numbers.

In their last meeting, the Fins demolished the Bills 17-7 in a game that Ricky Williams ran wild and the Bills were absolutely punchless on offense. This time around the Dolphins are tired from Monday night and fighting an emotional letdown while the Bills also come off a heartbreaking loss to the Titans in a game they could have won.

Look for plenty of rushing this week and the game is more of a coin toss than may seem. Miami brings a better rushing game and a slightly better defense and has been a better road team than home version this season.

Miami Notes

The Dolphins fall to 8-6 with their Monday night loss to the Eagles. They are still in the hunt for a wildcard.

Quarterbacks:: Jay Fielder threw for 240 yards and two interceptions against the Eagles and scored on a rushing attempt at the goal line. Other than his big game in Dallas on Thanksgiving, Fielder has not thrown a touchdown since he returned from injury in week 12. Back in week three against the Jets, Fielder had 154 yards passing with one score in a game more dedicated to running Ricky Williams.

Running Backs: Ricky Williams turned in his sixth 100 yard game of the year when he rushed for 107 yards and one touchdown last week against the Eagles. His best game of the year was back in week three against the Bills when he gained 153 yards and one touchdown.

Receivers: Chris Chambers led wideouts last week with five catches for 86 yards but Randy McMichael became the go to guy with seven catches for 95 yards. McMichael had not caught for more than 24 yards in the previous five games.

Back in week three, Chambers had only 51 yards but scored once against the Bills while McMichael snared five passes for 57 yards in that game.

Match against the Defense: These teams play off games against one another. When Miami won at home earlier this season, it concluded a five game stretch where the visiting team always won between these two clubs.

The Bills have allowed only two passing scores in Buffalo this season and that includes holding Manning, Pennington and McNabb scoreless. The defense at home steps up very well and has never allowed a visiting opponent to throw for over 229 yards with most below 200. That fits well into the pattern of Fiedler.

The Bills rushing defense has been decent but has allowed good yards this season because opponents have ran so much against them. The problem is that the Bills offense has sputtered so much that opponents just run the ball for much of the second half of games. Ricky Williams should have a nice day here - he already has his best game of the season against the same Bills and the passing game is not likely to produce much.

Buffalo Notes

The Bills slide to 6-8 on the season with their loss to the Titans.

Quarterbacks:: Drew Bledsoe had only his third two touchdown game of the season last week in Tennessee though he only gained 168 yards passing and has never thrown for more than one score while at home this year. In week three against the Dolphins, Bledsoe was brutalized in Miami and only had 98 yards and ten completions in that game.

Running Backs: Travis Henry gained 88 yards last week which brought to an end a nice two game streak he had going with 100+ yard games and a score in each of the previous two weeks. Against the Dolphins in week three, he only had five carries for seven yards but gained 151 yards on 35 carries against them in Buffalo last season.

Receivers: Bobby Shaw had 57 yards and a score last week while Josh Reed failed to catch any passes. Eric Moulds only had 48 yards and has not seen a decent game since week four of the season. Back when the Bills went to Miami in week three, no Bills receiver had over 34 yards receiving.

Match against the Defense: This game will be harder to call since the Dolphins took a major emotional blow last Monday in their loss to the Eagles and now have a short week to prepare to hit the road to New York.

Henry was a complete non-factor earlier this year but turned in a big game in Buffalo last year against the Dolphins. Still, Miami has not allowed any runner this season to top 100 yards and have surrendered only one rushing score on the road this season. Henry should turn in a decent afternoon if only from his volume of carries.

Bledsoe faces a secondary that has not been as good this season as usual but he has not shown the ability to take advantage of a soft defense. Miami will be playing aggressively because they must stop Henry which will in turn give Bledsoe a problem in the pocket from as lack of protection.

Look for a very moderate passing game from Bledsoe and if any receiver scores, it would most likely be Shaw as the #3 drawing the safety in coverage.

Team Comparisons - Current team rankings (1-32) for FF points scored or allowed by position
Rank (1-32)
QB
RB
WR
TE
PK
DEF
MIA Scores
21
19
20
25
13
7
BUF Allows
13
4
22
11
3
7
MIA AP
-8
-15
2
-14
-10
0
Rank (1-32)
QB
RB
WR
TE
PK
DEF
BUF Scores
28
17
23
18
20
10
MIA Allows
11
15
5
13
19
19
BUF AP
-17
-2
-18
-5
-1
-9
Offensive ranks = #1 gains most points, Defensive ranks = #1 allows least points
AP = Advantage Points, the net difference between a positional rank gained or allowed by the teams.
MIA
BUF
2003 Game Averages
BUF
MIA
Gains
Allows
QB's
Gains
Allows
182
226
Pass yards
162
196
0.8
0.8
Pass TDs
1.0
0.8
1.4
0.6
Interceptions
0.6
1.4
7
1
Rush yards
2
15
0.4
0.2
Rush TDs
0.2
0.2
---
---
RB's
---
---
113
73
Rush yards
132
96
0.8
0.4
Rush TDs
0.6
0.8
29
32
Receive yards
24
38
0.0
0.0
Receive TD's
0.0
0.4
---
---
WR's
---
---
124
172
Receive yards
126
120
0.8
0.6
Receive TD's
0.6
0.4
---
---
TE's
---
---
29
22
Receive yards
12
39
0.0
0.2
Receive TD's
0.4
0.0
---
---
PK's
---
---
1.6
1.0
Field Goals
1.2
1.6
2.2
1.8
Extra Points
2.0
2.0
---
---
DEF/ST
---
---
1.0
0.8
Fumbles
0.6
0.6
1.4
0.2
Interceptions
0.4
1.4
0.2
0.0
Touchdowns
0.2
0.2
2.8
3.0
Sacks
4.0
2.0
0.0
0.0
Safeties
0.4
0.2
Dolphins (8-5)
Score Opp.
20-21 HOU
21-10 @NYJ
17-7 BUF
Week 4 BYE
23-10 @NYG
24-10 @JAX
13-19 NE
26-10 @SD
17-23 IND
7-31 @TEN
9-6 BAL
24-23 WAS
41-20 @DAL
0-12 @NE
Week 15 PHI
Week 16 @BUF
Week 17 NYJ
Bills (6-8)
Score Opp.
31-0 NE
38-17 @JAX
7-17 @MIA
13-23 PHI
22-16 CIN
3-30 @NYJ
24-7 WAS
5-38 @KC
Week 9 BYE
6-10 @DAL
10-12 HOU
14-17 IND
24-7 @NYG
17-6 NYJ
26-28 @TEN
Week 16 MIA
Week 17 @NE

* Fantasy point rankings calculated using standard Huddle fantasy points using only the last five games played