If the Jets want to stake a claim for a play-off spot, they must start by beating the Miami Dolphins this weekend at home. The teams are of course fierce rivals, but playing a weak run defense is the perfect tonic to the stuttering offense.
Miami thought they turned the corner two weeks ago when they largely shut out DeMarco Murray, Ryan Matthews and the Philadelphia Eagles running attack. However they crashed back down to earth this weekend when they faced Darren McFadden and the Dallas Cowboys. The Cowboys notched up over 160 yards on the ground against Miami, which was far more in-line with their overall performance against the run this year.
In fact, the Dolphins are on course to give up more yards on the ground in 2015 than they have the last 8 years. To find the last Miami team to struggle this much against the run, you'd need to go back to their 1 win team in 2007. I imagine this isn't what Miami had in mind when they signed Ndamukong Suh to a 6 year $114 million contract.
The Dolphins are allowing on average 138,6 yards on the ground, the second worst mark in the NFL. They give up 4.3 yard a run on average, including 8 touchdowns and 8 plays of 20 yards or more.
Despite a mid-season stumble, the Jets should try and establish the run early, and they should stick with it throughout the game. Chris Ivory rushed for 5.5 yards per carry against the Bills and 4.5 yards per carry against the Texans. Despite a mid-season struggle where he averaged 2.4, 1.1 and 1.1 yards per carry in consecutive games, Ivory is till our best shot to control this game and come out with a victory.
If we can pound the ball insider and force Miami to dedicate more players to stopping ivory, they'll be unable to double up on Marshall on the outside, something teams have been doing recently. Obviously it's important that when Marshall receives single coverage, Fitzpatrick identifies and exploits that.
Chris Ivory, Bilal Powell and Steven Ridley can all play a part in leading the Jets to victory this weekend, exploiting the obvious weakness in this Dolphins defense is something I hope we will be concentrating on.