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EVEN WITH KELLY OUT, HBO TRIO PICKS BILLS TO WIN

Frank Reich and the Buffalo Bills were given a vote of confidence Tuesday concerning Sunday's key American Football Conference East game with the Miami Dolphins.

Make that three votes of confidence.

The three members of Home Box Office's "Inside the NFL" show -- Nick Buoniconti, Len Dawson and Cris Collinsworth -- all picked the Bills to defeat the Dolphins even without injured quarterback Jim Kelly. They seem to have a lot more confidence in Reich and the Bills' defense against the run than many Western New Yorkers have.

The HBO show, which airs at 7 tonight and also Thursday, Friday and Sunday, taped this week's edition Tuesday from the Rich Renaissance Niagara.

"I think Buffalo is going to win," said Buoniconti, a former Dolphin great who still lives in Miami. "Kelly's injury would have been a lot more significant if Frank Reich hadn't proved he can play and win for them the last year. It is almost like Buffalo didn't miss a beat with him. Of all the teams in the NFL that can afford to lose their starter -- and Jim Kelly is a great player -- but if you have to lose your starter, the Bills are best equipped to handle that because of Reich. He could start probably for 10 teams in the league."

Dawson likes the Bills because of defense.

"Whether Kelly or Reich was playing, the important part of this ball game is whether they take care of (Miami) quarterback Dan Marino. I don't think that Miami is going to be able to run on them. They haven't been able to run against the last few teams they've played. Marino has been the key. I think Buffalo has the people and talent to do it."

Collinsworth, the newest member of the HBO crew, likes the Bills' secondary and adds: "I think defensively Buffalo is a little too strong. I can't imagine the Dolphins being able to win the game just throwing the football. And I don't think they'll run it at all against the Bills."

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