The Miami Dolphins are holding on to a small thread of playoff hope as they travel to the Meadowlands to take on the New York Jets.
In their first meeting this season in London, the Dolphins lost 27-14 in a game that wasn’t as close as the score indicated. The game would mark the end of the Joe Philbin era in Miami while dropping the Dolphins to 1-3.
Since then the Dolphins have gone a respectable 3-3 and are still in playoff contention.
The Jets are still in playoff contention as well at 5-5 and are tied with the Buffalo Bills, Kansas City Chiefs and Houston Texans for the final playoff spot.
Miami, at 4-6, is 0-4 in the AFC East. This will be its second-to-last division game of the season. A win puts the Dolphins back into playoff contention, but they will need a lot of help in order to get in.
Both the Miami Dolphins and Dallas Cowboys could say that their Week 11 matchup was a must-win situation.
Dallas wound up winning 24-14 thanks to the return of quarterback Tony Romo, a tremendously bad offensive effort by the Dolphins and a collection of some of the worst coaching decisions known to man.
Miami ran the ball well—the few times it actually committed to running the ball. This trend started in the first quarter, then came to an abrupt end.
The reason? I couldn’t tell you. The Dolphins were down as far back as 14-0; however, they were only down by seven at the half and were either tied or within one score of the Cowboys throughout most of the second half.
Then there’s the decision by head coach Dan Campbell to punt the ball on 4th-and-6 with little more than six minutes left while down by 10. Following that punt, the Cowboys would kill the clock thanks to their run game and the fact that Miami’s defense, which was decent all afternoon, had started to wear down.
After the loss, Miami was at 4-6, and in a week where ground could’ve been gained in the playoff race (the Jets and Bills lost), the Dolphins instead pushed themselves closer to elimination.
While the defense wasn’t a major reason for the loss (at least not the defensive line), Ndamukong Suh was upset enough to hold his own meeting with defensive players in which he gave what Ian Rapoport of NFL.com describes as a “fiery and demanding speech” holding players accountable.
While I like hearing about these meetings, that won’t fix the lack of talent in the secondary or linebackers. Those are the main issues plaguing the Dolphins defense, and they should’ve been addressed during the offseason.
The Dolphins had the opportunity to beef up their defensive line while getting some information on their next opponent when the New York Jets released linebacker/defensive lineman Quinton Coples.
During his Monday press conference, Dolphins interim head coach Dan Campbell had this to say about Miami’s offense, per Andrew Abramson of the Palm Beach Post: “Our offense, we have to score points. We have to find a way. We have to be scoring more than 21 points a game or whatever we’re at.”
That’s all true, but might I suggest running the ball more than 14 times—especially when you’re running for five yards per attempt? That might be a good idea to consider.
Seeing his name on the injury list will make any Miami Dolphins fan freak out—especially when he’s listed with a knee injury on the Dolphins’ official injury report.
However, Omar Kelly of the Sun-Sentinel reports that Landry, along with left tackle Branden Albert, was resting on Wednesday and should expect to play on Sunday.
Right tackle Ja’Wuan James isn’t expected to play on Sunday, per Kelly; however, there is some good news, as Kelly reports that James had the protective boot removed from his left foot.
Miami is still taking James’ recovery slow, although with Jason Fox continuing to play horribly at tackle, James can’t come back soon enough.
Marshall had seven receptions for 128 yards in Week 4 in a game that saw Grimes suffer a minor knee injury.
Jason Fox has been Miami’s worst offensive lineman when he’s played this season, grading out at minus-18.9 for the year, per Pro Football Focus, and he’ll be tasked with handling a defensive end that recorded two sacks in their last meeting.
Fox could use some help from right guard Billy Turner, but he’ll have his own matchup to worry about.
Assuming he plays on Sunday (which hasn’t been confirmed yet), Jarvis Landry will likely be covered by Darrelle Revis.
The best strategy to counter for Miami would be to give more snaps to DeVante Parker (off the injury report for the second consecutive week) and throw the ball Rishard Matthews’ way more.
You might even see the Jets switch Revis and put him on Matthews throughout the game, but the main matchup should be between Revis and Landry.
In their last matchup, Landry was thrown to three times with Revis covering him and only made one catch for two yards, per Pro Football Focus.
It’s not just the depth that he adds along the defensive line, but the information he brings in regards to what the Jets run on defense and offense.
How much of a help can he be? Can he provide enough information to help? He also fits the Dolphins defense better than he did the Jets defense.
The Dolphins run a 4-3, and in said defense, Coples fits as a defensive end. It’s the position he prefers playing, per Adam Beasley of the Miami Herald, with Coples saying, “It makes me happy. A lot,” when asked about how it felt for him to be moving back to defensive end.
If the Dolphins are getting a struggling Ryan Fitzpatrick, they should be able to win the game. A game like last week’s, where Fitzpatrick went 19-of-39 for 216 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions should give Miami the game.
In Jets wins, Fitzpatrick has completed 63.3 percent of his passes for 1,166 yards, nine touchdowns and four interceptions for a passer rating of 96.9, while in Jets losses, he’s completed 54.3 percent of his passes for 1,033 yards, seven touchdowns and seven interceptions with a passer rating of 68.6.
The key for the Dolphins is getting pressure, as he’s been sacked seven times in his five losses and only three times in their five wins.
The Miami Dolphins have won three straight games against the Jets at MetLife Stadium and have won six out of their last seven games against the Jets in the Meadowlands.
That’s the type of road dominance against a division foe not seen since, well, how well the Jets have done against the Dolphins at Sun Life Stadium during that same time span (the Jets have won six out of their last seven games in Miami and three straight at Sun Life Stadium).
How does that London game from earlier mess up the balance? It doesn’t, as this trend of Miami beating the Jets on the road and vice versa will continue.
Bleacher Report’s Chris Simms guarantees that the Jets will beat the Dolphins, but I’m going the other way and guaranteeing a Dolphins victory over the Jets.