Jets vs Dolphins: Top 5 players to watch


Sep 27, 2015; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; Miami Dolphins defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh (93) is introduced before a game against the Buffalo Bills during the first half at Sun Life Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Expect another great AFC clash in the Jets vs Dolphins game as both teams are desperate for a big Week 4 victory in London.

In Week 4 action in the NFL, we have a tasty AFC East match-up between the 2-1 New York Jets and the 1-2 Miami Dolphins across the pond in London. Which also provides NFL fans with an unusual 9:30 AM game (ET) that’ll be a nice appetizer to a jam-packed football Sunday in the world of the NFL.

This game is important for both teams: the Dolphins desperately need a win to save head coach Joe Philbin’s job and to salvage their season; starting 1-3 through a quarter of the season for a team that was expecting to make major noise in the AFC East is unacceptable.

For the Jets they want to go into their bye-week with some momentum and to shut the revolving door at quarterback…well at least for this season. Because with the Jets at 2-2 heading into the bye week with another bad Ryan Fitzpatrick performance, it could just be enough to force Bowles’ hand if he ever was going to make a change.

Without further ado let’s break down the top-5 players to watch out for in this critical AFC East match-up.

Next: 5. Ryan Tannehill

Sep 27, 2015; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; Miami Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill (17) warms up before game against the Buffalo Bills at Sun Life Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

5. Ryan Tannehill

Arguably (not really arguable) the 2nd best quarterback in the AFC East, is the engine that makes this Dolphins team go. They will only go as far as Tannehill can take them and so far he’s taken them to a 1-2 record and he’s not getting much help from the running game.

Dolphins problems: 1. O-line is BAD. 2. No run game. 3. D-line isn’t what was advertised. 4. A ton of injuries. 5. Young safety 6. LBer play

— Omar Kelly (@OmarKelly) September 22, 2015

Well, apparently the running game isn’t the only issue, but the top two things Omar Kelly points out is the terrible offensive line play for the Dolphins which has factored in to the run game being deficient through the first three weeks of the season.

According to ESPN stats and information, the Dolphins rank 27th in the league in rushing the football, a little over 70 yards a game. It hasn’t helped that Tannehill has been sacked 7 times and he’s being pressured even more than that.

It seems like Omar is on to something. Regardless, the Dolphins will have to rely on Tannehill to open up the passing game to force the Jets to put less guys in the box.

Next: 4. Darrelle Revis

Sep 13, 2015; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets cornerback Darrelle Revis (24) smiles after a play against the Cleveland Browns during the second half at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Danny Wild-USA TODAY Sports

4. Darrelle Revis

Revis continues to battle through a myriad of injuries, nothing major but just annoying injuries. Despite a groin injury, Revis was able to play against Philadelphia last week and he reportedly tweaked his hamstring during the game and sat out the final drive.

Head coach Todd Bowles hopes that Revis will be able to give it a go and give this Jets’ defense a much needed boost. The tale of the season so far for the Jets? The turnover differential as the Jets are tied for 2nd in that category (+ 5) while the Dolphins are at the bottom of the barrel (-2) tied for 20th in the league.

Revis was able to reach in his bag of tricks and pull a turkey against the Colts in Week 2 with 3 turnovers. The Jets only managed one takeaway last week and they’ll need more than that to beat the Dolphins and improve to 1-0 in the division. The Jets’ defensive secondary faces a tough test with a young-and-upcoming Dolphins receiving corps.

One of which that brings 1st-round rookie DeVante Parker to the mix, a versatile possession receiver in Jarvis Landry, and an out of nowhere Rishard Matthews who has really come on as of late. With that being said, Revis, Antonio Cromartie and Buster Skrine will have to be on their P’s and Q’s and then some. The Jets will need turnovers in bundles to give the offense short-fields to work with.

If Jets aren’t getting turnovers, are they good enough offensively — Damien Woody (@damienwoody) September 27, 2015

That question will be a major determining factor in whether the Jets are able to win this big game on Sunday.

Next: 3. Brian Winters

Jul 24, 2014; Cortland, NY, USA; New York Jets offensive guard Brian Winters (67) walks out to the field prior to the start of training camp at SUNY Cortland. Mandatory Credit: Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

3. Brian Winters

Bowles has come up with a new and innovative way for the Jets’ offensive line to stop Suh. Eat Wheaties! Here is what he said via Rich Cimini, ESPN New York Jets writer:

You’re up, Brian Winters. Your first assignment: Ndamukong Suh.

Any advice, coach?

“Just eat your Wheaties,” Todd Bowles said on Wednesday.

The Jets just hope Suh doesn’t eat Winters.

“Brian is a tough guy,” Bowles said. “He’ll fight.”

‘The next man up’ mentality is in full effect for the Jets as injuries happen in the NFL and it did for the Jets as starting right guard Willie Colon went down due to injury. Colon’s timetable to return is up in the air at this point, but rest assured Winters is going to see a lot of Suh on Sunday.

The entire Jets’ offensive line did a poor job developing a pocket around Fitzpatrick and the Eagles’ pass-rush was able to force Fitz into errant throws and tipped balls. As Cimini put it, “For the first time since 2004, someone other than Willie Colon or Brandon Moore is starting at right guard for the New York Jets.”

The Jets are going to need Winters to step up to the plate and be at least average in his first career start at right guard.

Next: 2. Ndamukong Suh

Aug 11, 2015; Davie, FL, USA; Miami Dolphins defense tackle Ndamukong Suh (93) during training camp at Doctors Hospital Training Facility. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

2. Ndamukong Suh

The prized free agent gem from this past offseason’s free agency period has been off to a slightly rocky start with the Dolphins as Rich Cimni put’s it lightly…

But where are the sacks? The front four has yet to register a sack. In fact, the Dolphins have only one as a team. As a result, they aren’t scaring any quarterbacks. They’ve allowed a 101.8 passer rating against three mediocre (at best) quarterbacks — Kirk Cousins, Blake Bortles and Tyrod Taylor.

I wouldn’t look too much into the small sack number; specifically Suh hasn’t registered a sack yet, but watching the film from the Bills vs Dolphins game last week there were times Suh was getting triple and quadrupled teamed; I didn’t even know that was a thing.

Which just goes to show how dangerous of a player Suh is, the surprising factor is obviously when you commit that many guys to stopping one guy you leave the rest of your offensive line vulnerable to one-on-one match-ups which is even more dangerous when you consider they also boast sack monster Cameron Wake and Olivier Vernon.

Suh is one of the best players to hit the open market since Reggie White; the Jets can’t stop Suh, it’s impossible as they can only hope to contain his impact in this game. If they can do that the Jets will make things easier for Fitzpatrick and the Jets’ offense as a whole.

Next: 1. Chris Ivory

Sep 13, 2015; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets running back Chris Ivory (33) celebrates his touchdown run during the second half at MetLife Stadium. The Jets defeated the Browns 31-10. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports

1. Chris Ivory

The single most important player in this match-up without a doubt is Ivory; he’s the heartbeat of this offense for the Jets. We saw it last week in the Eagles game, the combination of Bilal Powell and Zac Stacy was ineffective to say the least.

It’s important for the Jets to ‘win on 1st down’ because whether it be an Ivory iso-play up the middle for 3-4 yards or Ivory in the backfield as a decoy to set up a quick-slant to Brandon Marshall or Eric Decker for 5-6 yards, he’ll be the x-factor in this matchup.

It’s absolutely critical for the Jets to consistently put the offense in manageable downs and distances whether it be 2nd and short or 3rd and short as opposed to a one-yard-stuff and then an incomplete pass then you’re looking at the dreaded 3rd and long play with the house coming at Fitzpatrick. That’s just never going to work and it didn’t last week for the Jets.

Bowles doesn’t think Cumberland will play. Says Reilly is probably out. Hopeful Revis will play. Decker, Ivory TBD.

— New York Jets (@nyjets) September 30, 2015

Though Ivory’s status appears up in the air, all signs from the team indicate he’ll be a full-go on Sunday against the Dolphins. You could argue the fact that Marshall could be at this spot on the list, due to his propensity for big-plays and motivating the rest of the offense.

But I think it starts and ends with Ivory and I’m predicting a big game for a guy in his contract year. The Dolphins’ run defense has been allowing on average 145 yards per game through the first three games and the Jets will continue that trend come Sunday.

Next: Jets Injury Report: Is Eric Decker returning this week?

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