Bills at Dolphins -- Week 16

Where: Sun Life Stadium (grass), Miami

Forecast: Low-70s, 7 mph wind

When: Sunday, 1 p.m. ET (CBS)

Spread: Miami by 4.5

2012 records -- Bills (5-9; AFC East: 1-3); Dolphins (6-8; AFC East: 1-3)

Past results: Two most recent meetings -- Nov. 15, 2012: Bills 19, Dolphins 14; December 18, 2011: Dolphins 30, Bills 23. Series record: Dolphins lead 56-34-1.

What matters: This is a must-win for the Dolphins to keep their slim playoff hopes alive. Miami has to claim its final two games and get lots of help -- but the team still has a pulse. The team also is loaded with veteran players in the final year of their deal and a big game in a pressure spot could help them make some free agent bucks in the coming months.

Who matters: First-year QB Ryan Tannehill appears to have overcome the rookie wall. The eighth-overall pick in April’s draft completed 22 of 28 passes for 220 yards with two touchdowns in last week’s win against Jacksonville. Overall, the rookie has completed 58.7 percent of his passes for 2,929 yards with 10 touchdowns against 12 interceptions this season. DE Cameron Wake has regained his burst, recording at least one sack in eight of his past 11 games. The former Penn State standout has a career-high tying 14 sacks to go with 46 tackles this season.

Key matchups: Dolphins LB Karlos Dansby must find a way to contain Bills RB C.J. Spiller. Dansby has 111 tackles, one sack and nine passes defended this season, but his versatility will be tested by the dynamic Spiller. The elite runner has rushed for 1,047 yards with six touchdowns this year while catching 37 passes for 352 yards with one score. Spiller had 130 all-purpose yards in an earlier win against the Dolphins this season.

Injuries of note: WR Davone Bess (back), CB Nolan Carroll (knee), WR Brian Hartline (back), LB Koa Misi (ankle) and DT Randy Starks (non-football related) all missed practice on Thursday while K Dan Carpenter (groin), TE Jeron Mastrud (hamstring) and DB Jimmy Wilson (hip) were limited.

Inside stuff: Reserve RB Daniel Thomas was placed on injured reserve this week with a knee injury. Rookie RB Lamar Miller likely will pick up the workload, but the first-year player is not as good a blocker as the physical Thomas, and will have a difficult time replicating his production in short-yardage situations and along the goal line. Miami likely will rely heavily on FB Jorvorskie Lane as a power runner.

Stat you should know: 25.5. Average years of age for players on the Dolphins, making them the second-youngest team in the league, behind only the Rams (25.4). Miami has 17 first-year players on the active roster this season.

Looking ahead: After narrow losses to New England and San Francisco, a 3-0 finish is realistic for a final record of 8-8 -- not too bad for a team many projected to finish with the worst record in the league this season. However, a defeat to the lowly Jaguars could lead to a disastrous finish and be the catalyst for sweeping changes in the front office this offseason. There is plenty on the line for this franchise the final few weeks.

Prediction: Dolphins 20, Bills 17

For more up-to-the-minute news and analysis on the Miami Dolphins from blogger Dave Carey, follow @CBSDolphins