Tonight’s NFL Thursday Night Football game on NFL Network doesn’t hold any playoff implications unless the New England Patriots stumble hard down the stretch. The struggling 3-6 Buffalo Bills are set to host the up-and-down 4-5 Miami Dolphins, who trail the AFC East leading Patriots by two games heading into tonight. Other than the Patriots, the rest of the AFC East including Miami and Buffalo are a combined 10-17 this season and gasping for breath.
Buffalo comes into tonight’s game on a three-game skid and losers of five-of-six, though they haven’t been losing by much during that time. Last week quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick was picked off in the endzone as the Bills had a chance to upset the division leading Patriots on the road. Had they won, tonight’s game would have been a battle for second place in the division.
Unfortunately for the Bills and their fans, running back Fred Jackson will not suit up tonight after suffering a nasty concussion late in the game versus the Patriots. Rather than having their usual one-two punch in the backfield, the Bills will look to C.J. Spiller to carry the load. Though Spiller is the team leader in rushing yards, he usually is not required to take the bulk of the carries.
The Dolphins were looking like a surprise team early in the season but have stumbled since. Last week they got blown out at home 3-37 by the Tennessee Titans, and Reggie Bush spent much of the game on the bench after a first-quarter fumble while Ryan Tannehill threw three interceptions. Bush is expected to get more carries this week, especially since his career high of 203 rushing yards came against the Bills last season.
Though Jackson is out for the Bills, the Dolphins must still be concerned about their run defense that has given up over 135 yards per game over their last four. They should be able to zero in on Spiller and limit his yards.
Tonight’s Thursday Night Football game between the Miami Dolphins and Buffalo Bills will be televised in HD on the NFL Network channel. Those of you with cable access can watch a free live streaming version of the game on your tablet or mobile phone here on the official NFL website. Kickoff for tonight’s AFC East clash of mediocrity commences at 8:20pm EST. My prediction is the Dolphins can’t handle the cold or Buffalo offense and come up short by a 23-13 score.