Jets week is finally here ladies and gentlemen. Any football Sunday is great, but when the Dolphins play the Jets, it's a whole different ballgame. No disrespect to the Patriots and Bills- we hate you too, but the Jets are by far this franchises most hated rival right now.
The history is there. Instant classic games define this rivalries' tradition, but it's this current Jets team that makes them ten times easier to hate. They believe they are without question the league's best team. It doesn't even start with the division with them, they're way beyond that. They are Super Bowl bound, and they want the whole world to know about it. Because everybody knows you win games with your mouth, not on the field.
Throw out the records. Throw out the division and playoff standings. Beating the Jets is hands down the most fulfilling accomplishment the regular season offers, outside of clinching a division title or wildcard spot. Once again, we start our preview with both team's strength- the running game.
The Jets had the league's best ground attack a year ago, and the Dolphins weren't far behind in fourth. Despite Miami getting tore up by Adrian Peterson on Sunday, I believe both teams are also solid against the run. It's going to be a physical one. This game will probably be won right here in the trenches.
Jets rushing attack vs. Dolphins run defense
It's hard to get a feel for this Dolphins run defense right now. On one hand, they shut down the Bills' trio of backs in Week 1, but then got physically abused by Adrian Peterson and the Vikings. There are probably only two backs in this league that you get a pass for conceding a ton of yards to, though. One is the explosive Chris Johnson, and the other is Adrian Peterson.
Maybe, Randy Starks moving over to defensive end to replace Jared Odrick, and Paul Soliai filling in at nose had something to do with it. Soliai provided a good push, but was single blocked a few too many times for comfort. Whatever the case, they won't get a break this Sunday night. While I do think the Jets won't be quite as good on the ground as they were last year without Thomas Jones, their offensive line is probably good enough to produce a top ten rushing attack no matter who is running the ball.
I think the Dolphins will make some necessary adjustments to prevent them from getting ran over like they did against the Vikings, but the Jets' running game is too good to expect the kind of effort we saw against the Bills. I think we will see something right in the middle, with neither side dominating. At the end of the day, though, you still have to give the edge to the team who is proven.
Dolphins rushing attack vs. Jets run defense
The Jets defense is great, don't get me wrong, but they aren't impossible to run on. They were 8th against the run a year ago. A very respectable ranking, but surely nothing the Dolphins elite rushing attack can't handle. If they can get it going against the Vikings on the road, they will be just fine against the Jets at home.
A little productivity from the passing game would make things easier, but they will be able to line up and pound the rock with some success regardless. Maybe not enough to single-handedly march down the field, Chad Henne is going to have to complete some passes for that to happen, but good enough to get maybe three to four yards a pop on most plays.
They will need to avoid some of the negative loses we have seen from time to time, though, because those just kill drives with Miami's style of play. The loss of Kris Jenkins makes things a little easier, but the Jets did just fine without him a year ago.
It will be interesting to see how much the wildcat becomes a factor. We saw Dan Henning unload it in the prime time games last year versus the Colts and Jets. If you take away the big three and four yard loses, the thing is obviously still an asset. The only problem is, just one loss like that can kill a drive.
All in all, I think this offensive line is getting better and better each week. If they can run the ball on the Vikings, they can run the ball on anybody. I see them breaking the 100 yard mark for the third straight week against the Jets. Anything less would be a disappointment.
Roster update: The Dolphins waived tight end John Nalbone and return specialist Clifton Smith today. They promoted tight end Jeron Mastrud from the practice squad to the 53-man roster. Expect another move to be announced in the next couple days to fill the void left by Smith.