Wednesday morning the Jets (9-3) buried the game ball from their embarrassing, 45-3 Monday night loss to the Patriots.
Sunday afternoon, they look to do much of the same to the Miami Dolphins (6-6).
Rex Ryan and company will look to send the playoff hopes and season of their much-maligned foes six-feet under, while synchronously stabilizing their own ship, which saw its prospective Super Bowl quest hit some choppy waters Monday in Foxboro.
Looking for a bounce-back performance, Gang Green couldn’t ask for a more perfect setting. Home crowd? Check. One of your most hated rivals? Check. An opportunity to sweep those rivals and end their season in Week 14? Triple whammy.
One Jet who is definitely eager to get back on the gridiron and put last week on the backburner is quarterback Mark Sanchez. Sanchez is coming off his most dismal performance of his sophomore campaign, as he passed for only 164 yards while throwing three interceptions Monday night.
The former Trojan is primed for a fish-frying.
“They’ve traditionally played us tough since I’ve been here,” said Sanchez earlier this week. “They’ll be ready to play again. I know they’re excited. They need to win out to make the playoffs or to keep their playoff hopes alive.”
“Winning this one for us might settle some things. We want to come out firing, have a great game, start fast, finish strong and be ready for their defense that always plays well.”
Mike Nolan’s hard-nosed defensive unit, begins and ends with one man: Cameron Wake.
Wake, a second-year defensive end, has had an improbable rise to prominence in 2010. Undrafted in 2005 coming out of Penn State, Wake has seemingly come out of nowhere to lead the NFL in sacks this season (12) and emerge as one of the league’s most feared pass-rushers.
“Cameron Wake is tough,” said Ryan on Friday. “You know he’s blitzing and you have to do something about it. He’s doing a great job. He’s a speed rusher, but he has inside moves and he does inside moves with power. He’s really an outstanding rusher.”
Operating out of the 3-4 scheme, the Dolphin defensive gameplan is predicated upon sending a lot of pressure from the sides, with Wake wreaking most of his havoc from the right side. This is a definite issue of concern for the Jets, with right tackle Damien Woody banged up with a knee injury.
Running backs Shonn Greene and LaDainian Tomlinson must step up and protect the edges to sustain pressure, and keep Sanchez protected.
Greene and Tomlinson also figure to play a huge role in jumpstarting a Jet offense which was unable to find the end zone last week in New England. Offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer should lean on the “ground and pound” running game, early and often, something the offense has shied away from in recent weeks. This is the Jets’ greatest offensive strength and against a blitz-heavy team like Miami, it should be put to good use. Establishing the run will also open things up for Sanchez and the receivers, especially Dustin Keller.
Keller, who was seemingly unguardable during the Jets’ Week 3 victory in Miami, has also been noticeably absent from the offensive gameplan as of late. The second-year tight-end, who has arguably the best rapport with the neophytic Sanchez, must be brought to the forefront this week.
Defensively, this will be another one of the tougher matchups for Jet secondary. Miami QB Chad Henne torched the Jets for 363 yards and 2 touchdowns back in Week 3, with a majority of those throws going to WR Brandon Marshall (10 catches, 166 yards) and Davone Bess (6 catches, 86 yards).
One man the Jets were without in that Week 3 meeting was the eminent Darrelle Revis. Surely the presence of Revis will aid in the neutralization of Marshall on Sunday. Marshall, who has missed the past two games with a hamstring injury, is expected to return on to the Miami lineup on Sunday. Eager to get back on the field, look for the always dangerous Marshall to be extra motivated for his matchup on Revis Island.
With defensive coordinator Mike Pettine’s pledge to utilize LB Jason Taylor more effectively, the Jets should be able to lay a hand or two on Henne. The 25-year-old Henne, much like his young counterpart Sanchez, has shown an tendency to make poor decisions with the football when facing pressure. His 15 interceptions this season are indicative of that.
PREDICTION: JETS 21, DOLPHINS 7
Coming off their worst performance of the season, Gang Green bounces back with a stellar game on both sides of the ball. The defensive unit proves their worth, with at least two turnovers.
Sunday afternoon’s clash at the New Meadowlands will mark the 89th meeting between the two teams. Gang Green holds the all-time series advantage, posting a record of 47-41-1 against Miami. New York also has had the upper-hand in recent history, winning 9 of the last 13 meetings.
Last time they met…
A Drew Coleman interception of Miami QB Chad Henne in the end zone with 27 seconds remaining sealed a hard fought, 31-23 victory for the Jets during the Week 3 Sunday night matchup at Sun Life Stadium. The Jets were lead by outstanding performances by QB Mark Sanchez (15 for 28, 256 yards, 3 TD) and TE Dustin Keller ( 6 receptions, 98 yards, 2 TD).
10 for 10
With a win Sunday, the Jets can record a 10-win season for the tenth time in franchise history. The team’s last 10-win season came in 2006, under head coach Eric Mangini.
Injury Report: No ‘Dig’-itty, No Doubt
The wounds from Monday night’s thrashing in Foxboro continue to burn for the Jets, as they will be without safety and special team standout James Ihedigbo on Sunday against Miami. Ihedigbo left Monday’s game against New England with a high ankle sprain and an injured MCL and did not practice all week.
While Rex Ryan was unable to offer a definite table for Digs’ return Friday, he remained hopeful that the veteran safety would return to the lineup sooner than later. “He’s getting better, he’s tough and he’s here all the time getting treatment,” said Ryan. “You never know, but he may be out there next week. You never know with that guy. It’s an injury that should take longer with a high ankle sprain, but with him, I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s out there soon.”
Right tackle Damien Woody missed practice for the third straight day on Friday and is listed as questionable for Sunday. Woody sprained his right MCL against Houston two weeks ago, but has continued to play through the injury.
Listed as probable for the Jets are DE Shaun Ellis (knee), LT D’Brickashaw Ferguson (shoulder), WR Santonio Holmes (back), C Nick Mangold (shoulder), DT Sione Pouha (ankle), and WR Brad Smith (hand). All participated in the full practice on Friday.
For the Dolphins, OT Vernon Carey (knee) and WR Brian Hartline (finger) have been ruled out for Sunday. Listed as questionable for Miami are LB Channing Crowder (knee), LB Karlos Dansby (toe), DE Kendall Langford (neck), OT Jake Long (knee), S Sean Smith (ankle) and WR Brandon Marshall (hamstring).
Broadcast Info: Sunday, 4:15 P.M. ET, TV: CBS (Ian Eagle/Dan Fouts) Radio: 1050 AM ESPN Radio (Bob Wischusen/Marty Lyons)