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Where Each Team Is
The New York Jets and the Miami Dolphins are both on the outside of the playoff race looking in like so many a young pervert outside a girls window in a coming of age movie. The rest of both teams seasons rely mostly on the outcome of the two division games the fish and gang green square off in starting this week. The Jets are considered to have the easier schedule but New York's opponent week to week seems to have little impact on the actual outcome of the game.
Either the Jets or the Dolphins could both finish with double digit losses or wins at this rate, but something in the middle is much more likely. Both teams field some of the worst offenses in the entire NFL, much like last weeks match up with the Ravens except that the Dolphins are much better suited to the Jets strengths, being poor on the ground on both offense and defense.
The winner of this game will remain relevant in the playoff race, the loser would not be entirely mathematically eliminated, but a loss here would be a grave setback for either team in a very crowded race for the sixth seed.
Random Fact: Vinny Testaverde once threw for 7 touchdowns in a flag football game against some middle schoolers while promoting physical fitness.
Sister Site: The Phinsider
Location: Metlife Stadium, East Rutherford, NJ.
Field: Open air, artificial turf.
Coverage: CBS. Your go-to network for intolerable original programming.
Weather: Chance of precipitation with a high of 47 degrees.
Record: New York leads the all time series, 49-44-1.
What happened last time? Miami stomped the Jets by a score of 30-9 on October 28th, 2012.
Who is favored? Jets were 3 point favorites on the opening line and still are favored although the line has narrowed.
(Players designated "Probable" status are omitted)
Questionable: Santonio Holmes (WR) Foot, Garrett McIntyre (LB) Knee, Antonio Cromartie (CB) Hip, Jeremy Kerley (WR) Elbow.
Out: Dimitri Patterson (CB) Groin, Daniel Thomas (RB) Ankle, Jamar Taylor (CB) Hamstring, Jonathan Martin (T) Illness.
Questionable: Chris Clemons (S) Knee.
Random Fact: "Welcome to Miami" has been replaced in popular local vernacular in South Florida with the friendly greeting "You better lock those bikes up."
Jets: On offense the Jets are 31st in points, 27th in overall yards, 31st in the air and 18th on the ground. It's safe to say that outside of the rushing game, the Jets are one of the absolute worst overall offenses in the NFL. This isn't just a couple of bad outlier games that have skewed the rankings here, the Jets have been one of the worst scoring and passing offenses all year long, and this is reflected by New York's losing record and inexplicable losses to bad teams. Furthermore, it appears there is little to nothing Rex and Marty can do to adjust, the offensive unit is just too poor to mask it with great defense or the running game.
On defense the Jets cannot stop others from scoring, largely due to their poor pass defense. The Jets are 25th in points allowed, 9th in overall yards allowed, 22nd against the pass and 1st against the run (for several weeks the Jets have been the best run defense in the league). The Jets number one ranking on run defense is in part due to the tremendous performance of the Jets front seven against the run, and the fact that teams more effectively move the ball in the air against the Jets and have to "sell out" to win. The low yardage rankings against the rush are thanks to players such as Muhammad Wilkerson, Sheldon Richardson, and Damon Harrison continuing to dominate the point of attack up front.
The Jets below average pass defense couple with the teams lethargic showings on offense might spell doom for this season.
Dolphins: While the Jets have a couple of stand out sub-units on offense and defense, the Dolphins are a uniformly poor offense that has consistently been below average. The Dolphins are 23rd in points scored, 28th in overall yardage, 20th in passing yards and 26th in rushing yards. Ryan Tannehill, like Geno Smith, has had flashes of brilliance surrounded by underwhelming play and an under-performing supporting cast.
On defense, the Dolphins are actually pretty solid, especially through the air. The Dolphins are 10th in points allowed, 20th in overall yards allowed, 14th against the pass and 25th against the rush. The Dolphins above average pass defense does not bode well for Geno Smith and the offense, although the Dolphins rushing defense has been so poor that it might not even matter if Bilal Powell and Chris Ivory can be productive enough.
AP Pro ranking has the Jets ranked 23 and the Dolphins ranked 20.
Random Fact: Richie Incognito could use a much better fitting last name.
Attacking the Dolphins
The Jets need to run effectively as the Dolphins greatest weaknesses are both playing for and against the run, which is a plus for New York considering how strong the rush attack and defense have been, and that these aspects of play are very likely what is keeping the Jets competitive so far this season. The Dolphins are above average defending against the pass which will pose a challenge for the erratic young Geno Smith, who has completed 10 or less passes in multiple games this season. Santonio Holmes and Jeremy Kerley are questionable, although some of the best play from Geno Smith this year has come from him having to adapt and adjust. Smith is as successful with the likes of Greg Salas and David Nelson as he is the likes of Holmes, Kerley, or Stephen Hill.
If the Dolphins run defense allows the Jets to be as one-dimensional on offense as they were against the New Orleans Saints with Chris Ivory, Smith might have to do very little besides manage the game.
I mentioned on GGN Live this week that Dee Milliner is the likely X-factor. While the Jets later first round addition this season has shown flashes of brilliance and potential, there were also several occasions the past few weeks where Milliner was completely caught off guard and was abused in coverage. I've personally come to expect the underwhelming play of Antonio Cromartie, but the lack of performance in the secondary starts with him.
On offense the Jets effort will probably be only as successful as Powell, Ivory, and their blocking are up front.
Dolphins to Watch
Miami has no lack of talent on the roster in spite of their record and play this season. Brian Hartline and Mike Wallace are about equally formidable through the air, both boasting a high receiving average and mid-season yardage accumulation in the 600-700 range. Lamar Miller has substituted for Daniel Thomas well and is even pulling down a higher average per carry. Charles Clay has been a receiving and scoring threat through the air as well. Brandon Gibson and Rishard Matthews are other preferred targets of Ryan Tannehill.
Cameron Wake, Jared Odrick, and Olivier Vernon have been beasts in the backfield for the Dolphins, registering several sacks apiece. Brent Grimes, Nolan Carroll, and Jimmy Wilson join the injured Patterson with multiple picks on the year.
Bro's Bottom Line
The Dolphins and the Jets are remarkably similar in terms of performance and the rosters they field. Both New York and Miami have managed to stay relevant in the AFC playoff hunt despite a series of setbacks on the field (and off for the Dolphins). Up until a couple of weeks ago most football fans were unsure of who the Jets were in 2013, now it's safe to say they and the Dolphins both are sub-par teams.
There's a pretty big IF at the end of that statement though. IF the Jets can control the game tempo and keep their top ranked rushing offense and defense churning, the match up favors the Jets. IF the Jets exploit this match up and sweep the Dolphins in 2013, the Jets have an excellent shot at the playoffs considering they probably have the most favorable schedule out of any of the remaining contenders, including the teams that technically control their own destinies.
The bottom line this week is that whichever team wins the AFC East match up at Metlife Stadium on Monday will still be a contender in the conference, and the loser will not. It's that simple.
J!-E!-T!-S! JETS! JETS! JETS!!!
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