This Sunday the Miami Dolphins(3-3), travel to MetLife Stadium for “round 2″ against there division rival, the New York Jets(3-4). The Dolphins are coming off there bye week while the Jets are trying to get over a 26-29 OT loss to the New England Patriots, after a Mark Sanchez fumble set up a Field Goal by New England’s kicker, Stephen Gostkowski.
In the Dolphins week 3 OT loss to the Jets, Miami’s kicker Dan Carpenter missed two potential game winning Field Goals, one of which came during OT which would have gave the win the the Dolphins. Dan Carpenter was not the only one to blame for the loss to the Jets. Several opportunities were missed, and mistakes were made on both the offensive and defensive side of the ball, including a pick six by QB Ryan Tannehill.
This is a revenge game for Miami after letting a victory get away from them. I expect after having a bye week to prepare and game-plan, the dolphins will fix some issues and be able to get a win at MetLife Stadium.
Here are my 5 players or positions I will be keeping a close eye on:
1. Reggie Bush(Running Back)- In the week 3 loss to the Jets Bush went down with a knee injury and was unable to finish the game. I’m wanting to see if Reggie can get back to his big explosive plays like what he did to start the season. Since week 4 his average and yds/game has been declining. In week 4’s OT loss to the Arizona Cardinals he had 17 carries for 67 yards(3.9 yds/carry avg.) and no TD’s. In the week 5 win over the Cincinnati Bengals, Bush had 19 attempts for only 48 yards(2.5 yds/carry avg.) but did have 1 TD. Against the St. Louis Rams in week 6 he couldn’t get anything going. He had 12 carries for 17 yards(1.4 yds/carry avg.) and no TD’s. Will he be able to get his running game going again this week against the Jets?
2. Dolphins Rush Defense- Going into the week 6 match up against the St. Louis Rams, Miami had consistently held offenses rushing attack to a minimum. In the first five weeks of the season, Miami only allowed an average of 61.4 rushing yards per game. That was better then what the Chicago Bears were doing through the first five weeks with an average of 65.8 yards rushing yards allowed per game.
The Dolphins were able to contain Houston Texan’s star, Arian Foster, to 83 yards and 2 TD’s(week 1) and shut down Oakland Raiders, Darren McFadden, to 23 yards rushing and no TD’s(week 2). Then the Dolphins seemed to have a little set back against the St. Louis Rams(week 6) when Rams Rookie RB Daryl Richardson put up 76 yards on 11 carries, and Veteran RB Steven Jackson put up 58 yards on 12 carries. I will be looking to see if Miami will be able to put a stop to a Jets running game which seems to be improving with Shonn Green leading the way.
3. Dan Carpenter(Kicker)- I’m not going to bash Dan Carpenter or blame him for the Dolphins problems. Yes he has missed some key Field Goals that could have potentially won the game for the Dolphins, but he’s not the sole reason for those losses. Carpenter is currently 7 for 11 on Field Goal attempts. All of his misses are from longer distances, two of which were from over 50 yards. I will be looking to see, if he is put in a situation where he needs to win the game, will he be able to make that clutch kick if it is from a longer distance(within reason)?
4. Marlon Moore(Wide Receiver)- Miami is still looking for that third receiver to step up and take the load off of Davone Bess and Brian Hartline. In the week 6 Dolphins victory, Marlon Moore was the Dolphins WR that stood out after getting a 29 yard TD pass by QB Ryan Tannehill. Rams Cornerback, Janoris Jenkins, was suppose to be guarding Moore on the play, but Moore got past him quickly and left him wide open for a walk in touchdown. It will be interesting to see how Marlon Moore does on his next game after he had his performance against the Rams. Could Marlon Moore be that third option for Tannehill?
5. Nolan Carroll(Cornerback)- With Dolphins Cornerback, Richard Marshall, still battling his back injury Nolan Carroll will get another go in the match up against the Jets. Carroll has been looking better each week since Marshall went down on injury and has helped out CB Sean Smith. With the Jets having a fairly weak WR core, I will be looking to see if Carroll can prevent the big plays and possibly get an interception against Jets QB Mark Sanchez.
Those are my top 5 expectations for this weeks Dolphins game against division rival, New York Jets. Do you have a top 5 player expectations list?