Note: This story was written by Bills 101 writer Richard Wade
The Bills have two games remaining in the 2013 National Football League season, which can be seen as a blessing in disguise. This week, they face off against the Miami Dolphins. At 5-9, the Bills' playoff hopes have been dashed again for a fourteenth consecutive season. The only things they have to play for is pride. Players will pad stats in the hopes of possibly garnering future lucrative contracts. The Bills can really hinder the playoff chances of the Dolphins if they can beat them this Sunday.
The Bills will once again be without starting quarterback EJ Manuel, who suffered a knee sprain against the Jacksonville Jaguars last week. Thad Lewis will start in his place. The Bills also will be without starting receiver Stevie Johnson (personal) and safety Aaron Williams (ribs) for Sunday's game. For a team that has battled injuries all season, being 5-9 is lucky. The Bills have done one thing well all season, and that happens to be running the ball. The Bills are currently ranked 4th in the NFL in rushing at 138.2 yards per game. The Bills are in the bottom half of the NFL in passing, 29th overall. Thad Lewis is third different starting quarterback for the Bills this season. Buffalo will be hard pressed to mount a decent effort against a Miami team hungry for a playoff berth.
Despite the typical buildup of a Bills-Dolphins game, local fans in Buffalo will not be able to watch this game. NFL blackout rules have rendered the game blacked out to local viewers. The blackout rule, in effect since 1973, forces NFL teams to not show games locally if the team fails to sell out a game 72 hours prior to the game.
The Miami Dolphins have bounced back this season after a disappointing 2012 campaign, when they finished 7-9 and missed the playoffs. The team is currently riding a three game winning streak. Second year quarterback Ryan Tannehill is providing thrills for Miami fans, something they haven't seen since Dan Marino retired after the 1999 season. Tannehill is 373 yards shy of 4,000 yards passing this season. If he reaches that plateau, he would be the first Dolphins quarterback to do so since Marino in 1994. The Dolphins have a lot to play for this Sunday. They will have to best a rival in a game with playoff implications on the line.
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