Buffalo (5-4) at Miami (5-4), 8:30 p.m. on NFL Network. Nearing the home stretch, the NFL kicks off Week 11 on Thursday night on NFL Network when Miami hosts Buffalo at Sun Life Stadium in Miami.

Both teams enter play with identical 5-4 records and are currently tied for second in the AFC East. This is the latest in a season that the Bills and Dolphins will play with each boasting a winning record since 2000 (December 3, 2000; Buffalo at 7-5 and Miami at 9-3).

Both teams enter the short week with losses under their belts.

Buffalo enters Week 11 looking to rebound following a 17-13 loss to Kansas City in upstate New York last Sunday. Kanas City outrushed the Bills 127-111, although Buffalo did manage to sack Chiefs QB Alex Smith six times in the contest. Smith’s 8-yard TD run in the fourth quarter was the game winning score and it came with 8:59 left in the contest. The Bills led 10-3 at the half before Kansas City would go on to outscore them 14-3 in the last 30 minutes of play.

“It’s definitely tough, we lost the football game and we’re definitely upset about that,” says defensive end Jerry Hughes, who had a pair of sacks on Sunday. “We’ve got a Thursday game, we’ve got a division game so we’ve got a chance to sweep Miami this season. That’s our focus right now, just find a way to get ready for that game.” Buffalo went 7-16 on third down tries (0-1 on fourth down) and held the ball for 30:42, while the Chiefs were 3-13 and 1-1 on third and fourth down, holding the ball for 29:18.

Buffalo’s defense ranks first in the league with 34 sacks. It is the team’s highest sack total through its first nine games in franchise history, topping the previous mark of 32 sacks through nine games in 1997.

The Bills are the only NFL team this season to feature three different players with at least seven sacks – Hughes (7.5), defensive tackle Marcell Dareus (10) and defensive end Mario Williams (7). Dareus, who had three sacks against Kansas City last week, leads NFL defensive tackles in sacks this season.

“We need to start studying the Bills because they are a good defense coming to town on a short week,” Dolphins QB Ryan Tannehill told the Miami Herald and WSVN-TV about the team heading into Week 11 following a 20-16 loss at Detroit. “We need to watch the tape, learn from our mistakes and quickly put it aside. We need to rest up and get ready to go on Thursday night.”

Tannehill completed 27 passes for 207 yards and a touchdown last week. In the past six games, Tannehill has 1,490 passing yards and 11 touchdowns for a 99.7 passer rating. During his career, Miami is 15-1 when Tannehill has a passer rating of 90 or better.

On defense, the Dolphins are tied for second in the AFC with 28 sacks, led by defensive end Cameron Wake, who has 6.5 sacks in his previous five games. Wake recorded his 60th career sack last week, surpassing Jeff Cross (59.5) for the second-most in franchise history. He also leads the AFC in sacks since entering the league in 2009.

The Dolphins’ defense is also spurred by cornerback Brent Grimes, with four interceptions in the past three games and is second in the NFL with five interceptions this season. Since joining the Dolphins in 2013, Grimes leads all AFC cornerbacks with nine interceptions.

The players with the most sacks in the AFC this season:
PLAYER – TEAM (SACKS)
Justin Houston – Kansas City (12)
Elvis Dumervil – Baltimore (10.5)
Marcell Dareus – Buffalo (10)
Von Miller – Denver (9)
J.J. Watt – Houston (8.5)
Cameron Wake – Miami (8.5)
DeMarcus Ware – Denver (8)
Jerry Hughes – Buffalo (7.5)
Mario Williams – Buffalo (7)
Paul Kruger – Cleveland (6)

The Dolphins will play in their 10th Thursday night game this week against the Buffalo Bills at Sun Life Stadium and will bring a 5-4 all-time record in Thursday night games.

The two AFC/AFL rivals have met 96 times and the Dolphins hold a 56-39-1 lead in the series and have outscored the Bills 2,064-1,785. However… the Bills have won the last two meetings, including sweeping the season series last year, taking wins in the Sunshine State and upstate New York. (Miami’s last win in the series came in 2012 in Miami by a final of 24-10; that year, the teams spilt the series.)

In the first meeting in the Sunshine State in week seven, the Bills took a 17-14 lead with them to the locker room at the half and then rallied  to come away with their lives and a 23-21 win. In that first meeting, it was the right foot of K David Carpenter that pulled them close at first and then gave them the win when he connected on a 33 yarder with 33 seconds left. Although QB Thad Lewis was sacked four times and the Bills were held to 90 yards rushing (Miami had 120), they did manage to pick Tannehill off twice in the contest, forcing three turnovers in the matchup. Buffalo was 9-19 on third down tries, while the Dolphins were 3-13 on third downs and 0-1 on fourth down tries. The clock would wind up being the ally of Buffalo at 30:12 to Miami’s 29:48.

Kickoff temperature in the first meeting? 87 degrees. Kickoff temperature in upstate New York in the second meeting in week 16? 41 degrees with a wind chill of 26. For Buffalo, it didn’t matter as they took a 10-0 lead with them to the break and shutout the Dolphins 19-0. Once again, it was Carpenter chipping in with four field goals in the chill and RB Frank Jackson had the only TD in the contest, a 9 yard run early in the second quarter. Jackson ran for 111 yards in the contest as Miami was held to a somewhat dismal 14 yards, with the Bills tallying 203. The Bills defense ran amok on Tannehill in the second meeting, sacking him seven times, while forcing a pair of interceptions. The Bills on third down? 7-19. Miami? 2-14 and 0-1 on fourth down tries and the clock was again the ally of the Bills, who held the ball for 36:31, while the Dolphins shivered in the cold and wind and clung to the ball for 23:29.

Miami was favored by 7 and although the Bills did win by two, they failed to cover the spread but both teams did manage to cover the 42 1/2 over/under barely in the week seven matchup. In the second meeting in week 16, before the Christmas holidays, Buffalo did cover the 2 1/2 point spread (Miami was favored) but this time, both teams fell short of the 43 over/under with the 19 point shutout.

They say that the third time’s the charm and the Dolphins are favored by 5 1/2 and the over/under 42. Buffalo’s looking to flex some muscle against the ‘Fins, while Miami looks for revenge. Miami may not cover the 5 1/2 but they “wing” it with the win at home.

Broadcast Information: 8:30 p.m. Eastern on NFL Network: Jim Nantz, Phil Simms, Tracy Wolfson (Field reporter). Westwood One: Ian Eagle, James Lofton, Chris Doering (Field reporter). SIRIUS: 88 (WestWood 1), 93 (Buffalo), 92 (Miami). XM: 88 (WestWood 1), 225 (Buffalo), 226 (Miami).

Injury Report

Buffalo
OUT: DE Jarius Wynn (Knee)
QUESTIONABLE: CB Ron Brooks (Groin), WR Marcus Easley (Knee), WR Marquise Goodwin (Ribs), RB Fred Jackson (Groin)
PROBABLE: WR Sammy Watkins (Groin)

Miami
OUT: CB Cortland Finnegan (Ankle)
DOUBTFUL: G Daryn Colledge (Back)
QUESTIONABLE: TE Charles Clay (Knee), LS John Denney (Knee), LB Kelvin Sheppard (Hip, Groin), TE Dion Sims (Toe), RB Lamar Miller (Shoulder), LB Koa Misi (Ankle)
PROBABLE: DT Anthony Johnson (Back), DE Derrick Shelby (Knee), DT Earl Mitchell (Abdomen), DE Dion Jordan (Hamstring), DT Jared Odrick (Hip), G Mike Pouncey (Hip), QB Ryan Tannehill (Ankle, right shoulder), S Jimmy Wilson (Hamstring)

Weather: Mostly clear with a 10 percent chance of rain and 73 degrees.

Broadcast information and injury report courtesy the National Football League, odds courtesy Don Best and USA Today, weather information courtesy The Weather Channel.

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