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Dolphins, Bills hook up NFL Thursday

MIAMI DOLPHINS (4-5) at BUFFALO BILLS (3-6) Line & Total: Buffalo -2.5 & 45.5
Opening Line & Total: Bills -1 & 45

AFC East foes eager to put a stop to their losing streaks clash on Thursday night when the Bills host the Dolphins.

These teams have a short week to recover from tough Week 10 defeats. After a narrow 23-20 loss in Indianapolis in Week 9, the Dolphins were never in their Week 11 contest, getting blown out 37-3 at home to Tennessee. And the Bills were 15 yards away from upsetting the Patriots in New England (and that despite 148 penalty yards) before a game-ending INT sealed their third straight defeat. Miami has covered in eight of its past 10 road games, including an SU win at Buffalo last December. In that meeting, RB Reggie Bush torched the Bills for 203 rushing yards, and the Dolphins won despite losing three fumbles. Buffalo has allowed a league-high 164 rushing YPG and 5.5 YPC this season. Bills RB Fred Jackson (concussion) is listed as doubtful. Although Jackson is likely out, that could actually work in the Bills favor, as they will use a heavy dose of C.J. Spiller on Sunday. The last time Spiller faced the Dolphins, he racked up 91 yards on 12 carries (7.6 YPC) and 76 yards on nine catches, scoring both on the ground and through the air. And considering how poorly Miami defended the run last week versus Tennessee (177 rush yds on 4.8 YPC), Spiller should have a field day. And although Buffalo turned the ball over three times last week without forcing any Patriots miscues, that's actually a good sign for this week. The Bills are 16-5 ATS (76%) at home after a game with a -3 (or worse) TO margin since 1992.

Dolphins QB Ryan Tannehill had strung together four straight games without an interception before throwing three picks to the Titans last week. The rookie has a paltry 5 TD passes and 9 INT in his nine starts this season, but could have success facing Buffalo's 21st-ranked pass defense (246 YPG). Despite Bush's big day in his last visit to Ralph Wilson Stadium, he has just one game of 70+ rushing yards in 2012, way back in Week 2. Since then, he's rushed for a paltry 314 yards (45 per game) on 3.7 yards per carry. And although the Bills have the league's worst run defense, they have been better over the past two weeks (117.5 YPG on 3.9 YPC) against a pair of quality running teams (Texans, Patriots). Buffalo's defense needs to figure out a way to force some mistakes though, failing to cause a single turnover in each of its past three games.

Buffalo is just 1-2 (SU and ATS) at home this season, due mostly to a defense allowing 34.7 PPG and 464 total YPG to these three visitors (K.C., New England and Tennessee). QB Ryan Fitzpatrick has tossed 17 TD and 10 INT this season, but has failed to throw a touchdown in three of his past five games. He's 2-2 in his career versus Miami, throwing for 994 yards (249 YPG), 5 TD and 7 INT, with five of those picks coming last year. However, Miami's passing defense has been much worse this season, allowing the fifth-most passing yards in the NFL (278 YPG). Turnovers continue to be a problem for this Bills offense, as they have 16 giveaways over the past six games. Another big issue in upstate New York has been injuries that continue to pile up. In addition to Jackson being doubtful, DE Mark Anderson (knee) remains out, while DE Chris Kelsay (neck) and CB Aaron Williams (ankle) are both doubtful. Three other key defenders are also banged-up, but are expected to play on Thursday -- CB Leodis McKelvin (groin) and DTs Marcell Dareus (shoulder) and Kyle Williams (ankle).

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