The New York Jets and Miami Dolphins enter their AFC East showdown Sunday with identical 1-1 records and a chance to grab at least a share of the division lead with a win Sunday. This game will also have a little added intrigue as Jets defensive coordinator returns to Miami for the first time after serving the previous three years as Dolphins head coach.
For the Jets, who are 2.5-point road favorites according to the NFL odds, the keys to success this week can be boiled down to a few pertinent points. Offensively, the Jets have to get more production out of the quarterback position. Mark Sanchez was dismal in the Jets’ 27-10 loss to the Steelers last week and backup Tim Tebow has been virtually invisible through the first two weeks of the season. One step in that direction for Sanchez is that Dustin Keller, Sanchez’s favorite target the past few seasons, is expected to be active for the first time this season against the Dolphins.
As for Tebow, Ryan refuses to publicly tip his hand as to what’s in store this week, but word out of New York is expect a bigger dose of Tebow and the Jets ‘Wildcat’ package against the Dolphins.
Defensively, New York will need to get creative with their looks in order to try and confuse rookie quarterback Ryan Tannehill, who took a big step forward in the Dolphins’ Week Two win against the Raiders. Exotic blitz packages are a calling card of Ryan-coached defenses and that could help to slow Tannehill this week
Additionally, the Jets will have to contain Reggie Bush and the Dolphins running game. That could be easier said than done, however. The Jets run defense is giving up an average of 130.4 yards a game and 4.8 yards per carry through the first two weeks. Those numbers will need to come down if the Jets are to be competitive Sunday.
This looks to be an extremely close matchup on paper with the outcome able to go either way. As has been noted this week, home teams across the NFL are doing particularly well against the spread this season and that’s enough to give the Dolphins the slight edge in this one.