The Jets look to make it two in a row this week as they host their home opener against their division rival, the Miami Dolphins. In week one the Dolphins shocked the NFL by posting a 27-20 victory over the Tennessee Titans, a team who made it to the divisional round in last year’s playoffs.
Though Marcus Mariota was replaced by Blaine Gabbert due to a wrist injury, the reality is the Titans were not much better with him than without. Mariota struggled against the Dolphins defense, posting a 9-for-16 performance with 106 yards passing and two interceptions.
This comes as a shock after the Dolphins made some questionable moves in the offseason. They traded away all-pro wideout Jarvis Landry to the Browns and brought in Danny Amendola and 35 year old Frank Gore as his offensive replacements.
In addition to that they dumped longtime center Mike Pouncey and cap space guzzler Ndamukung Suh. They traded for Robert Quinn, who’s decline was a direct result of injury and added slot receiver Albert Wilson from the Chiefs.
All these moves might leave heads spinning but in effect, the Dolphins are 1-0. Pair that with the fact that they swept the Jets in two games last season. Moral of the story: the Jets shouldn’t be overlooking anyone. Coming off a tremendous victory in week one where they looked almost unstoppable, the Jets should be wary not to feel the hangover effects of celebrating too much.
“It’s a 24 hour rule for us. We go into the next game right there. As long as I see them not working I’ll make sure they put their work in,” said Head Coach Todd Bowles following practice today.
When: Sunday September 16, 1:00 pm CBS
Where: MetLife Stadium
Series: 106th meeting, Jets lead 54-50-1
Last Meeting: Dolphins 31, Jets 28
Last Jets Win: Jets 20, Dolphins 6 9/24/17
Injury Report: Jets: DNP – G Dakota Dozier (not injury related), LB Josh Martin (concussion), S Marcus Maye (foot)/ Limited practice: LB Neville Hewitt (knee)/ Full practice: T Kelvin Beachum (foot), Quincy Enunwa (thumb), WR Jermaine Kearse (abdomen), C Spencer Long (knee), DT Steve McLendon (knee), LB Kevin Pierre-Louis (abdomen), WR Terrelle Pryor (ankle), G Brian Winters (back)
Dolphins: DNP – RB Frank Gore (not injury related), G Josh Sitton (shoulder)/ Limited practice: LS John Denney (shoulder)/ Full practice: WR Danny Amendola (not injury related), DE William Hayes (finger), T Ja’Wuan James (hamstring), WR DeVante Parker (finger), T Laremy Tunsil (hamstring)
Jets Rankings 2018: OFFENSE: POINTS PER GAME 48.0 (1st), TOTAL YARDS 349 (15th), RUSHING 169 (5th), PASSING 180 (23th), 3RD DOWN 42.9% (T-9th) DEFENSE: POINTS PER GAME 17 (8th), TOTAL YARDS 339 (15th), RUSHING 39 (1st), PASSING 300 (T-24th), 3RD DOWN 23.1% (6th)
Dolphins Rankings 2018: OFFENSE: POINTS PER GAME 27.0 (T-9th), TOTAL YARDS 342 (17th), RUSHING 120 (15th), PASSING 222 (20th), 3RD DOWN 20.0% (27th) DEFENSE: POINTS PER GAME 20 (T-11th), TOTAL YARDS 336 (14th), RUSHING 116 (T-15th), PASSING 220 (11th), 3RD DOWN 42.9% (T-22nd)
KEYS TO THE GAME:
STOP THE DOLPHINS RUSHING ATTACK: The Dolphins should continue to do what they did last week, pound the rock. Kenyan Drake and Frank Gore combined for 109 yards on 23 carries against a Tennessee run defense that ranked first in yards per game last season. Drake is a multipurpose back who has the ability to catch too. He sprinkled in three catches for 18 yards last week. The Jets defense completely shut down the Lions running game last week and they will look to do the same against the Dolphins. If the Jets can make the Dolphins offense one-dimensional then they will hope to capitalize off of mistakes in the passing game.
PREVENT THE DEEP BALL: Without a doubt the biggest addition the Dolphins got back this offseason was Ryan Tannehill. Coming off an ACL tear, Tannehill looked rusty in the opener with flashes of solid play. His biggest connection was to Kenny Stills, who piled on four catches for 106 yards and two touchdowns. Not to mention one of those touchdowns came on a 75 yard play where he burned former Patriots corner Malcolm Butler. With Jarvis Landry now in Cleveland the Dolphins offense looks much different than in year’s past, no more will their offense be built around a bunch of short passes. With Stills and the addition of Albert Wilson the Dolphins will continue to spread the field deep, if the Jets secondary makes just a mistake or two it could lead to a big play or two that could be enough to swing the game in the Dolphins favor.
DARNOLD VS DOLPHINS SECONDARY:
On defense the Dolphins are anchored by safety Reshad Jones, Kiko Alonso and Cameron Wake. Jones and Alonso did all the work last week, picking off Mariota and Gabbert three times total. But the strength of this defense is the secondary. With Jones, T.J. McDonald and rookie Minkah Fitzpatrick the Dolphins have their own impressive safety group, throw the young, up-and-comin/stud cornerback Xavien Howard into the mix and this is a secondary that can absolutely make Sam Darnold pay if he makes any mistakes. Darnold limiting mistakes will be one of the game keys every week this season as we watch the 21-year-old rookie navigate his way through the season, but in order to start a win streak this week he will need to be extra careful against this Dolphins secondary.
X-Factor: One big surprise from week one came from the feet of third-year pro Jakeem Grant. Grant’s 102 yard kickoff return gave the Dolphins a 17-10 lead in the fourth quarter seconds after a Dion Lewis touchdown tied the game up. The Jets special teams looked very solid in the first game as well as Andre Roberts had a 78 yard touchdown return and another 43 yard return to setup another touchdown. If either team is able to make a big play or two on special teams it could be enough to swing the game.
PREDICTION: NY Jets 24, Dolphins 13 – Expect the Jets to continue to pound the rock first, while using the same run pass option for Darnold like they did last week. On defense the main key will be to stop the deep threat of Stills and slow down the run game. Forcing Tannehill to throw might be the best option for the Jets as he enters just his second game back from ACL surgery.