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Previewing the Jets’ opposition: Miami Dolphins

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Miami Dolphins v Houston Texans Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images

The Jets already faced the Dolphins once this year but there have been several personnel changes and we can now update you on how their main contributors have been performing throughout the season. So, let’s break down what to expect at each position group for Sunday’s game.

Quarterbacks

Starter Ryan Tannehill has once again been ruled out for Miami, so the Jets will face Brock Osweiler instead. Miami has lost four of their last five with Osweiler having started the last three, although he did beat the Bears in overtime.

Osweiler’s stats haven’t been too bad, highlighted by a line of 380 yards and three touchdowns in that win over the Bears. The other two games have both been one-score games into the fourth quarter too, so the Dolphins are no pushover even with the oft-ridiculed Osweiler at the helm.

David Fales will back up Osweiler on Sunday.

Offensive Line

The offensive line for the Dolphins has a familiar look with two ex-Jets in the starting line-up. Travis Swanson is now starting at center after Daniel Kilgore went onto injured reserve. He lines up alongside right guard Jesse Davis and is backed up by another ex-Jet, Wesley Johnson.

At left guard, Ted Larsen was another injury replacement after Josh Sitton went down early in the year. Larsen and Davis have struggled, but Swanson has done well so far.

The Dolphins have a little more continuity at tackle with former first rounders Ju’Wuan James and Laremy Tunsil. Tunsil is having an excellent year, but James has surrendered six penalties and three sacks. Sam Young is the main reserve off the bench.

Running Backs

Frank Gore and Kenyan Drake have shared the load in the running game and both have produced well and averaged over 4.5 yards per carry. Gore leads the team with 385 rushing yards but Drake leads them with five total touchdowns and has also contributed in the passing game with 27 receptions.

The three backups are Senorise Perry, Brandon Bolden and rookie Kalen Ballage, but only Ballage (three carries for 10 yards) has seen any action on offense.

Pass catchers

Danny Amendola’s 35 catches lead the team, but the rest of the Dolphins’ pass catchers have been somewhat inconsistent. Albert Wilson was having a good year, but he’s now on injured reserve.

DeVante Parker has only played three games and Kenny Stills has just 16 catches in seven games, although he is tied for the team lead with four touchdown receptions. Stills is questionable with a groin injury though.

The diminutive Jakeem Grant is a dangerous playmaker and a big play threat out of the slot.

At tight end, AJ Derby is still listed as the starter but he’s caught just two passes all year, one of which was a touchdown against the Jets. Rookie Mike Gesicki has shown some flashes in the passing game with 16 catches, but he’s still struggling as a blocker. Derby is questionable with an injury so Nick O’Leary may need to fill in.

Defensive Line

The Dolphins’ pass rush was expected to be a strength, but nobody has more than two sacks and starters Cameron Wake and Robert Quinn have just one each. Quinn is leading the team in quarterback hits though.

Miami’s depth has been hurt by William Hayes going onto injured reserve and Charles Harris has also been ruled out for Sunday. Andre Branch will be the primary reserve.

The Dolphins have operated a committee approach to replacing Ndamukong Suh and the starters are now Davon Godchaux and Akeem Spence on the defensive interior. Godchaux has been their most consistent run defender this year.

There have been a few changes on the bench as they just signed a couple of experienced veterans in Ziggy Hood and Sylvester Williams after Vincent Taylor was placed on injured reserve. Williams started for the Lions against the Jets on opening day.

Linebackers

The three starting linebackers have played every game with Kiko Alonso struggling with his consistency in an every down role. Youngsters Jerome Baker and Raekwon McMillan have done well and the trio represent Miami’s top three tacklers. The athletic Baker has been productive as a blitzer.

Mike Hill and Stephone Anthony are the main reserves. Hull was activated to replace Chase Allen after he was placed on injured reserve.

Defensive Backs

Miami have some depth issues at cornerback, although Xavien Howard returned to practice on Friday having been limited due to an ankle injury. He leads the team with three interceptions.

Bobby McCain is listed as the other starter, but the number three corner, Cordrea Tankersley, suffered a season-ending knee injury in practice this week, so Torry McTyer will need to step up. Rookie Minkah Fitzpartick, listed as a back-up safety, also contributes at cornerback, so his role will probably increase in light of Tankersley’s injury.

The Dolphins’ starters at safety are solid as they have Reshad Jones and TJ McDonald both healthy. McDonald leads the team in missed tackles though. Reserve Walt Aikens can back up at safety and also at cornerback, if necessary.

Special Teams

Rookie kicker Jason Sanders has only missed two kicks all year and made the game winner in the Bears game. He had a kickoff returned for a touchdown in the season opener but has put most of his kickoffs into the end zone since then. Punter Matt Haack is having an unremarkable season after a shaky start.

Grant is one of the league’s most dangerous return men, with two touchdowns already this year. He’s second in the league for both kickoff and punt return average.

In kick coverage, Perry and Aikens have been their most productive players.