This Sunday, The Miami Dolphins will head into the Meadowlands to play their AFC East rival The New York Jets. The Dolphins are coming off a bye week where they addressed certain team issues and had many players get much needed rest. The Jets are coming off a heartbreaking overtime loss to the Patriots, a game that had the Jets written off before the first snap. New York sits at 3-4, but has found it’s long lost running game behind Shonn Greene and has played hard and strong the past two weeks. Miami remains 3-3 after the bye week, and looks to further a two game winning streak.
Every game against a divisional opponent is crucial, especially one against a team that could be competing with you come playoff time deep down the stretch of season. In order for the Dolphins to go into the tough environment that is the New York Jet’s stadium, I see three key elements that the Dolphins will need to be victorious.
1. Stop the Jets running offense. Tony Sparano is familiar with the Dolphin’s run defense. He will spending all kinds of time drawing up different running schemes to try to exploit what has been a stiff Miami run defense so far this year. We can expect to see Tim Tebow behind center, and we may even get a glimpse of the future with Tebow at running back lined up behind quarterback Mark Sanchez. Kevin Coyle needs to be prepared for anything and everything, and if the Dolphins can keep the ball in Sanchez’s hands, I like our chances.
2. Zero Mistakes From Ryan Tannehill. Let’s face it. We have found our franchise quarterback. Ryan Tannehill has it all. The smarts. The poise. The leadership. And a cannon for an arm. Tannehill has played lights out since his minor setback in the second quarter of the Houston Texans game in week one. One could argue his case for Rookie of the Year so far. However, this Jets defense will have one goal this Sunday: to get to the rookie quarterback. We can expect all types of blitz packages and unique coverage schemes. Tannehill will need to continue making good decisions and smart throws in order for the ‘Phins to get the win. As we learned in the Arizona and first NYJ game, one small play can influence the outcome of a game.
3. A Special Teams Spurt. What I mean here is that the Special Teams needs to have a big game. Whether it is a Marcus Thigpen kickoff return for a TD (anyone remember Ted Ginn Jr. against the Jets??) or a fumble recovery of a Jets fumble, Special Teams needs to make a play. Dan Carpenter needs to make the easy kicks, and maybe even boot in a deep one to give this team a spark.
Overall, the Dolphins go into Sunday’s game with a real chance at a 5-3 record and a chance to make a push at the division come December. They have a great coach in Joe Philbin and a born leader in Ryan Tannehill. My prediction: Dolphins 24 Jets 17. PHINS UP!