- John Hazelet
Week 4 Preview: Jets vs. Dolphins
This Sunday morning, the Jets will take on the Miami Dolphins. You read that right... The game is being played in London and has an East Coast kick off of 9:30am. The Jets, coming off of their first loss of the season against the Eagles are looking to get back in the win column against one of their hated rivals. The Dolphins are coming off a lack luster performance against the Buffalo Bills in which they were embarrassed on their home field. Reports are that a loss to the Jets across the pond could mean the end of the road for some of the Dolphins coaching staff including Head Coach Joe Philbin.
Any time the Jets and Dolphins play, you can throw all stats and logic away. These two teams have played in some of the craziest games in NFL history. The Monday Night Miracle and the A.J. Duhe game immediately come to mind. Putting that aside, let’s take a look at this week’s match up.
At QB, both teams will be looking for better performances than they got form their signal callers last week. Ryan Fitzpatrick was forced to play from behind against the Eagles and it really exposed some of his weaknesses. Fitzpatrick was forced to throw the ball downfield and was forcing passes to WR's who were covered resulting in 3 INT's. Not having Eric Decker (injury) proved to be a huge factor in Fitzpatrick’s play. This week, he may have to live without Decker again as he is listed on the injury report as a game time decision. Tannehill similarly had 3 INT's in the Dolphins blowout loss to Buffalo. Rex Ryan's squad was able to put a lot of pressure on Tannehill with some very timely blitzing which is a Rex signature. For the Dolphins to have success this week, Tannehill will have to get better protection from his O-Line and have to do a better job dumping the ball to his check down receivers. I don’t think either team has an edge over the other at QB.
The match ups to watch in this game is Brandon Marshall vs. Brent Grimes. Any success Fitzpatrick had in last week’s loss came when he was able to get Marshall the ball (failed lateral play aside). For the Jets to move the ball this week, Brandon will have to play a large role in the offense. Look for Devin Smith to benefit from some Marshall double teams. For the Dolphins, the key will be Rishard Matthews and Jarvis Landry against Darrelle Revis and the Jets secondary. I also look for Tannehill to try and expose the Jets LB's in the pass game. Look for some dump offs to RB's to play a big role in the Dolphins offense, especially if they are unsuccessful running the ball. With Willie Colon out with an injury, Brian Winters will start at RG. Look for the Dolphins and specifically Ndamukong Suh to attempt to take advantage of Winters. Suh has gotten off to a slow start for the Dolphins but playing against Winters can get him on the right track fast.
The major factor in this game could be the Jets health. They have been banged up in key positions. We saw what the run game looked like last week when Chris Ivory was held out. That coupled with no Decker was a real hindrance to the Jets offense. Ivory looks to be a go for tomorrow but Decker remains a game time decision. Even if he plays, look for him to play the role of a decoy and be on a snap count of some sort. Revis also found himself a little banged up last week but I see no chance of him not playing tomorrow. Jeff Cumberland (yes the Jets still have a TE) will be out this week (concussion) along with Chris Owusu (knee) Willie Colon (knee) and Darren Walls (hamstring). Trevor Reilly (finger) is a game time decision.
Predictions for the game: The Jets are a 1.5 point favorite. Like last week, that is a very tough line but I look for most money out there to be on the Jets. I think the Jets are the better team but as I said earlier, throw out all logic when these teams play. Couple the Jets Dolphins history with a neutral site game in another country and I will call this game very hard to predict. I think the team that gets on top early and forces the other to play from behind will win the game. My stats predictions... Fitzpatrick throws for 200 yards, 2 TD and 2 INT. Chris Ivory scores a TD and has 75-100 yards rushing. Brandon Marshall 100 yards and a TD.
BOLD PREDICTIONS: Jets win a tough game 27-20. The Jets defense forces 3 turnovers and has 2 sacks. Suh has his best game as a Dolphin sacking Fitzpatrick twice and the Dolphins fire Joe Philbin shortly after landing back on U.S. soil.
Unless the Jets win big and Fitzpatrick is overly impressive, expect to hear Geno Smith mentioned as a potential week 6 starter when the Jets return from the Bye week.