On Sunday the New York Jets (9-3) take on the Miami Dolphins (6-6) at the New Meadowlands Stadium (4:15 EST). The Jets are coming off of an embarrassing Monday night loss to the Patriots, while Miami is still smarting from a tough loss to the Browns. This game between division rivals has huge playoff implications as Gang Green tries to keep pace with the division leading Patriots, whereas the Dolphins need a victory to stay in the wildcard race. Lets take a look at some of the keys to the game.
Get your mind right- Before we go into the offensive and defensive breakdowns there is one major question mark as Gang Green prepares to take on the Dolphins. What is the Jets state of mind as they take on one of their biggest rivals? Are the Jets an angry, ornery bunch ready to beat the daylights out of the Fish? Or is the team deflated and flat still feeling the effects of the blowout loss on Monday night? To me the biggest key to the game on Sunday is that the Jets have their minds right and are ready to roll. Gang Green must be able to wipe the dirt off of their face, get pissed off, and come back with a vengeance.
Physical offensive line play- It is time for the New York Jets offensive line to start flexing their muscles and dominate the line of scrimmage. Gang Green must win the battles in the trenches in order to establish the ground and pound. There is a very good chance the weather conditions will be poor, so the key to winning will be running the ball down Miami’s throat.
Pound the rock- A poor weather game in December can only mean run the ball early and often. There is no need to get fancy with the passing game, the game plan should be all about ground and pound. I would start out with Shonn Greene to loosen up the defense, and sprinkle in LaDainian Tomlinson once things start to get opened up.
Establish Keller- It is no secret that whenever the Jets get tight end Dustin Keller involved early in the game, the passing game starts to flow. So Gang Green should get back to basics and establish the passing game through Keller. This will not only get Mark Sanchez comfortable, but will also open up the rest of the field.
Hit Henne- Miami quarterback Chad Henne tends to struggle against every team except the Jets. Gang Green’s defense must find ways to get to Henne and force him into bad decisions. There is no reason why every other defense can get to Chad while the Jets struggle. I expect a big game out of Jason Taylor.
Revis vs. Marshall- In their first meeting of the year Miami receiver Brandon Marshall lit up the Jets secondary for 10 catches and 166 yards. Gang Green must contain Marshall by assigning Darrelle Revis to the Miami playmaker. Revis should be able to slow down Brandon which will then allow the Jets to put Antonio Cromartie on Davone Bess.
Rock Ricky and Ronnie- As with the Jets, Miami will try to establish their running game early. Gang Green must penetrate the line of scrimmage and get hits on running backs Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams. Gang Green cannot afford to give up big plays in the running game.
This is a tough game to read as I am not really sure how the Jets are going to react to their Monday night loss to the Patriots. As a believer in Rex Ryan I hope to see a fired up, motivated Jets team ready to shut up all of the critics. I expect to see a feisty defense and a very physical offense. If the Jets come out ready to play they should be able to win convincingly. If Gang Green comes out sluggish, this could be one of those games that brings out the feared “Same Old Jets” song. Prediction: Jets 21-10 In Rex and Sanchez I trust.