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Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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The Huddle
~ 2009 ~
Season Ticket
Sunday Late
Bye Week

Prediction: BUF 17, MIA 20

Nothing like the visiting Saints shutting your offense down to show there are problems with the offense. The Bills stumble south with a 1-2 record to face the 0-3 Dolphins who are fresh out of starting quarterbacks. The Dolphins swept the Jets last year, winning 23-16 at home and later 16-3 in Buffalo. The Bills are favored in this but the Fins at home won't go 0-4. Not with the Bills already having offensive line and "TO" problems.

Buffalo Bills (1-2)
Homefield: Ralph Wilson Stadium
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 @NE 24-25 +10.5 47
2 TB 33-20 -4 41
3 NO 7-27 +5.5 52.5
4 @MIA - -2.5 37
5 CLE - - -
6 @NYJ - - -
7 @CAR - - -
8 HOU - - -
9 BYE - - -
10 @TEN - - -
11 @JAC - - -
12 MIA - - -
13 NYJ - - -
14 @KC - - -
15 NE - - -
16 @ATL - - -
17 IND - - -
BUF at MIA Rush Catch Pass
QB Trent Edwards     210,2
RB Marshawn Lynch 40 10  
RB Fred Jackson 40 30  
TE Derek Fine   20,1  
WR Lee Evans   30  
WR Terrell Owens   50,1  
WR Josh Reed   50  
PK Rian Lindell 1 FG 2 XP  

Pregame Notes: The Bills thought they were going to be something this season when they nearly played the Patriots even and then beat up on the visiting Buccaneers like it was an accomplishment. But the Saints domination of them - particularly as a defense - led to the thorough thrashing. No doubt the Dolphins saw how the Bills offensive line was constantly beaten by the Saints. With the Browns showing up next week there is still a chance to keep up with the rest of the division but a loss here would make that a pipe dream only a month into the season.

Quarterback: The addition of Terrell Owens has not proven to be a big boost for the offense and Trent Edwards did what no other quarterback had done for the last 185 games - he failed to throw a completion to Owens. Edwards has already been sacked ten times this season and thrown two interceptions. Last week he only managed 156 passing yards and no scores. This is a huge week for Edwards and the Bills for that matter. Opening week was impressive but the win over the Bucs seems less awe-inspiring with every passing week. And the loss to the Saints undid all the good the offense had done in the first two games. Head down to Miami and win, the season is saved and the Bills go to 3-2 with a win over the Browns the next week. Lose in Miami and all the media will have left to do is throwing lit matches at Terrell Owens to see when he explodes.

Edwards passed for 227 yards and no scores in Miami last year.

The Dolphins could be down this week with the loss of their quarterback but assuming the defense remains the same, Edwards should have some bounce back in this game. The Fins have allowed over 300 passing yards in the two more recent games but then again, so far their opponents have been Peyton Manning, Matt Ryan and Philip Rivers. Trent Edwards in the same breath? Probably not.

Look for much better passing yards this week and a shot at two touchdowns.

Running Backs: The good news is that this is the week that Marshawn Lynch returns. And this is the week that HC Dick Jauron intends to use both runners with an even distribution between both. Wonderful, the NFL needed another "divided by two" backfield. Fred Jackson had been a nice starter for three weeks with never less than 97 total yards per game but now... divided by two.

Lynch and Jackson combined for 102 rushing yards and a score in Miami last season. In the later home game, Lynch was the sole rusher and had only 31 yards on 13 carries.

The Fins have been outstanding against the run this year and at home in a game they gotta win - expect a big defensive effort here. They have only allowed 194 rushing yards in total over the last three games and surrendered just one rushing score. You benched Lynch this long - what's one more week?

Wide Receivers: How would you like to have the locker next to Terrell Owens this week? Mr. Personal Gain has his worst showing since his rookie season and kills his 185 game streak of a catch in every game. Not anymore. The fun and hilarity to fans of the other 31 teams is not the loss in production, but the way the media is now circling the stoic Owens and nipping at him like sharks trying to see what he'll do. You buy that when you buy Owens. But you usually are buying at least one catch per week as well.

Last week Josh Reed had six catches for 60 yards as the best performance by any Bills wideout this year. So far Owens hasn't even been a decent decoy.

Lee Evans had seven catches for 116 yards in Miami last year but later only turned in three receptions for 23 yards in Buffalo.

The Dolphins defense gave up some big gains to Vincent Jackson last week but all other wideouts have remained with less than 65 yards against them and only one scored. Dick Jauron said he will throw more to Owens no matter if he is covered and that should see Owens recover a bit this week. It has to. If Owens was blanked for two weeks in a row, all the major networks would be camping outside Owens' house waiting for the meltdown. Look for only moderate numbers here at best but a score for Owens is possible.

Tight Ends: Derek Fine filled in for Shawn Nelson last week and had a respectable five catches for 34 yards (too bad he couldn't give one of those to Owens). This is pertinent this week because the Fins have allowed big games to all opposing tight ends. With Dallas Clark, Tony Gonzalez and Antonio Gates already faced it is understandable but I like one of the passing scores to end up with a tight end.

Gaining Fantasy Points BUF 19 23 24 18 13 7
Preventing Fantasy Points    MIA 24 10 8 31 30 30

Miami Dolphins (0-3)
Homefield: Dolphins Stadium
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 @ATL 7-19 +4 43.5
2 IND 23-27 +3 42
3 @SD 13-23 +6 42
4 BUF - +2.5 37
5 NYJ - - -
6 BYE - - -
7 NO - - -
8 @NYJ - - -
9 @NE - - -
10 TB - - -
11 @CAR - - -
12 @BUF - - -
13 NE - - -
14 @JAC - - -
15 @TEN - - -
16 HOU - - -
17 PIT - - -
MIA vs BUF Rush Catch Pass
QB Chad Henne     190,1
RB Ronnie Brown 100,1 20  
RB Ricky Williams 60 10  
TE Anthony Fasano   20,1  
WR Ted Ginn Jr.   70  
WR Greg Camarillo   30  
WR Davone Bess   30  
PK Dan Carpenter 2 FG 2 XP  

Pregame Notes: It would certainly be understandable to wave the white flag on a season that started 0-3 and now has the starting quarterback out for what could be the rest of his career. The Dolphins were the surprise team of 2008 but this year are obviously on a slower pace. But -consider too that they have faced three very good teams already and nearly beat the visiting Colts. The Dolphins always play better at home and this week isn't as bad a matchup as it may seem. The loss of Pennington could really shake up this team though in terms of offense because Chad Henne is probably not the answer and using the wildcat formation may be a lot more attractive from here on out.

Quarterback: And down goes Pennington (Part III). He suffered a "torn capsule" in his throwing shoulder and is lost for the rest of the year. With multiple surgeries on that shoulder, it could spell the end of Pennington. What the Fins are going to miss is the fact that Pennington ranks as the most accurate passer of all time in completions. Chad Henne takes over with a much bigger arm and penchant for deep throws but won't match Pennington's ability to turn attempts into completions.

The Fins also traded a future draft pick to get Tyler Thigpen from the Chiefs for a veteran backup. How the loss of Pennington involves the Wildcat formation will be a game situation decision but the quarterback situation for fantasy purposes here just went from mediocre to muddled at best.

Pennington passed for 314 yards and one touchdown when the Bills visited last year. He later managed 181 yards and a score in Buffalo.

Henne goes against a secondary that was lit up by Brady and Leftwich (not good for the resume with that one) and they held off Drew Brees only because of the windy conditions last week and the fact the Saints just bulldozed them over with the run. Hard to expect more than moderate yards and one score from Henne who is not a safe start this week.

Running Backs: The two-headed attack continues to post decent numbers each week that makes both Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams have at least marginal fantasy value. Their only other home game this year was the monster showing by Brown against the Colts with 136 rushing yards and two scores and Williams tagged along for 72 total yards that week as well. With a new quarterback to protect and playing at home again, the rushing attack will be center stage this week and likely every week if possible.

Brown and Williams combined for just 59 rushing yards and one score against the visiting Bills in 2008 and they teamed up for 110 rushing yards in the second meeting.

The Bills seemed to have a great rush defense through two games but only because they allowed five passing scores and almost 700 passing yards. Last week the Saints ripped them for 214 rushing yards. Look for a nice game here by Brown and Williams with at least one score likely.

Wide Receivers: Other than the one showing by Ted Ginn against the Colts, this crew has always been lackluster thanks in no small part to the short passing game of Chad Pennington. Now that Henne is taking over, there is the specter of some deep throws that could actually take advantage of Ginn's speed. Both Davone Bess and Greg Camarillo remain average at best and just possession receivers but Ginn has the potential to see bigger games with Henne around.

Ted Ginn Jr. had seven receptions for 175 yards when the Bills came to Miami last year. He later only turned in one catch for 18 yards in the road meeting.

I like Ginn to have a decent game here but the Bills have not allowed any passing scores to wideouts this year and this unit seems less likely than NE or NO would have been.

Tight Ends: Good news for Anthony Fasano. The Bills are horrible against the tight ends and rank #32. They have allowed four touchdowns to the position. Problem is that Fasano has been almost invisible this year and has only three catches for 11 yards and two lost fumbles. The matchup screams for a score here but Fasano is unreliable this year. He was a scoring option in a big way in 2008 but has fallen from favor. I am awarding him the score but it could go anywhere.

Fasano never had more than 36 yards versus the Bills last season but scored in both meetings.

Gaining Fantasy Points MIA 31 4 28 32 17 30
Preventing Fantasy Points    BUF 23 29 9 32 9 22

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