Miami Dolphins (4-5) at Buffalo Bills (3-6)
Thursday, 8:20 ET, NFL Network, Brad Nessler, Mike Mayock, Alex Flanagan
Last meeting: Dolphins RB Reggie Bush rushed for 203 yards, including a 76-yard touchdown, in a 30-23 win Dec. 18, 2011.
Streaking: Bills RB C.J. Spiller averages 7.3 yards per carry. He has never had 20 carries in a game. In the past 14 games, Spiller topped out at 16 carries.
Spill pill: Fred Jackson (concussion) is the emotional leader of the team and his absence is significant. RB C.J. Spiller faces a stiff test in the Dolphins' fifth-ranked run defense. Miami's front seven showed signs of cracking at Indianapolis and then allowed 126 yards to Chris Johnson of the Titans in last week's blowout. Spiller has a skill set similar to Johnson's and the Bills' confidence is rising; they put up 481 yards and 35 first downs last week. Controlling the ball to keep a ragged defense off the field also requires holding a strong pocket around QB Ryan Fitzpatrick. Rookie LT Cordy Glenn is rounding back into form after an ankle injury. He'll get some help containing Dolphins DE Cameron Wake, who leads his team with 8.5 sacks and has 36.5 for his career. The Colts and Titans consistently picked on CB Jimmy Wilson, a starter by default who is best in the nickel.
Middle men: The Bills' beleaguered defense (31st in total defense, 32nd in points allowed, 32nd against the run) still poses a threat to QB Ryan Tannehill because of the interior line tandem of Marcell Dareus and Kyle Williams, active, gap-shooting tackles who can force plays outside. RB Reggie Bush hasn't been heavily involved in the passing game -- 12 catches in the past seven games -- and was benched last week for losing a fumble. The Dolphins cannot sustain success on offense without Bush, the primary big-play threat who had 203 yards last season at Buffalo and averages 5.6 yards per carry against the Bills. Tannehill can pass on first down without fear of turnovers. He's coming off of a three-interception clunker, but the Bills have allowed 29 passes of 20-plus yards, and have given up a cumulative quarterback rating of 96.8 and 18 TD passes.
Need to know: Fitzpatrick needs five TD passes to pass Jack Kemp (77) for third place on the team's career list. ... QB Ryan Tannehill has 165 completions and needs 12 more for most by a Dolphins' rookie quarterback (David Woodley).