Where: Ralph Wilson Stadium, Buffalo, N.Y. (Low 40s, 6 mph wind)
When: Thursday, 8:20 p.m. ET (NFL Network)
Spread: Buffalo by 1.
2012 records -- Dolphins (4-5, AFC East: 1-1); Bills (3-6, AFC East: 0-3)
Past results: Two most recent meetings -- Dec. 18, 2011: Dolphins 30, Buffalo 23; Nov. 20, 2011: Dolphins 35, Buffalo 8. Series record: Dolphins lead 56-39-1.
What matters: Any chance the Dolphins have at reaching the postseason begins in Buffalo on Thursday night. Miami can't afford a third consecutive loss after getting blown out against lowly Tennessee last week. The Bills are searching for their first division win and haven't beaten the Dolphins since 2010.
Who matters: Rookie QB Ryan Tannehill couldn't have been much worse against the Titans last week. Tannehill completed 23 of 39 passes for 217 yards with three interceptions. Overall, the signal caller has completed 58.9 percent of his passes for 1,979 yards with five touchdowns against nine interceptions this season. Meantime, DE Cameron Wake needs to get back on track after seeing his streak of five straight games with a sack snapped against Tennessee. The former Penn State standout has 8.5 sacks to go with 29 tackles this season.
Key matchups: CB Sean Smith is struggling. The veteran played well against Bengals WR A.J. Green and Arizona WR Larry Fitzgerald, but has been a disaster the last two weeks and was torched by a mediocre Tennessee receiving corps. Smith, who has 40 tackles and two interceptions this season, must contain Buffalo star WR Stevie Johnson. The elite pass-catcher has 41 grabs for 502 yards with four touchdowns this year.
Inside stuff: RB Reggie Bush didn't have a carry after fumbling in the first quarter against the Titans last week. He played in the fourth quarter, but didn't touch the ball. Bush is a pending free agent and if he has fallen out of favor, rising backup RB Daniel Thomas could see his workload continue to increase against the Bills.
Stat you should know: 4. Turnovers for the Dolphins last week. The team entered the game with a minus-2 turnover margin for the season, but came totally unglued and gave up field position and easy points. Miami isn't talented enough to overcome that many giveaways.
Looking ahead: This is a must-win for Miami. The schedule has games against the Seahawks, Patriots and 49ers on tap. A third consecutive defeat would be devastating as Miami's margin for error is non-existent. Another defeat and the season could spiral out of control and first-year coach Joe Philbin could quickly lose a locker room loaded with veterans in the final year of their contracts.
Prediction: Bills 31, Dolphins 17
For more up-to-the-minute news and analysis on the Miami Dolphins from blogger Dave Carey, follow @CBSDolphins