Jets vs Dolphins: 3 keys to victory for New York


Dec 28, 2014; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; New York Jets wide receiver Eric Decker (center) celebrates his touchdown catch with teammates New York Jets running back Bilal Powell (left) and New York Jets wide receiver Chris Owusu (right) during the second half at Sun Life Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

The Jets vs Dolphins game promises to be a great one but Gang Green needs to focus on 3 key areas to ensure a victory in London.

The New York Jets will travel across the pond to take on the Miami Dolphins in this Week 4 divisional matchup that holds high importance for the two teams. Gang Green sits at 2-1 while the Dolphins have begun the season 1-2. Both are on a bye next week, so getting a win to build off of would be huge.

New York took a bad loss last week to the Eagles 24-17 in which the score really doesn’t tell the story. Philadelphia came into the Meadowlands and buried the Jets right off the bat, opening the game with a 24-0 lead. Head coach Todd Bowles’ defense put on a poor display of tackling and the offense clearly missed Chris Ivory as well as Eric Decker. Ivory expects to play on Sunday, but Decker is questionable to suit up.

The Dolphins on the other hand are completely dysfunctional with fans begging for the firing of head coach Joe Philbin. Miami was embarrassed in last week’s matchup against the Bills 41-14 where Buffalo jumped out to a 27-0 halftime lead. Tyrod Taylor ripped apart the Dolphins’ secondary completing 21 of 29 passes for 277 yards and 3 touchdowns. Miami’s offense converted on just 1 of 4 fourth down opportunities and quarterback Ryan Tannehill threw 3 interceptions on top of it.

The Jets may be viewed at as the favorites in this matchup, but by no means are they locks to win. This is the type of game that can save the Dolphins’ season. The Eagles won in a similar fashion last week, so it’ll be interesting to see what adjustments New York made.

Here are 3 ways the Jets can avoid an upset in London.

Next: 3. Re-establish the run game

Sep 13, 2015; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets running back Chris Ivory (33) rushes the ball against the Cleveland Browns during the second half at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Danny Wild-USA TODAY Sports

3. Re-establish the run game

Last week, we learned the Jets’ offense is below average with Ivory on the sideline. Gang Green rushed the ball just 16 times for 47 yards without Ivory and 4 of those carries were actually Ryan Fitzpatrick scrambles. Zac Stacy, who’s role was supposed to be increased, carried the ball only 2 times for 3 yards. Ivory’s absence should not have changed offensive coordinator Chan Gailey’s gameplan whatsoever. Carries should have been split between Powell and Stacy, who are two proven backs who could have produced early on to prevent the 24-0 deficit.

Instead, Fitzpatrick threw the ball 58 times to a depleted receiving corps. Coming into the season, the Jets signed the veteran to back up Geno Smith and if he was called upon, he would not be asked to do too much. He was not brought to New York to throw the ball 58 times in a game. As a matter of fact, he threw the ball the same amount of times in the first two games combined. According to Pro Football Focus, in deep passing accuracy, Fitzpatrick ranks 26th out of the 28 quarterbacks who have thrown at least 7 deep balls. He’s thrown two interceptions and completed only 3 of his 20 deep passes.

With Ivory’s return on Sunday considered to be very possible, the Jets have no excuse to avoid running the football. The Dolphins front-seven does look good on paper with Ndamukong Suh leading the way, but ends Cameron Wake and Olivier Vernon have gotten off to a very slow start. On PFF, they both have negative grades as run stoppers. Wake currently has a -3 and Vernon sits with a -2. As a result, Derrick Shelby is rotating in and Wake is gradually becoming solely a pass rushing end. With that being said, New York would be hard pressed not to run the football early and often on Sunday.

Next: 2. Pressure Ryan Tannehill

Dec 28, 2014; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; New York Jets inside linebacker David Harris (52) sacks Miami Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill (17) in the second half at Sun Life Stadium. The Jets defeated Miami 37-24. Mandatory Credit: Brad Barr-USA TODAY Sports

2. Pressure Ryan Tannehill

So far, teams have had no problem dominating the Dolphins’ offensive line that ranked last in the league in 2014. Right tackle Ja’wuan James is having the same issues he had in his rookie season, already allowing a sack and 5 QB hurries. Branden Albert on the other hand is battling the injury bug yet again. The 2013 All-Pro has logged only 74 snaps compared to Jason Fox’s 127. Fox almost has the exact same stats as James except he’s allowed a QB hit to go along with the sack and 5 hurries.

Miami’s guards have actually been even worse than their tackles. Dallas Thomas and Jamil Douglas have combined to allow 3 sacks, 6 hits, and 19 hurries. Amongst the 48 guards league-wide who have received at least 75% of snaps, Douglas ranks 46th and Thomas ranks 48th in the pass blocking rankings on PFF. The only bright spot on the Dolphins’ offensive line is without a doubt Mike Pouncey. Right now, he’s playing like the best center in the league even with how bad the guys around him are playing. Fortunately for the Jets, Pouncey cannot block an entire defensive line.

According to PFF, Tannehill is sacked 10.9% of the time when he’s pressured, so expect coach Bowles to throw a variety of looks at this struggling unit. David Harris and Demario Davis will blitz in certain situations, but they won’t be needed from a pass rushing standpoint very often. Pressure on Tannehill will be predominately through the defensive line and outside linebackers. Quinton Coples and Calvin Pace must draw attention from the Dolphins’ tackles in order to create one-on-one opportunities for Muhammad Wilkerson and Leonard Williams on the weak guards. Gang Green should have no problem coming away with a win if they dominate up front.

Next: 1. Shut down Jarvis Landry

Sep 13, 2015; Landover, MD, USA; Miami Dolphins wide receiver Jarvis Landry (14) runs with the ball as Washington Redskins outside linebacker Martrell Spaight (50) attempts the tackle in the third quarter at FedEx Field. The Dolphins won 17-10. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

1. Shut down Jarvis Landry

Despite the outbreak of wideout Rishard Matthews, the Jets cannot afford to turn their focus away from Jarvis Landry. He’s slowly becoming Tannehill’s favorite guy to throw to, logging 32 targets which is the 10th most in the league amongst receivers. The former second-round pick does most of his damage when he’s in open space with almost half of his 230 yards coming after the catch. When the ball is in his hands, New York has to tackle or else it can result in a big play. We saw Darren Sproles make a few big plays last week due to poor tackling.

What gives the Jets an advantage in stopping Landry is the fact that Miami hasn’t truly figured out how to utilize their weapons on offense just yet. First-round pick DeVante Parker has received just 60 snaps while off-season acquisitions Kenny Stills and Greg Jennings have played less snaps than Matthews. Lamar Miller, who was primed for a breakout year, has carried the ball a mere 30 times through the first three weeks. Given the Jets’ stout run defense, Landry should continue to be heavily relied on by Tannehill and the rest of the Dolphins’ offense.

For Gang Green to execute in stopping Landry, you-know-who needs to be on him the entire game. Thus far, Darrelle Revis has showed no signs of slowing down by allowing only 47.1% of passes thrown his way to be completed, according to PFF. Quarterbacks have a passer rating of 44.2 when throwing into his coverage, so expect the Jets to make the right decision in how to use him on Sunday. Coach Bowles will most likely have Revis jam at the line in a majority of situations which should create possibilities for many coverage sacks. Shutting down Landry will allow the entire defense to flourish and bring the Jets that much closer to a 3-1 start to the season.

Next: Jets: Early impressions on Brandon Marshall

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