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Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
Player Projections by Team
Game Predictions Summary
The Huddle
September 13, 2006
Season Ticket
Sunday Late
Sunday night
Sunday Late
DET at CHI OAK at BAL STL at SF   updated

Prediction: BUF 16, MIA 24

The Bills came out swinging last week and took a 17-7 halftime lead but finally succumbed to the Patriots 19-17 in a game that could have gone either way. The Fins couldn't beat the Steelers even with Roethlisberger missing and that big-time running game with Ronnie Brown is still barely used even in the second week of the season. Back at home, Culpepper gets a chance to rekindle 2004, not 2005 like he did in Pittsburgh.

These teams traded home wins in 2005, with the Bills winning 20-14 and the Dolphins squeaking past 24-23 in Miami.

Buffalo Bills (0-1)
1 17-19 @NE 10 --- @IND
2 --- @MIA 11 --- @HOU
3 --- NYJ 12 --- JAX
4 --- MIN 13 --- SD
5 --- @CHI 14 --- @NYJ
6 --- @DET 15 --- MIA
7 --- NE 16 --- TEN
8 Open Bye 17 --- @BAL
9 --- GB - - -
BUF at MIA Rush Catch Pass
QB J.P. Losman 0 0 190,1
RB Willis McGahee 70 20 0
TE Robert Royal 0 10 0
WR Peerless Price 0 30 0
WR Lee Evans 0 80,1 0
WR Josh Reed 0 40 0
PK Rian Lindell 3 FG 1 XP -
Pregame Notes: The Pats game was largely a defensive affair and the Bills scored first on a fumble return but the offense was barely average in all facets thanks in part to a good New England defense playing at home. The Bills host the Jets next week and at least a good showing here will help to keep their confidence that continues to grow despite their recent defeat.

Quarterback: J. P. Losman took the opening game start and ended with 15 of 23 for 164 yards and no scores. Nothing great but nothing bad either as he had no turnovers. This second road game should be no less of a challenge going against the Miami defense and he did have some success there last year. While Kelly Holcomb was ineffective in the first match-up, J.P. Losman turned in 224 yards and three scores in week 13 in Miami.

Running Backs: Willis McGahee ended with 70 yards on 20 carries in New England last week but he added two catches for 24 yards and had 42 yards on ten carries by halftime before tweaking his ankle. He continued to play and is expected to be fine this week.

McGahee ran for 86 yards and one score in Buffalo and then 81 yards in Miami against the Fins in 2005.

Wide Receivers: The moderate passing numbers naturally depressed all the receivers and Josh Reed actually led the crew with only three catches for 40 yards. Lee Evans had the most passes thrown to him with six, but he only managed to snare two for 25 yards. Peerless Price had a similar three receptions for 25 yards. The installation of the new offense by Steve Fairchild hasn't come together yet but at least Losman was spreading the ball around well.

Lee Evans had his best game of the year in 2005 when he went to Miami in week 13 and left with five catches for 117 yards and three touchdowns.

Tight Ends: As usual, the position was used for just one pass last week and mainly serves to block for McGahee.

Match Against the Defense: The Miami defense allowed Willie Parker around 4.0 yards per carry last week but that was on the road. Much of what McGahee will produce will depend on volume related to game situation. Expect only a moderate game here with likely no score.

Losman faces a secondary that allowed three scores to Batch and the Bills will have at least as much reason to throw this week. The Miami corners are not nearly as good as they once were and Losman should manage at least one score here if not two. Total yardage won't be too high as this game will concentrate on rushing initially but Losman should post moderate numbers using his trio of wideouts. The scores would favor Lee Evans the most. The Dolphins have been without CB Travis Daniels for a month now and Andre Goodman has been replacing him. That match-up would go to Peerless Price but he hasn't proven to be a worthwhile addition yet to rely on for a score. The Dolphins gave up 209 yards to the Steelers but 87 yards came on one play to Heath Miller.

Miami Dolphins (0-1)
1 17-28 @PIT 10 --- KC
2 --- BUF 11 --- MIN
3 --- TEN 12 --- @DET
4 --- @HOU 13 --- JAX
5 --- @NE 14 --- NE
6 --- @NYJ 15 --- @BUF
7 --- GB 16 --- NYJ
8 Open Bye 17 --- @IND
9 --- @CHI - MON THU
MIA vs BUF Rush Catch Pass
QB Daunte Culpepper 0 0 250,2
RB Ronnie Brown 90,1 30 0
TE Randy McMichael 0 10 0
WR Chris Chambers 0 80,1 0
WR Marty Booker 0 60,1 0
WR Wes Welker 0 50 0
PK Olindo Mare 1 FG 3 XP -

Pregame Notes: The Dolphins played in the first Thursday night game of the year so they are spending nine days preparing for this home game. The Steeler game got away from them because of two interceptions and one long reception by Heath Miller, otherwise they played them much closer. Back at home this week should get the offense back on track and help eliminate the errors that proved so costly last week.

Quarterback: Daunte Culpepper had a mixed grade from his first start as a Dolphin when he turned in 262 passing yards but had no scores and threw two interceptions. He also took off on three runs for eight yards. His integration into the new scheme - new for all the players no less - won't come overnight but it was encouraging to see him post nice yardage totals against a good Steeler secondary.

The Dolphins threw for 387 yards and two scores against the visiting Bills last year using both Gus Frerotte and Sage Rosenfels.

Running Backs: With Ricky Williams gone, Ronnie Brown took the primary running back role and turned it into two scores in his first game. Unfortunately, he only managed to gain 30 yards in 15 carries but in Pittsburgh he wasn't expected to catch on fire. He also had three catches for 32 yards and had every carry in the game. That's a change from 2005.

Ronnie Brown ran for 97 yards in Buffalo last year but then only had 46 yards on 11 carries against the Bills in Miami last year though he scored once.

Wide Receivers: Culpepper tried to find Chris Chambers but his 13 passes only resulted in five catches for 59 yards. Marty Booker (3-64) and Wes Welker (4-67) actually faired slightly better. With one week to judge, Culpepper is spreading the ball around to the three wideouts which is favorable but eventually those passes to Chambers will start being caught as he is already the favored target - just not with the production yet.

Chris Chambers had 93 yards and one score in this meeting last year but no other Dolphin scored or had a notable game against the Bills last year.

Tight Ends: Randy McMichael is now playing in a Mike Mularkey offense and that has never featured a tight end much. This seems in line with the one catch for ten yards that McMichael had last week though Culpepper has used Wiggins in the past with success so all is not lost here - just likely depressed from last year.

McMichael only had 18 and 30 yards against the Bills last year but scored once in each.

Match Against the Defense: The best news here is that the Bills allowed the Patriots to run for 159 yards on 33 carries between Dillon and Maroney and now there's only Ronnie Brown in Miami. Expect a solid game from Brown that could become big if the Miami defense can stop the Bills early in the game.

Culpepper goes against an average secondary that sometimes plays a bit better. But the first home game of the season means that the Dolphins will want to win and win big, particularly after last week. Look for healthy yardage here from Culpepper and at least one score that should likely go to Chambers if only because he's getting twice the passes as any other wideout.