Sunday at 1 p.m., your New York Jets (3-12) will play their final game of the year when they travel to Miami to take on the Dolphins (8-7).
A lot of uncertainty is surrounding the Jets. After a nightmarish season, many around the team expect the Jets to be cleaning house on dreaded “black Monday”. There are a lot of opinions from everyone on what should be done. Several players have had the backing of head coach Rex Ryan, but quarterback Geno Smith came out publicly saying change could be good for the Jets.
The players have continued to play hard for Ryan and will need another solid effort to beat Miami on Sunday. The Dolphins, much like last season, controlled their own destiny as December approached but now find themselves the losers of two of their last three. After getting dominated by Baltimore and New England, the Dolphins bounced back last week with a 37-35 win over the Vikings. Despite that, the Dolphins have been eliminated from playoff contention.
These two teams met in an ugly week 13 game for a national crowd on Monday Night Football. The Jets ran for nearly 300 yards in that game but still lost 16-13. Geno Smith threw just 13 times for 65 yards. The Jets were unable to capitalize in the red zone, settling for field goal attempts instead of touchdowns.
The blueprint will be the same again for the Jets, at least from an offensive perspective. Miami has one of the weakest run defenses in the league and the Jets will use a combination of backs and styles to take advantage. In week 13, the Jets ran 49 times. I would also expect the Jets to utilize play-action passing a little more. 13 pass attempts will not get it done in this league. When Smith does get an attempt to throw, he has to hit open targets. These sound like basic concepts, but Smith missed some big throws in the last game.
The Jets are a relatively healthy team. Percy Harvin has sore ribs but said he expects to play. Center Nick Mangold is questionable with a knee injury. On defense, Muhammad Wilkerson has been battling an illness and turf toe but should be good to go.
The Jets defense will have a chance to feast on a weak Miami offensive line. Miami gave up four sacks to Minnesota last week. The Dolphins have had injuries to just about every position on the offensive line and the replacements have not held steady.
Miami is not a team that will beat you down the field. An already conservative offense has only had to become more conservative because of injuries. The Jets will always have to weary of speedy wide receiver Mike Wallace, but will especially have to keep an eye on tight end Charles Clay. Clay had a slow start to the season but has come on late, going for six catches and 114 yards last week. Clay is a Swiss army knife of sorts, capable of doing many different things for the offense. It’s not uncommon for Clay to be lined up in the backfield.
Not to sound like a broken record, but this is another winnable game for the Jets. I would be shocked if the Jets didn’t dominate on both sides of the line of scrimmage. The one thing they’ll have to do is make the most of their red zone opportunities. I’m sure the players will be fired up to send Rex Ryan out on a high note.