New York Jets at Miami: 5 Things to Know
They may be out of the playoffs, but that does not mean the Miami Dolphins are not fully aware of what is at stake on Sunday in Miami versus the Jets.
Nine wins – one more than last season. A two-game winning streak to build on, and a potentially huge game for Ryan Tannehill, who led his team to a game winning field goal against these Jets three weeks ago.
And for head coach Joe Philbin, it’s a chance to begin an early start to the 2015 season. For these Dolphins, the next season has already started.
Here are five things to know about this game, according to miamidolphins.com.
STOP THE RUN
No one who saw the first Dolphins-Jets game would be surprised to find out that New York is ranked third in the NFL in rushing offense (145.1 yards per game) and second when it comes to yards per rushing attempt (4.6).
The Jets aren’t likely to have a 1,000-yard rusher, but they have depth at the running back position with rushing leader Chris Ivory, Chris Johnson and Bilal Powell. One thing to keep an eye on is the status of Jets center Nick Mangold, the team’s lone Pro Bowl selection. He is listed as questionable for the game because of finger and ankle injuries.
LET THEM THROW, LET THEM THROW, LET THEM THROW
The Jets are ranked dead last in the NFL in passing offense with an average of only 170.4 yards per game. That said, New York was much better the past three games than it was in that Monday night game against the Dolphins back on Dec. 1.
Quarterback Geno Smith’s passer ratings the last three weeks — against Minnesota, Tennessee and New England — were 87.4, 88.2 and 83.9 after he posted a 35.7 in the game against the Dolphins. Wide receiver Eric Decker, who came over as a free agent from Denver, had his two best games of the seasons in the past three weeks, gaining 89 yards against Tennessee and 100 against Minnesota. Smith also should benefit from the presence of rookie tight end Jace Amaro, who missed the first Dolphins game because of a concussion.
A KICK IN THE GRASS
The Dolphins used special teams to win last week at home against Minnesota. The Jets have special teams issues of their own.
Kicker Nick Folk made 18 of his first 20 field goal attempts this season, but he has struggled since the first Dolphins game when was only 2-for-4. Folk also had a miss each of the past two games.
Despite the midseason addition of Percy Harvin, the Jets are ranked only 23rd in the league in kickoff return average and they’re next-to-last in punt return average. Those rankings are even more problematic for a team clearly lacking offensive firepower.
THROWING FOR IT ALL
The Dolphins should be able to move the ball through the air on Sunday.
The Jets’ pass defense is a respectable 15th, but it doesn’t tell the story of the problems New York has had in that department all season. The more telling stat is the opponents’ combined passer rating of 102.6, primarily the result of the Jets coming up with only six interceptions all season while allowing opposing quarterbacks to complete 64.5 percent of their passes.
In the first meeting, Ryan Tannehill completed 71.4 percent of his passes and threw for 235 yards, but he was held without a TD pass for the only time this season. The return of Wilkerson gives the Dolphins one more pass rusher to worry about. He’s got five sacks on the season, tied for second behind team leader Sheldon Richardson (7).
STOP THEM IF YOU CAN
The Jets are ranked fifth in the league in rushing yards allowed per game (87.3), but they’re third in yards per attempt (3.5). The Dolphins gained 74 yards on 18 rushing attempts (4.1 average) in the Dec. 1 meeting, but it should be noted the Jets played that game without star defensive lineman Muhammad Wilkerson. A second-team All-Pro selection last season, Wilkerson missed three games with a toe injury before returning to action last Sunday against the New England Patriots.