The Dolphins come off of their bye week playing at home yet, again, against AFC East Rival, the N.Y. Jets. Miami looks to win their third straight and climb into the fringe of the AFC Wildcard race. Here’s what we are looking for this afternoon:
Run, Run, Run
When last we’ve seen them, coach Adam Gase’s offense has become a hand it off, wear them down, roll up the rushing yards offense their last two games. As our Chris Fischer wrote this week, against both the Steelers and Bills, Jay Ajayi was devastating.
And look for the Fins to try to establish more of the same against the Jets. Chris covered the Dolphins the last two weeks for CBS-TV from the inside and senses that the new found balance on offense is from the “wake up call” when Gase cut two of his active roster O-linemen back in October. It’ unlikely Ajay will approach 200 yards for the third consecutive game, but he and the run game will be a big factor today.
Jets Mess at QB
New York City is the ultimate “Love/Hate” sports town and such is the case with the QB situation of the Jets. Ryan Fitzpatrick is back starting….after he was benched….after Geno Smith replaced him and then tore his ACL in the first game he started and with Fitzpatrick back, he led them to a comeback win last week over lowly Cleveland last Sunday. The veteran did lead the 13 point second half comeback but he’s also had a couple of awful games, including a six interception one at Kansas City earlier this year. With Smith unable to play the rest of the year, second year QB Bryce Petty with an ailing shoulder and rookie Christian Hackenberg still waiting in the wings, the Jets have issues at QB. Then again, Fitzpatrick does have Brandon Marshall to throw it too, and veteran Matt Forte has run it well in spots.
Finally, …Home for Five weeks in an NFL regular season?!
The answer is yes. In the ultimate early Christmas gift from the league, the Fins have yet to leave South Florida for the last five weeks. Three consecutive home games before a bye and now a home division game with the Jets. When you consider that the Oakland Raiders have flown from California to New Orleans, then separately to Baltimore, and then, again, separately for two games in Florida in the first eight week span, there are ZERO excuses for Miami getting to say home for that length of time. Four straight home games is a quirk in the schedule for sure and borderline unfair to other teams in the league who rarely get a third straight game at home. So, the Dolphins have to capitalize.