The New York Jets (2-9) quarterback carousel continues when they return home to play the Miami Dolphins (6-5). The game will kickoff at 8:30 and air on ESPN.
The aftermath of an ugly 35 point loss to the Bills led to the decision to go back to Geno Smith at quarterback. Michael Vick started last week and was terrible, missing on throws everywhere and eventually left the game injured. Smith came in and went 10-of-12 for 89 yards. The Jets finished with just 218 yards of offense.
The defense was equally concerning, giving up numerous big plays and showing little fight in the second half. Again, the Jets forced no turnovers and only had one sack. Also lost in the game was Muhammad Wilkerson, who will be out for Monday with a toe injury.
The Jets have to show a willingness to run the ball. Against Buffalo, the Jets ran for a solid average of 4.8 yards per carry but only ran 19 times total. The Jets have two talented running backs that too often have not had ample opportunity to showcase their skills.
Miami has one of the best defenses in the league, led by some stud pass rushers and a solid secondary. Geno Smith is going to be tested in his first game back. Outside linebacker Cameron Wake is going to lead a Dolphins team that has 31 sacks this year. Wake has 8.5 and is regarded as one of the top pass rushers in the league.
The secondary is led by maybe the most underrated corner in the NFL. Brent Grimes has been outstanding this year. Opposite of him is Corteland Finnegan. Together, those two make up the fourth-best pass defense in the NFL, averaging just 211 yards per game through the air.
Offensively, the Dolphins look like they have a young quarterback who has figured it out. The Dolphins have protected Ryan Tannehill well this season, and the third year pro has responded with his best season. Despite a slow start, Tannehill has completed 66.1 percent of his passes for 2,582 yards and 20 touchdowns to eight interceptions.
Tannehill has a plethora of solid targets to throw the ball to. Speedster Mike Wallace has put together a solid season, catching 48 balls for 592 yards. Rookie wide out Jarvis Landry leads the team with 49 catches and is profiled as more of a possession receiver.
Miami can run the ball effectively with Lamar Miller. Miller is a good combo back, averaging 4.9 yards per carry and has also caught 25 passes on the year. Tannehill is another running threat with 276 yards on the season. The Dolphins will use a read option at times to confuse opponents.
The Jets are going to have to be much sharper on both sides of the ball to win Monday. We’ve seen the Jets play a lot of close games this year but do a lot of the little things to end up losing. Protecting the ball, keeping the quarterback upright, and forcing turnovers is key. I would like to see the Jets run as much as possible to open up the pass game for Geno Smith.
Defensively, getting pressure without Muhammad Wilkerson will be tough. Wilkerson isn’t just a great pass rusher, but a dominant run stuffer as a 3-4 end. Quinton Coples will likely see a lot of snaps with his hand in the dirt, his more natural position.
The Jets could put a huge damper on the Dolphins playoff hopes with a loss. In a rivalry, anything can happen.