Dolphins matchup may no longer be a 'gimme game'


There is no denying a favorable schedule has been key in the Buffalo Bills' 6-3 record through the first nine games of the season.

Getting to play opponents like the Washington Redskins, Cincinnati Bengals, and the New York Giants has helped put Buffalo in prime position to grab at least a Wild Card spot in the playoffs. 

Playing the winless Miami Dolphins team in October was seen as one of the many "gimme games" the Bills had on the schedule, but with the Dolphins back on the schedule this Sunday at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami? The matchup doesn't seem as easy to look past. 

Miami has won two straight games, including last week's 16-12 win against the 5-3 Indianapolis Colts. 

Led by quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick, the tank-buster himself, the Dolphins have played some competitive football.

Bills fans shouldn't be surprised by the recent success with Fitzpatrick under center. After starting the 2010 season 0-8, Fitzpatrick led the Bills to a 4-4 record in the second half of the season. It cost them a chance at drafting quarterback Cam Newton with the first overall pick in the 2011 NFL Draft. Not to mention, at the time, Buffalo was 0-8, and many believed quarterback Andrew Luck was going to declare for the draft as well. 

Fast forward nine years and it may be happening again for the tanking Dolphins.

Over the last five weeks, Miami has lost just one game by two touchdowns or more. While they are still at the bottom of the league at 2-7 and the Bills should be considered a heavy favorite, this isn't the Dolphins that were outscored 163-26 through the first month of the season. 

Buffalo may not be able to afford the slow start that gave Miami a chance the last time these two teams played in Week 7. The offense can't sleepwalk through four quarters for a second straight game. 

The Bills can't prove to the league they are legitimate contenders with a win on Sunday, but they can put their season in danger with a second straight loss to an inferior opponent.