On Sunday the New York Jets (8-7) take on the Miami Dolphins (5-10) at Sun Life Stadium (1 pm EST). The Jets are coming off of an embarrassing performance against the New York Giants while the Dolphins head into Sunday’s match-up a confident team after going toe to toe with the New England Patriots. Lets take a look at some of the keys to the game from the Jets perspective.
Get Sanchez going early- New York Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez enters Sunday’s game a battered and beaten quarterback. Sanchez’ struggles on the field have led to a media firestorm off of it. In order for the Jets offense to have any type of success on Sunday Mark Sanchez must get off to a good start. Whether that means incorporating the short passing game or the hurry up offense, something must be done to get Sanchez in rhythm with his receivers early on. Gang Green cannot afford to have their quarterback get off to a sluggish start against an aggressive defense.
Offensive line play- The Jets offensive line is going to have their hands full on Sunday as the Dolphins defense is playing at a very high level. The Miami defense is ranked 9th in the NFL in sacks with 39, and is ranked 3rd against the run yielding only 93 yards a game. The Jets offensive front must control the line of scrimmage with an emphasis on protecting Mark Sanchez who has been taking a ton of hits lately.
Burress, Holmes must shine- It is no secret that the Dolphins defense is going to stack the box and force the Jets to try and beat them with the passing game. The New York Jets receivers will have to play very well on Sunday running crisp routes and eliminating dropped passes.
Game note: Running back Shonn Greene is 1 yard away for 1,000 on the season.
Reggie Bush out- The Miami Dolphins offense suffered a huge blow when running back Reggie Bush was ruled out for Sunday’s game. Rookie running back Daniel Thomas (553 rushing yards this year) will replace Bush.
Win the battles in the trenches- The New York Jets defense must take advantage of a Miami offensive line that will be without their best player left tackle Jake Long. Gang Green must win the battles in the trenches in order to shut down the Dolphin ground game and put pressure on quarterback Matt Moore (11 tds, 2 ints last 6 games).
Revis vs Marshall- One of the best match-ups of the game on Sunday will be Jets All-Pro defensive back Darrelle Revis versus Dolphins wide receiver Brandon Marshall (76 catches, 1,164 yards, 6 tds). The Dolphins wide out is a big, physical receiver that can make some huge plays down the field. Revis must remain consistent in coverage which will frustrate the emotional Marshall and take him out of the game.
In my eyes this is a tough game to pick as I have absolutely no idea which Jets team will show up. With the playoffs on the line the last 2 weeks Gang Green played arguably their worst football of the season. With their season on life support will the Jets mail it in or play with the passion and intensity everyone expected the last 2 weeks?
Out of respect for Rex Ryan and some of the veteran leaders on this team (Mangold, Tomlinson, Scott) I think the Jets are going to play some inspired football on Sunday. Gang Green will take advantage of the injuries to Bush and Long and will stifle the Dolphins offense. On offense I think Sanchez will quiet some of his critics with a solid performance. Jets 21-17
Playoff update: In order for the Jets to make the playoffs Gang Green must win and 1) Cincinnati must lose 2) Tennessee must lose and 3) Denver or Oakland must lose
My prediction is that Cincy and Denver lose, but Tennessee wins which means the Jets do not qualify for the playoffs.