1. Another shot for J.P.
Bills' offense has come alive under QB J.P. Losman, who gets another start in place of injured Trent Edwards. Losman was efficient and made plays downfield last week in win over Cincinnati. . . . WR Lee Evans benefited from Losman's return with a season-high nine catches for 165 yards. Evans figures to give suspect Dolphins secondary a lot of trouble. . . . DE Jason Taylor has not been as disruptive as last season when he was NFL's Defensive Player of the Year. He does have four sacks and three forced fumbles, so Bills will be aware of where he lines up. . . . Even with Taylor, Dolphins' pass rush has not been good. If Miami is forced to blitz, look for Losman to exploit one-on-one matchups with Evans and other receivers.
2. A heavy dose of rushing game.
Bills RB Marshawn Lynch is coming off first 100-yard game and is now NFL's fourth-leading rusher. Buffalo's offensive line is doing better job of sustaining blocks, but Lynch can be counted on to get a lot of yards on his own. . . . MLB Zach Thomas' absence has weakened a Dolphins run defense that allows a league-high 160.5 yards and gave up 299 to Oakland. DT Vonnie Holliday's return should help. . . . Look for Bills to pound Lynch inside on isolation runs and get him on perimeter on off-tackle plays. This will make Miami commit eighth man to defensive front, which makes secondary vulnerable to deep passes. Dolphins had better tackle well because Lynch gains yards after contact.
3. Putting squeeze on Lemon.
QB Cleo Lemon has been a marginal replacement for injured Trent Green. Fans and media are calling for rookie John Beck and they might get their wish if Lemon struggles today. . . . With top WR Chris Chambers gone (traded to San Diego), Dolphins are counting on veteran Marty Booker and rookie first-round draft pick Ted Ginn Jr. to make plays on perimeter. Booker and Ginn have speed to stretch defenses, but Dolphins need a third target to work short and intermediate zones. . . . Expect Bills to use same unconventional schemes and blitz packages that have been so successful in recent weeks. Their pressure could rattle Lemon and force him to make ill-advised throws.
4. Ground to a halt.
Losing RB Ronnie Brown for season with knee injury was big blow to Dolphins' ground attack. New starter Jesse Chatman is a short, compact runner with deceiving power, but must prove he can be consistently productive. . . . Miami's offensive line has been a pleasant surprise this season, creating enough of a push to average five yards per carry (second-best in NFL) and nine rushing touchdowns (fifth most in the league). . . . Bills have yielded yards grudgingly in recent weeks as defensive line is penetrating gaps more often. Buffalo will test Miami's patience with interior stunts, twists and zone run blitzes to keep Dolphins off balance.
5. Difference makers in return game.
Terrence McGee, who has big kickoff returns against Miami, faces Dolphins' coverage team that has given up two touchdowns and a league-high 29.8 yards per return. Roscoe Parrish, who is questionable with a bruised thigh, averages 19.2 yards per punt return. . . . Ginn has only shown flashes as a kickoff and punt returner, but has speed to be a game-breaker. . . . Bills P Brian Moorman is adept at pinning opponents inside 20-yard line. Miami P Brandon Fields doesn't always get sufficient hang time. . . . Bills K Rian Lindell and Dolphins K Jay Feeley have converted 87 and 93 percent, respectively, of field goal attempts.
Bills won't get caught looking ahead to New England as Dolphins' imperfect season continues. Buffalo, 20-13.