Where Each Team Is
The Jets are done for the year but playing with pride after a solid victory over the Cleveland Browns. Refusing to cash it in or lose to improve their draft leverage, New York is still playing hard for Rex Ryan going into an offseason where his future with the team is very much in jeopardy after failing to secure a winning season or playoff bid going on three seasons in a row. After a strong start and plateau of the team under Ryan, the Jets have been in metaphorical free fall ever since and are one of the worst rosters in the NFL top to bottom. The Jets final challenge is stopping their division rival from reaching the playoffs while avoiding a losing record.
The Miami Dolphins almost control their own destiny but the crowded race for the AFC sixth seed is a bit convoluted. The Baltimore Ravens are neck and neck with the Dolphins in terms of tiebreakers, and the San Diego Chargers and Pittsburgh Steelers still have long shot chances at postseason runs. A Dolphins win and Ravens loss or Chargers victory puts them in, while a Dolphins loss puts them out no matter what. The Dolphins have endured a year of scandal and tough scheduling to remarkably remain in contention, and if the earlier meeting this season is any indication, the struggling Jets will have their hands full with the Miami dolphins this Sunday.
Random Fact: Vinny Testaverde isn't particularly good at Backgammon.
Sister Site: The Phinsider
Location: Sun Life Stadium; Miami Gardens, Florida.
Field: Open air, Natural Grass.
Weather: Cloudy with a chance of storms, high of 83 degrees.
Record: Jets lead the all-time series, 49-46-1.
What happened last time? The Dolphins decisively beat the Jets by a score of 23-3 earlier this month at Metlife.
Who is favored? SB Nation reports that the Dolphins are favored by 6.5-7.
Random Fact: Miami was unanimously voted the nicest city to get your face chewed off in.
(Players designated "Probable" status are omitted)
Questionable: Ellis Lankster (CB) Jaw.
Questionable: Daniel Thomas (RB) Ankle.
Random Fact: Jets and Dolphins don't naturally compete in the wild.
I really like that joke. I think I'll keep recycling it next year.
Jets: On offense the Jets are 30th in points scored and have been one of the absolute worst teams at finding their opponents end zone the entire season. The fact that the Jets are ranked as high as 30th in scoring is thanks to Nick Folk and a couple of outlier games where the Jets put up serious points. New York is 27th in overall yardage per game, 30th in passing and 6th on the ground. The Jets have fought their way back into being a top-ten rushing offense in spite of hopes for the postseason being vanquished.
The Jets defense has delivered mixed results throughout the season, but remained consistent in areas of strength and improved in areas of weakness. The Jets are 3rd in run defense, although looking beyond the composite rankings, the Jets are arguably the best run defense in the NFL in years. The Jets are also strong in overall defense, sitting at 11th. The Jets continue to improve as a scoring and passing defense, sitting at 21st and 23rd, respectively.
Dolphins: On offense the Dolphins are 24th in points scored, 28th in total yardage, 20th in pass yards and 26th in rushing yards. The Dolphins have a particularly bad offense across the board, however only one of their offensive rankings is lower than the Jets.
Defensively the Dolphins are a stingy 8th in points allowed, 20th in overall yards allowed, 17th in passing yards allowed, and 25th against the run. The Dolphins weaknesses seem to favor the Jets, but this had little impact in the last meeting between the AFC East rivals a few weeks ago.
AP Pro ranking has the Jets ranked 21 and the Dolphins ranked 15.
Random Fact: Corned Beef has very little corn in it, and tastes and smells like a cow was fossilized inside of a pig carcass.
(Submit your random facts to @JeffParksNY on Twitter or via email, or just post them in the Thread About Nothing for a chance to win prizes I'll probably never send you. This weeks prizes are a stolen Harry and the Hendersons DVD, and some Pogs)
Attacking the Dolphins
The most effective match up to exploit is the Jets strong rush attack against the Dolphins relatively poor run defense. The Dolphins are very effective at keeping other teams out of their end zone, meaning either Nick Folk will be called early and often, or Geno Smith will need to have another one of his trademark "up" games where he scores with his arms as well as his legs.
The Dolphins O line will remain depleted for the rest of however long their 2013-14 season lasts as Martin and Incognito will be out and are both rumored to have no future in Miami. The Jets front seven can potentially have a feast in the Dolphins backfield on Sunday.
At this point in the season, it seems like every player is a make-or-break cog in the Jets dysfunctional machine. When David Harris and Demario Davis have solid games and effectively police the middle of the field with sound tackling, the Jets chances greatly improve. Dee Milliner has steadily progressed on the field in the last quarter of the season.
Of course, the single greatest Jets X-factor is rookie Geno Smith. When Smith has a good or even passable game, the Jets have an excellent shot at winning. Smith looked much more crisp with his passes last week and his posture and planting of his back leg also looked better. With improved mechanics comes better looking throws. Smith can perhaps make a case for himself as a potential starter in 2014 with a solid outing this Sunday.
Dolphins to Watch
Brian Hartline has emerged as the most consistent threat out of any of the Miami Dolphins receivers. Mike Wallace may not have lived up to his meaty contract, however he still can deliver against an under-performing secondary. Charles Clay is a formidable scoring threat who can take advantage of the Jets weak safeties and linebackers in coverage. Lamar Miller is a bruising runner who will likely see an increased workload as his counterpart Daniel Thomas is banged up and questionable for the game.
Olivier Vernon, Cameron Wake, Randy Starks, and Jared Odrick are all sack machines for the Dolphins. Brent Grimes, Jimmy Wilson, Dimitri Patterson, Nolan Carroll, and Dannell Ellerbe all have multiple turnovers on the season and could pose a serious problem for Geno Smith.
Jeff's Bottom Line
The results of the last meeting between the Jets and the Dolphins requires one to be cautious. Some of the Jets most disappointing games this season have come against mediocre opponents who came alive when facing New York and its erratic roster.
The Dolphins also had a rough schedule this year and are better than their record says. However, this remains a winnable game for the Jets who are playing their tales off for the embattled Rex Ryan. Nothing would bring greater joy to the already-eliminated New York Jets than to ruin the Miami dolphins 2013-14 playoff hopes.
This closes another year of GGN game previews, as there will be no playoffs for the Jets this year. I want to thank you for reading and all your comments and feedback, both positive and negative. You are what makes this site so great and if it weren't for your tireless and enthusiastic devotion there would be no point in writing any of this. Thank you for sticking around through the good and the bad times. Here's to a great game this Sunday and a happy 2014 to you.
J!-E!-T!-S! JETS! JETS! JETS!!!
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