Fresh off a great second half comeback win in Atlanta, the Dolphins will now play the Jets for second time in four weeks. And, have a chance to pay them back for what was a dismal offensive showing at the Meadowlands in a 20-6 defeat.
Here’s what to watch:
Jay Ajayi’s running
Off a 100 yard plus performance last Sunday vs. the Falcons, it’s not a “nuclear secret” the Fins want him to be an impact player. He was no where close in the previous meeting against the Jets with just 16 yards on 11 carries. Needless to say, you cannot have much worse of a day than that. But, Ajayi looked like his old self in the ATL. He cut back with authority in the Dolphins zone blocking plays, and has to be eager to dispel what we saw in the first match-up. As our Roy Cummings wrote earlier this week, he has been regularly held out of practice because of chronic knee soreness, but should be ready to do damage if their are holes.
Jets are improved
Starting with that 20-6 domination in the previous meeting, the Jets have played pretty well, at least for them. Josh McCown has looked comfortable settling in as a veteran starting QB and leader of the offense. McCown has not only worked down the field to the likes of Robbie Anderson or newly acquired Jermaine Kearse, but has also, begun to find tight end Austin Sefarian-Jenkins in key situations, including a TD pass last week.
Also, the New York defense, especially the front seven, is nasty and continues to hamper opponents. Todd Bowles being a former highly successful defensive coordinator for years before becoming he Jets boss, was able to pressure and confuse Jay Cutler in game one with pass rush variations and different blitzes. It’s no coincidence that the Jets won three straight and could have made it four straight had Tom Brady not taken it from them in the fourth quarter last week because their D has stepped up.
While the Jets have played better in the last month, they have given up a ton of yardage to opponents. Giving up 358 yards on average is only 24th in the NFL and “Gang Green” is 28th in rushing yards allowed with 138.8 per game. This bodes well for the Fins trying to get the ground game going.
As far as takeaways, New York has nine of them on the season, while Miami has only four (playing in one less game so far) and both teams are middle of the pack in the league with a -2 turnover differential. However, McCown has thrown six interceptions and there may be opportunity for the Dolphins to “ball hawk” here and get some picks.
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