The Miami Dolphins high-powered offense has seen them take a one-game lead atop the AFC East, and they’ll be looking to consolidate that with a road win over the struggling New York Jets on Friday. New York’s defense should present a challenge for the Dolphins though, and there are signs that the offense is becoming less potent as the season goes on. Miami averaged over 37 points per game in their first six games, but only 20.5 since then. According to our friends at DraftKings Sportsbook, the Dolphins are favored by 9.5 points in this game.
Tua Tagovailoa has established himself as an MVP candidate this year as he ranks second in the NFL with 21 touchdown passes. Tagovailoa has completed a career-high 70 percent of his passes and only thrown eight interceptions.
Against the Jets, he missed both of last year’s games, but he led the team to two seven-point wins over them in 2021.
Ex-Jet Mike White is the backup. He has only thrown three passes this year, but one was a long touchdown and one was a pick-six. Skylar Thompson is also on the roster as the third quarterback.
Miami’s offensive line is almost at full strength, although there is some uncertainty heading into Friday’s game as center Connor Williams is the only starter who isn’t listed as questionable. However, they didn’t elevate any linemen off the practice squad so it looks like they will all be able to go.
Right guard Robert Hunt was the only starter to miss last week’s game, with Liam Eichenberg having filled in for him, but left guard Lester Cotton and tackles Terron Armstead and Austin Jackson are also listed as questionable.
The left tackle Armstead is the team’s best lineman, having gone to the Pro Bowl last season. However, he’s been limited to four games this season. Since Tagovailoa is left-handed, it’s Jackson who is tasked with protecting his blind side on the right. The former first round pick has shown some real improvement this year, especially in his pass blocking.
Williams is solid at center, but he has seven penalties in just six games. Hunt is their best guard, while Cotton lacks experience as he entered the year with just two starts in four seasons. Cotton moved into the starting lineup when Isaiah Wynn went onto injured reserve.
Miami’s bench has seen plenty of work this year, with Eichenberg also having filled in for Williams at center, Kendall Lamm playing left tackle when Armstead was out and Robert Jones starting one game at left guard. Kion Smith has only played five offensive snaps, but he may be active on Sunday because Jones is listed as doubtful.
Miami’s running backs have been sensational this season. Despite his pace slowing down over the past few weeks, Raheem Mostert still ranks second in the NFL with 13 total touchdowns, and rookie sensation De’Von Achane has seven in just five games. The third rounder has averaged an incredible 11.8 yards per carry so far, although he is listed as questionable after getting hurt in his return from injured reserve.
Jeff Wilson is the number three back, but he’s been underwhelming this season, which is perhaps why Miami has also elevated Darrynton Evans from their practice squad.
Fullback Alec Ingold, who has eight catches on the season, is also listed as questionable for Friday.
Miami’s passing game is led by Tyreek Hill, who is having another amazing season. The all-time NFL single season receiving yards record is 1,964, and Hil is currently on target for 2,077.
Jaylen Waddle had a monster year in 2022 but his production is down slightly in 2023. He’s still a big play threat though and currently has 44 receptions.
The starting tight end is Durham Smythe, who has 17 receptions. However, he’s listed as questionable for Sunday.
There are some familiar faces providing depth for Miami, with ex-Jets Braxton Berrios, Robbie Chosen (formerly Robby Anderson) and tight end Tyler Kroft on the bench. Berrios has 20 catches this year, but Chosen has just three and Kroft has no catches in six games.
Also on the bench is Cedrick Wilson, who has 12 catches. River Cracraft, Chase Claypool and undrafted rookie tight end Julian Hill are also on the team but have less than 10 receptions among them.
Miami operates out of a 3-4 base and uses a four-man rotation on the defensive interior. Their leader is Christian Wilkins, who has 4.5 sacks and a team-high 14 quarterback hits.
Zach Sieler has developed into a solid lineman, and he’s contributed four sacks this year, already surpassing his career-high.
The third starter is Raekwon Davis, who has struggled this year, but Da’Shawn Hand also sees plenty of action and has done a solid job against the run.
The Dolphins pass rush is spearheaded by Bradley Chubb, who leads the team with six sacks, and Jaelan Phillips, who has 5.5 in just seven games. Phillips was the last first-round pick the Dolphins made, back in 2021. On the inside, the starters are Jerome Baker and David Long.
The primary backup is the versatile Andrew Van Ginkel, who has made five starts and contributed four sacks and four pass breakups. Emmanuel Ogbah also gets reps coming off the edge but he’s having a down year.
Cameron Goode, Duke Riley and last year’s top draft pick, Channing Tindall, round out the rotation, but they have only combined to play 100 defensive snaps between them.
The Dolphins’ secondary has been bolstered by cornerback Jalen Ramsey being activated from injured reserve a few weeks ago. So far, he’s been targeted 16 times and has only given up four catches, while intercepting three passes.
He pairs with Pro Bowler Xavien Howard, who only has one interception and has been called for a team-high six penalties on defense this year.
Kader Kohou had been starting on the outside but has now moved into a full-time slot role. He’s broken up a team-high eight passes, but he’s given up four touchdowns in coverage.
Earlier in the year, Eli Apple and Justin Bethel had also been in the rotation. Second round pick Cam Smith and Nik Needham are also available as cover.
At safety, Jevon Holland and DeShon Elliott are the starters, with Brandon Jones seeing occasional action in three safety sets. Holland leads the team with three forced fumbles. Ex-Jet Elijah Campbell has also seen action at times.
The Dolphins’ kicking game features 2020 Pro Bowler Jason Sanders, but he’s missed one extra point and three of his 12 field goals so far this year. Punter Jake Bailey has done well, giving up just 62 return yards on 30 punts.
While the punt coverage unit has been effective, led by their primary gunners Bethel and Campbell, the Dolphins did give up a touchdown on a kickoff return against Denver. Both gunners have been productive, as has Goode, but Campbell also has three penalties.
The return game is led by Berrios, but he’s having an unremarkable season on both punts and kickoffs. Wilson filled in for him as the punt returner when he missed some time. Mostert, Waddle and Hill are all also listed as alternatives to Berrios.