Friday, December 20, 2013
Dolphins prepared for Buffalo weather
By James Walker
DAVIE, Fla. -- It was about 80 degrees and sunny during this December week in South Florida. This is why Miami is one of the country’s top destinations during the winter.
But it’s also why there are concerns about the Dolphins (8-6) when they travel to face the Buffalo Bills (5-9) on Sunday. Miami is in the middle of a playoff push and cannot afford an upset. One thing that could be an equalizer is which team performs best in the elements.
The Dolphins had one bad-weather game this season, against the Pittsburgh Steelers, and performed well in a 34-28 Miami victory. There were several inches of snow in Pittsburgh, and the Dolphins rushed for a season-high 181 yards.
On Sunday, the weather in Buffalo is expected to be in the mid-40s with heavy rain. The Dolphins will have to adjust offensively and defensively.
“We just hate the rain,” Dolphins center Mike Pouncey said Friday. “Rain slows down the game, and there’s a lot more turnovers during the game. So that’s something we have to focus on.”
The Dolphins are trying to avoid a season sweep by Buffalo. The Bills came into Miami in Week 7 and handed the Dolphins a 23-21 defeat.
Miami controls its own playoff destiny and will make the postseason with two more victories. A loss in Buffalo could force Miami to get assistance in Week 17.
“It’s been a few weeks where we’ve had the biggest game, playoffs or whatever you want to call it,” Dolphins defensive end Cameron Wake said. “But that’s the bed we made, and it’s an exciting thing.”
The Dolphins won three straight games to put them in this position. Miami even has a small chance to win the AFC East if the New England Patriots (10-4) finish 10-6.
The Dolphins' locker room is fully aware how important Sunday's trip to Buffalo is.
“You’re understanding of where you stand puts a little more weight on things,” Dolphins receiver Brian Hartline said. “It’s just like the first quarter feels different from the fourth quarter.”