The New York Jets are coming off of a hard fought loss to the Patriots. For the second week in a row, they’ll be playing a division game and are looking to avoid going 1-3 in the division. I take a look at the position comparisons in this Week 7 matchup. ( I won’t be looking at the officiating).
Is Jay Cutler still the quarterback of the Dolphins? Okay that’s all I need to know. The Dolphins have won two games in a row but Cutler has had a combined 243 yards passing with three touchdowns and two interceptions. The Jets shut him down in the first game and had a shutout for 99% of the game. I don’t expect that kind of performance again but I certainly don’t expect Cutler to turn into Tom Brady overnight.
Josh McCown has been very average all year. Last week we saw the good side of McCown and also the bad side. He was forced to throw the ball 47 times for 354 yards and two touchdowns against a porous Patriots defense but also threw two interceptions which directly led to 10 Patriots points. In the first half he drove the Jets down the field for two impressive touchdowns. It’s a week to week thing with McCown and I lean with him this week.
Running Back: Dolphins
Jay Ajayi looks like he’s getting back to 2016 Jay Ajayi. He had 130 yards on the ground last week against the 13th ranked Falcons rushing defense. It was a far cry from the 16 yard performance the Jets held him to in Week 3 but he still has no touchdowns on the year. He was salivating watching tape of the Jets run defense last week as the Patriots averaged 4.7 YPC on 25 carries.
The Jets running backs haven’t been able to do much of anything this year. They’re averaging 4.4 YPC but if you take away the two big runs against Jacksonville, they’re averaging 3.28 YPC which would be third to last in the league. The Dolphins only allow 80 rushing yards per game. It looks like Bilal Powell is playing so I expect the Jets to use him more but when Forte has been active, they use him more as the feature back. It’s going to be tough running for whatever Jets running back gets the ball.
Wide Receivers: Jets
A lot of this can be placed on quarterback play and McCown gives his receivers the better chance to succeed. Cutler has a bad habit of trying to fit the football into impossible spaces when Miami’s receivers are better at making plays after the ball is caught. Here’s a hot take, maybe the Dolphins should have stuck with Matt Moore? Miami’s longest reception this year is 31 yards by DeVante Parker which means Miami isn’t trying to stretch the field at all. Kenny Stills can make big plays but he actually has to catch the ball to do that. Jarvis Landry is a great slot receiver but even he is only averaging 7.2 yards per reception.
The Jets receivers aren’t household names but they’re getting the job done and look like pieces than can stick around for future teams. Jeremy Kerley has basically caught every pass thrown his way this season while Jermaine Kearse and Robby Anderson (when he’s not running soft outs) have shown they can beat secondaries in every aspect of the passing game. While the Dolphins group has more talent, the Jets seem more like a cohesive group with McCown.
Tight End: Jets
Austin Seferian-Jenkins has caught a touchdown in two straight games for the Jets, something that just a year ago seemed about as likely as a Super Bowl win. The Jets have been doing a great job of incorporating him into the offense and it’s paid off. I would like to see more downfield throws to him but his production has been a great addition to this Jets offense.
Julius Thomas hasn’t done much of anything for the Dolphins. He has 12 receptions on the year and only 108 yards receiving. Jamal Adams had an easy time covering him in the last matchup and after two sub par games, I expect him to bounce back on Thomas Sunday.
Offensive Line: Dolphins
While they didn’t play horrible on Sunday, the Jets offensive line didn’t play great either. They couldn’t create any openings for the running game and they allowed four sacks to a Patriots defense that struggles to create pressure. The Dolphins defensive line can create pressure all by themselves and that’s going to be an issue for the Jets.
The Dolphins offensive line has only allowed 10 sacks all season and while Ajayi hadn’t really got it going all season, last week he rushed for 130 yards. Miami’s offensive line shouldn’t have any issues with the Jets’ non existent pass rush. I’m going with them.
Defensive Line: Dolphins
Mo Wilkerson? Leonard Williams? Remember those guys? They’ve been missing the entire season (Wilkerson might not even play Sunday or the rest of the season) and the Jets best defensive lineman (Kony Ealy) was cut by New England. They create no pressure. They create no tackles for loss. They get little to no push up front. It’s embarrassing.
Miami on the other hand has a defensive line that has recorded 10.5 sacks on the season. They can get pressure up front and create hell for the Jets. The Falcons and Jets (100 and 103 yards respectively) are the only teams to rush for 100 yards on them. Going up against a Jets offensive line that can’t run block well is going to be a major advantage for them.
They didn’t play great against the Jets in Week 3 but they have upped their level of play since. A lot of this comes down to the Jets linebacker play. While Darron Lee had a good Cleveland game and an okay Patriots game, I still want to see more from him in coverage. I also want to see him make some plays in the passing game. Same goes for Demario Davis. Plus Kiko Alonso picked a grown man up and carried him backwards. Who does that?!
Byron Maxwell might not even suit up for the Dolphins Sunday (which might be a plus for them) but even still the Jets secondary is better. After the first two games, they’ve limited the big plays from opponents. Jamal Adams hasn’t had the best two game stretch but it’s growing pains. It’s going to happen with rookies. Morris Claiborne, save for the perfect 42 yard throw to Brandin Cooks, played well against the Patriots and Buster Skrine has come on strong as of late.
I will say this, Reshad Jones and Cordrea Tankersley have played very well this season. With that said however, the Dolphins secondary only has one (1) interception all season.
Special Teams: Jets
Cody Parkey has missed two extra points this season. Chandler Catanzaro has not missed any. The Jets special teams isn’t going to break open big plays but they are getting better at holding the kick off and punt returns to minimums. I would be a little cautious of Kenyan Drake if I’m a Jets fan.
Todd Bowles has had his team prepared and ready to play every single week. Even after the horrendous call last week, the Jets didn’t fold and stayed in the game until the final possession. Bowles has his guys ready to play every week and they have the belief that they can play with any team in this league.
Adam Gase continues to start Jay Cutler.
Photo courtesy of: nyjets.com