In the Miami Dolphins biggest game of the year their defense is coming off of one of its best performances of the season.
In order for the Dolphins to beat the Jets and have a chance at the playoffs they will need to replicate that performance. Once again their offense will be playing with a backup quarterback, so the importance of the defense playing at a high level only goes up.
The defense against the New England Patriots last week was consistent. They did not make any crazy plays. They were just consistently where they needed to be and when the ball came their way they made the simple play.
A lot of that is credited to defensive coordinator Josh Boyer. He called a great game last week against the Patriots and he will need to have a similar performance against the Jets this week.
EDITORS NOTE: Joe Flacco has been named the starter for the Jets on Sunday after this article was written and posted.
It appears that
will be under center for the Jets this week. That makes the defense’s job a little tougher, but it should not be anything they can not handle.
The biggest thing for the Dolphins this week will be their defense on first and second down.
Even with White back at quarterback for the Jets their passing attack is not anything special. If the Dolphins can limit the Jets ability to run the ball on first and second down they should have no problem getting off the field on third down, which has been a problem for them all year.
They are 24th in the NFL in third down defense. That has to be better this week.
Despite the Jets revolving door at quarterback this year; they have thrown the ball on first down the seventh most in the league this year. That is a surprising stat.
The Dolphins secondary will be tested this year. The Jets have multiple good receivers and the Dolphins’ secondary is banged up. As I am writing this Xavien Howard’s status for Sunday is still unknown.
If he does not play it will be another opportunity for the backups to step up like they did last week. The play of safeties Jevon Holland and Eric Rowe will be vital whether Xavien Howard plays or not.
The Jets struggle putting the ball in the end zone. They are the fifth worst team in yards per point this year. That tells us they move the ball between the 20s fine, but they can not punch the ball in the end zone.
The Dolphins have to continue that trend, but they have not been good in the red zone on defense this year.
They give up touchdowns 61% of the time and are fourth worst in opponent yards per point. In order for the Dolphins to win this game they have to hold the Jets to field goals.
The game plan is simple. Be consistent on first and second down, the secondary needs to not allow any big plays, and they have to hold the Jets to field goals, not touchdowns.
If the Dolphins’ defense does these three things they will walk off the field with a good chance at making the playoffs.