2014 DRAFT GUIDE
Underachieving Bills to host resurgent Dolphins

By JOHN WAWROW - AP Sports Writer
    2012-11-14 15:10

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (AP) - The Miami Dolphins were the team featured on ``Hard Knocks'' last summer. Funny, the Buffalo Bills haven't needed a TV series title to define their past 12 seasons.

This year in Buffalo so far has been no different. Defying the high preseason expectations, the Bills have bumbled their way into an all-too-familiar position of challenging to be the AFC East's least for a fifth consecutive season.

That's right, it's the same spot supposedly reserved for the Dolphins after their shortcomings were exposed to HBO's national cable audience.

Bills linebacker Nick Barnett wasn't paying attention then. And he couldn't care less about the projections now.

``I don't make money judging expectations and things like that,'' Barnett said, before turning his attention to the state of the Bills. ``I think in this locker room, we would definitely not have foreseen us being in this predicament and the record we have.''

The Bills (3-6), with the offseason addition of high-priced defensive end Mario Williams, weren't supposed to be this bad. And the Dolphins (4-5), with rookie coach Joe Philbin, rookie quarterback, Ryan Tannehill and many holes to fill, weren't supposed to be this good.

Jim Kelly versus Dan Marino this is not. But on Thursday night, the prime-time lights will once again shine on these two longtime division rivals in a game that will determine who stays in the postseason picture for at least another week.

The Bills haven't given up hope, despite a 1-5 stretch that's put them in serious jeopardy of missing the playoffs for a 13th consecutive season, the longest current streak in the NFL.

``It only takes a spark to start a fire, and that spark is winning one football game,'' defensive tackle Kyle Williams said. ``If we win one, I think guys feel good about making a run here at the end of the year.''

The Dolphins understand what's at stake, too, and are eager to rebound from a two-game skid that included last weekend's sloppy 37-3 loss to Tennessee.

``I don't think by any means are we ready to shut this thing down,'' Tannehill said. ``Our guys are resilient. We're realists. We know we didn't play well. We know we didn't perform like we're capable of. But we're ready to move forward.''

Moving forward is key for Tannehill, whose development suddenly regressed Sunday after throwing three interceptions to match his worst outing he had three picks in a season-opening loss at Houston.

Tannehill bounced back from that game; Miami win four of the next six, although Matt Moore was behind center for most of the victory over the Jets when Tannehill was hurt early on. The Dolphins are confident the No. 8 draft pick out of Texas A&M can get them back on track.

``Ryan is very poised,'' running back Reggie Bush said. ``I told him these types of games build character. These games are going to come and go, make us stronger in the long run.''

Bush needs to rebound, too. He was benched after losing a fumble six minutes in against the Titans.

``I think we're all a little happy to have this game on Thursday, because it gives a chance to erase this last game and get back to football very quickly,'' Bush said. ``I know that I've bounced back before. I'll bounce back again, and we'll be OK.''

It might help Bush's outlook knowing he had a career-best 203 yards rushing and scored on a 76-yard run in a 30-23 win at Buffalo last December.

The Bills' defense isn't much better this season despite the addition of Williams, who signed a six-year, $100 million contract in free agency. Buffalo has allowed 285 points, fewer only than Tennessee - no one is giving up more than the Bills' 36.6 points per game - and 1,473 yards rushing, while Williams has hardly made a dent in improving the pass rush. Williams has 4 1/2 of the Bills' 20 sacks, which is five ahead of where they were at this point last season.

``The biggest thing for us is to make a stand,'' Williams said. ``Definitely, it's got to start some time. We've got seven games, but if you don't start it sooner than later, then we're basically just spinning our wheels.''

The Bills have spent plenty of time stuck in neutral. And it's become difficult to keep count the number of times they've been asked how important it is to win the next game.

``As we continue to lose, people keep asking that question. I feel like we had to have them all,'' quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick said. ``We're disappointed. We're not where we want to be. But we've got to start winning at some point, and this is a great week to do it.''

The Bills are coming off a 37-31 loss at New England, which once again exposed their inability to compete against division rivals. Buffalo's lost eight straight against AFC East opponents, and is 4-23 in division games since 2008.

``Our backs are against the wall,'' Barnett said. ``We have to win every game, I feel. And it starts with this game.''

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Fantasy Football Player Notes RSS FeedPLAYER NOTES

Ahmad BrooksDec 28 03:52p

The San Francisco 49ers have declared LB Ahmad Brooks, RB Carlos Hyde, FS Eric Reid, QB Josh X. Johnson, CB Perrish Cox, WR Stevie Johnson, CB Tramaine Brock inactive for Week 17.

Stacy McGeeDec 28 03:42p

The Oakland Raiders have declared CB Chimdi Chekwa, WR Denarius Moore, OT Menelik Watson, DL Stacy McGee, OG Tony Bergstrom, CB Travis Carrie, WR Vincent Brown inactive for Week 17.

Julio JonesDec 28 03:42p

Atlanta Falcons WR Julio Jones (hip) is active and starting in Week 17 versus the Carolina Panthers. Jones was listed as questionable entering the game.

Steven JacksonDec 28 03:42p

Atlanta Falcons RB Steven Jackson (quadriceps) is inactive for Week 17 versus the Carolina Panthers.

Dominique JonesDec 28 03:32p

The Denver Broncos have declared LB Brandon M. Marshall, TE Dominique Jones, RB Juwan Thompson, OT Michael Schofield, DL Mitch Unrein, OT Paul Cornick, FS T.J. Ward inactive for Week 17.

Caraun ReidDec 28 03:32p

The Detroit Lions have declared DL Caraun Reid, CB Josh Thomas, QB Kellen Moore, DE Larry Webster, DL Nick Fairley, C Rodney Austin, WR Ryan Broyles inactive for Week 17.

Carl BradfordDec 28 03:32p

The Green Bay Packers have declared DL Bruce Gaston, LB Carl Bradford, CB Davon House, RB DuJuan Harris, C Garth Gerhart, WR Jeff Janis, TE Justin Perillo inactive for Week 17.

Alex CarringtonDec 28 03:32p

The St. Louis Rams have declared TE Alex Bayer, DL Alex Carrington, C Barrett Jones, OG Brandon Washington, CB E.J. Gaines, DL Ethan Westbrooks, TE Justice Cunningham inactive for Week 17.

Jermaine KearseDec 28 03:32p

The Seattle Seahawks have declared TE Cooper Helfet, DL Demarcus Dobbs, WR Jermaine Kearse, OL Keavon Milton, C Max Unger, CB Tharold Simon inactive for Week 17.

Drew StantonDec 28 03:32p

The Arizona Cardinals have declared OG Anthony Steen, WR Brittan Golden, SS Chris D. Clemons, QB Drew Stanton, OG Jonathan Cooper, DL Kareem Martin, LB Larry Foote inactive for Week 17.

Jamaal CharlesDec 28 12:22p

Kansas City Chiefs RB Jamaal Charles (ankle, hamstring) is active for the team's Week 17 game.

Kenny VaccaroDec 28 12:12p

New Orleans Saints FS Kenny Vaccaro (quadriceps) is inactive Sunday, Dec. 28, due to a quadriceps injury.

Percy HarvinDec 28 12:12p

New York Jets WR Percy Harvin (ankle) is inactive Sunday, Dec. 28.

Keenan AllenDec 28 12:12p

San Diego Chargers WR Keenan Allen (collarbone) has been declared inactive for the team's Week 17 game.

Dallas ThomasDec 28 12:02p

The Miami Dolphins have declared OT Dallas Thomas, DL Deandre Coleman, RB LaMichael James, WR Matt Hazel, WR Rishard Matthews, C Sam Brenner, DB Walt Aikens inactive for Week 17.

Dekoda WatsonDec 28 12:02p

The Dallas Cowboys have declared LB Dekoda Watson, OG Donald Hawkins, OT Doug Free, QB Dustin Vaughan, FS Jakar Hamilton, DL Joshua Brent, LB Rolando McClain inactive for Week 17.

Chris WattDec 28 12:02p

The San Diego Chargers have declared OG Chris Watt, LB Cordarro Law, DL Damion Square, CB Greg Ducre, WR Keenan Allen, DL Ryan Carrethers, RB Ryan Mathews inactive for Week 17.

Alex SmithDec 28 12:02p

The Kansas City Chiefs have declared QB Alex Smith, WR Donnie Avery, C Eric Kush, OT Laurent Duvernay-Tardif, CB Marcus Cooper, DL Nick X. Williams, CB Phillip Gaines inactive for Week 17.

Adam GettisDec 28 12:02p

The New York Giants have declared C Adam Gettis, WR Corey Washington, DL Devon Kennard, DL Dominique Hamilton, OG Eric Herman, CB Jayron Hosley, TE Jerome Cunningham inactive for Week 17.

Anthony CollinsDec 28 12:02p

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have declared OT Anthony Collins, DL George Uko, CB Isaiah Frey, LB Mason Foster, RB Mike James, WR Robert Herron, WR Solomon Patton inactive for Week 17.

Dontay MochDec 28 11:52a

The Tennessee Titans have declared DL Dontay Moch, CB Jemea Thomas, WR Rico Richardson, DL Ropati Pitoitua, OT Taylor Lewan, OT Terren Jones, QB Zach Mettenberger inactive for Week 17.

Ahmad DixonDec 28 11:52a

The Minnesota Vikings have declared SS Ahmad Dixon, LB Brandon Watts, OT Carter Bykowski, LB Chad Greenway, OG David Yankey, RB Henry Josey, CB Shaun Prater inactive for Week 17.

Austen LaneDec 28 11:52a

The Chicago Bears have declared CB Albert Louis-Jean, DL Austen Lane, DT Brandon Dunn, OT Charles Leno Jr., FS Chris Conte, QB Jimmy Clausen, PK Robbie Gould inactive for Week 17.

Devier PoseyDec 28 11:52a

The Houston Texans have declared WR DeVier Posey, TE Garrett Graham, LB Jason Ankrah, S Josh Aubrey, LB Mike Mohamed, QB Tom Savage, OG Xavier Su'a-Filo inactive for Week 17.

Ahtyba RubinDec 28 11:52a

The Cleveland Browns have declared DL Ahtyba Rubin, OT Andrew McDonald, QB Brian Hoyer, LS Charley Hughlett, CB Justin Gilbert, WR Phil Bates, OG Ryan Seymour inactive for Week 17.

Brandon ColemanDec 28 11:52a

The New Orleans Saints have declared WR Brandon Coleman, LB Jerry Franklin, FS Kenny Vaccaro, LB Moise Fokou, WR Seantavius Jones, CB Stanley Jean-Baptiste, OT Terron Armstead inactive for Week 17.

Brandon BrownerDec 28 11:42a

The New England Patriots have declared CB Brandon Browner, OG Dan Connolly, LB Dont'a Hightower, RB Jonas Gray, WR Julian Edelman, TE Rob Gronkowski, OT Sebastian Vollmer inactive for Week 17.

Bryce BrownDec 28 11:42a

The Buffalo Bills have declared RB Bryce Brown, TE Chris Gragg, OT Cyrus Kouandjio, DL Marcell Dareus, WR Marquise Goodwin, LB Randell Johnson, CB Stephon Gilmore inactive for Week 17.

Bjoern WernerDec 28 11:42a

The Indianapolis Colts have declared LB Bjoern Werner, TE Dwayne Allen, OT Gosder Cherilus, LB Jerrell Freeman, OL Joe Reitz, CB Sheldon Price, NT Zachariah Kerr inactive for Week 17.

Jaiquawn JarrettDec 28 11:42a

The New York Jets have declared SS Jaiquawn Jarrett, QB Matt Simms, C Nick Mangold, WR Percy Harvin, DL T.J. Barnes, WR Walter Powell, OG Wesley Johnson inactive for Week 17.

Chris ThompsonDec 28 11:32a

The Washington Redskins have declared CB Chibuikem Okoro, RB Chris Thompson, OG Josh LeRibeus, WR Leonard Hankerson, OG Rishaw Johnson, LB Steve Beauharnais, DL Travian Robertson inactive for Week 17.

Bradley FletcherDec 28 11:32a

The Philadelphia Eagles have declared CB Bradley Fletcher, OT Dennis Kelly, WR Jeff Maehl, S Jerome Couplin III, OG Julian Vandervelde, QB Nick Foles, DE Taylor Hart inactive for Week 17.

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