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JETS - DOLPHINS PREVIEW

By Drew Buono
Jets Insider.com Staff Writer
December 22nd, 2006
The Jets beat Miami 20-17 in October at the Meadowlands. (Jets Insider.com Photo)
The Jets beat Miami 20-17 in October at the Meadowlands. (Jets Insider.com Photo)
Are you ready for some football? The New York Jets play in prime time on Monday night against their division rival, the Miami Dolphins. The Jets will be looking to sweep the season series against the Dolphins for the first time in two years. Stopping them will be the number three rank defense in the NFL led by Pro Bowler DE Jason Taylor.

The Jets are playing to keep themselves in the race for one of the final two playoff spots in the AFC. The Dolphins are eliminated from postseason contention, after getting shut-out against the Buffalo Bills.

One Jet player who might be shutout from playing on Monday night is, RB Cedric Houston. Houston has missed the last two days of practice with a nagging calf injury and will most likely miss the game on Christmas. In his place, RB Kevan Barlow looks to be the guy who will get the chance to prove his worth again.

Barlow might be coming back into the rotation at the right time. The team is making a playoff push and it would be smart to have guys who have been there before in the thick of it. Remember, Barlow went to the playoffs twice with the 49ers and overall has played in three career playoff games.

Taylor doesn’t really care who lines up in the Jets backfield saying, “It doesn’t make a difference really. They do kind of committee it a little bit but it doesn’t matter. They’re going to run the same plays regardless of who is back there. They have very adequate backs, they have guys who do a good job, but we obviously take pride in our defense and need to show up in a big way.”

While the Dolphins maybe eliminated from the chance to go to the postseason, head coach Nick Saban is hoping for a return to a couple of weeks ago when his team was playing good football; “We’re a little disappointed that we weren’t able to continue with that consistency and I hope we can prove that we can come back in these two games and be able to play at that level.”

Jets head coach Eric Mangini is just happy to be playing a meaningful Monday night game in December, “It's exciting for me personally. It's exciting for the team. It's what you work so hard for so long is to get in this position where you can play those games late in the season and this is a great opportunity. It's a great opportunity for us to not just compete for what we are competing for, but also to be able to play on Monday night, on Christmas. It's unique, and that's great for us.”

LB Matt Chatham knows the significance of this game and believes it should be conveyed to the younger guys on the team, “That’s something that we need to impress upon the guys and a lot of these guys haven’t been in these situations. Too many people think that these opportunities come around quite often, and they don’t, I’m a real rare situation.”

The players do realize though, it will be a tough game on Monday night, especially since they are going for the season sweep. OL Pete Kendall said of the chance at the sweep that, “It’s very hard to do. As a player, you don’t reach this point without taking a lot of pride in what you do. With that being said, nobody wants to get swept in a season series, so you’re always battling that element. You’re also dealing with the fact that this team knows us; they know our personnel, they know our strengths and weakness just like we feel like we know them. Clearly, it’s a difficult thing when you have two evenly-matched teams like we have here who play each other twice a year, to go in and win both games.”

The Dolphins will have QB Joey Harrington playing on Monday and maybe the Jets will be able to get to him and stop him from making plays or scrambling around. Also, whoever does play running back this week for the Jets will have to establish some positive yardage because QB Chad Pennington will not be able to abuse the defense like he did last week in Minnesota. The Jets seem to be on the right track heading into this pivotal game and hopefully it will pay off with a “W”.

INSIDER TIDBITS:

- A win on Monday night would give the Jets a winning record for the fifth time in the last seven seasons.

- The WR tandem of Laveranues Coles and Jerricho Cotchery are only four combined receptions away from breaking the all-time Jets’ receiving tandem record held by Al Toon and Mickey Shuler.

-Coles needs just 7 catches to break Al Toon's 1988 record of 93 receptions in a season.

- The Jets are 9-10 all-time at Dolphin Stadium.

- The Jets are 5-4 on Monday night against the Dolphins, including winners of the last three meetings.

INJURY REPORT

New York Jets
-FB B.J. Askew (Foot): Questionable
-CB David Barrett (Hip): Questionable
-WR Laveranues Coles (Back): Questionable
-RB Cedric Houston (Calf): Questionable
-DB Eric Smith (Foot): Questionable
-RB Kevan Barlow (Calf): Probable
-LB Matt Chatham (Foot): Probable
-OL Nick Mangold (Hip): Probable
-WR Justin McCareins (Foot): Probable
-OL Brandon Moore (Back): Probable
-DL Rashad Moore (Hand): Probable
-QB Chad Pennington (Calf): Probable
-LB Anthony Schlegel (Illness): Probable
-DE Bryan Thomas (Shoulder): Probable
-S Jamie Thompson (Ankle): Probable
-WR Wallace Wright (Thigh): Probable

Miami Dolphins
-DT Dan Wilkinson (Calf): Out - Placed on IR
-WR Marty Booker (Ankle): Doubtful
-CB Will Allen (Groin/Quad): Questionable
-RB Ronnie Brown (Hand): Questionable
-QB Joey Harrington (Ankle): Probable
-DT Keith Traylor (Knee): Probable

The team will practice on Saturday morning before leaving for Miami that night. Game time is 8:30 p.m. on ESPN and as always JetsInsider.com will have a complete recap following Saturday’s practice and Monday night’s game against the Miami Dolphins.

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