The 2-1 New York Jets head to London to take on the struggling Miami Dolphins, who are coming off two rough losses as questions swirl about their coaching staff. How can the Jets move to 3-0 in the AFC and get their first divisional win of the season? Let’s break it down in this week’s version of match-ups…
The Glass Half Full – The Dolphins are a Jarvis Landry punt return away from being 0-3 despite playing Washington and Jacksonville to start the season. This has been a bad football team, who is underachieving based on their talent level. There is no balance on their offense and Ryan Tannehill has struggled to push the ball down the field, which is both on him and a shaky offensive line. Miami’s secondary has been getting beat up and should have issues with Brandon Marshall and Devin Smith (if Ryan Fitzpatrick can find a way to get him the ball). Joe Philbin is the worst head coach in the NFL.The Glass Half Empty – Brian Winters blocking Ndamukong Suh. Brian Winters blocking Ndamukong Suh. Brain Winters blocking Ndaunkong Suh. Ryan Fitzpatrick may be too erratic to take advantage of Miami’s secondary. The Jets run defense has been slightly concerning and Miami is due for a productive game running the football. Eric Decker and Chris Ivory are still banged up and could potentially not play on Sunday and as we saw last week, the Jets are going to struggle moving the ball without them. Miami is a desperate team who may face an in-season coaching change if they lose their third straight.
Offensively – The Jets need to find a way to consistently pick on Brice McCain, as the Dolphins don’t regularly move Brent Grimes around the formation to shadow a specific receiver. McCain was beat in every which way by Buffalo last week, getting run by deep by Sammy Watkins and then repeatedly allowing Percy Harvin to work the stop/comeback route on 3rd and longs, which are the type of routes Devin Smith should be able to be productive on.
Even if Grimes is matched up on Brandon Marshall, he should be able to regularly win that match-up. Grimes is a scrappy and physical corner but is giving too much size to Marshall who wasn’t slowed down by Joe Haden or Vontae Davis. Fitzpatrick needs to find a way to be successful outside the numbers this week in at least the intermediate passing game, as we know he is going to struggle in the deep passing game.
The Dolphins have been undisciplined and poor defending the run through three games giving up 37 carries for 161 yards, 33 carries for 123 yards and 21 carries for 151 yards, respectively. Overall, that comes out to 91 carries for 435 yards, with a 4.7 yards per carry. With our without Chris Ivory at 100%, the Jets must establish a running game to keep out of 3rd and longs so Fitzpatrick doesn’t have to drop back 60 times.
Defensively – The Dolphins offensive line has struggled to protect Ryan Tannehill, leading to a few perplexing turnovers and continued struggles in the deep passing game. The Jets need to manufacture pressure off the edge thanks to the sluggish start from Quinton Coples and an injury to Trevor Reilly. It wouldn’t be surprising to see more of Buster Skrine or Calvin Pryor being brought on blitzes to try to overwhelm the Miami offensive line. It will be interesting to see if the Jets use Darrelle Revis to shadow Jarvis Landry at all or keep him focused outside the numbers. Landry would be a tough challenge for Buster Skrine in the slot.
Miami has been completely one-dimensional on offense, struggling to run the football and hesitating to commit at all to it throughout games. They may be motivated to try more frequently due to the struggles the Jets had last week, particularly Demario Davis. The Jets have one more game without Sheldon Richardson, hopefully it doesn’t hurt them as much as it did last week.
Overall – This has the feel of an ugly, low scoring game. The Jets will lean on their defense and likely be more committed to running the football to take more off Ryan Fitzpatrick’s plate. However, there is no reason to think Brandon Marshall will be slowed down by a poor Miami secondary. The Jets need to handle business in London against a team they should beat.