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Pivotal Time for Bills, Dolphins, Eagles

The Buffalo Bills, Miami Dolphins and Philadelphia Eagles have something in common besides each being 3-4 straight-up and against the spread. All have been poorly coached.

It's a pivotal moment for each team's head coach.

The Bills are a field goal favorite at home against the Dolphins. Buffalo was idle last week giving Rex Ryan extra preparation time. Ryan inherited a defense that was No. 1 in sack percentage and near Super Bowl-caliber. Now the Bills are tied for 29th with 11 sacks and rank 24th in scoring defense allowing 24.7 points a game.

Ryan's changes have impacted star pass rushers Mario Williams and Jerry Hughes, who were more productive in last year's 3-4 alignment.

The Bills have better offensive weapons than a year ago with LeSean McCoy, superior receiving depth and Tyrod Taylor, an upgrade on Kyle Orton. Ryan needs to undo his mistakes.


Miami underachieved with Joe Philbin. The Dolphins didn't make the playoffs in Philbin's first two years. They were 2-4 this season when Philbin got whacked following a 23-20 loss to Jacksonville as six-point favorites.

Dan Campbell won his first two games as interim coach burying Tennessee and Houston. Miami couldn't step up against New England last week losing, 36-7, as eight-point road 'dogs.

Campbell has gotten the Dolphins to play rougher and with more emotion. Campbell couldn't match wits against Bill Belichick. Not many can. Increasing intensity can only take you so far. Campbell must prove he knows X's and O's and can make good on-field decisions.


The Eagles have produced an NFL-best 19 takeaways. Yet they have a losing record because Chip Kelly's fast break offense doesn't fit his personnel. Sam Bradford is a poor fit. He's not helped by mediocre receivers, none of whom can stretch a defense.

Philadelphia is minus three at Dallas. The Cowboys are starting backup Matt Cassel, who has been as bad as Brandon Weeden. The Eagles have three good running backs headed by 2014 rushing champion DeMarco Murray.

Kelly needs to change his approach emphasizing a ground attack. Kelly's had an extra week to tweak his system as the Eagles were idle last week.