Dolphins vs Jets: 3 keys to victory for New York


In today’s Dolphins vs Jets game, here are 3 keys to ensure victory for New York.

Oct 4, 2015; London, ENG; Miami Dolphins wide receiver Jarvis Landry (14) drives through New York Jets free safety Marcus Gilchrist (21) and New York Jets defensive back Buster Skrine (41) during the second half at Wembley Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Steve Flynn-USA TODAY Sports

Today, the 5-5 NY Jets will host the 4-6 Miami Dolphins in a game that holds plenty of importance in terms of the AFC playoff picture. The loser of this matchup will be all but mathematically knocked out of the playoffs due to how competitive the wildcard race has become. The Chiefs, Texans, Bills and Raiders are still hanging around. Assuming the Steelers are locked in as the 5th seed, all of these teams are fighting for just one spot. With that being said, this is a must-win game for both teams.

Gang Green began the year 4-1, but they’ve fallen apart ever since. Even their win over the Jaguars wasn’t pretty. Last week against the Texans, things were no different. New York was stuffed on nearly every possession by the Texans’ defense while DeAndre Hopkins gashed their secondary from start to finish. In the second quarter, Jets legend Darrelle Revis was burned by Hopkins for a 61-yard touchdown that gave Houston momentum for the remainder of the game. Chris Ivory also put up a dud, rushing for 36 yards on a mere eight carries.

Miami has struggled as of late as well. The defense’s absence of All-Pro edge rusher Cameron Wake has become very apparent. Outside of Wake’s seven sacks before his season-ending injury, the Dolphins have just 15 on the year. Their offense has developed a decent run game under interim head coach Dan Campbell, but Ryan Tannehill has looked no different than he has in previous seasons. Right now, it seems as if he isn’t worth that four-year $77 million contract the Dolphins issued him this off-season.

Looking at this matchup on paper, it seems to be another coin flip for the Jets. However, the Dolphins do have a slight advantage because of how well they play in the Meadowlands. Since 2007, New York has won once at home against Miami (2011). It will take a lot of extra effort, but the Jets have a good shot to turn this season around and get themselves back in the playoff picture.

Here are three keys to victory for Gang Green.

Next: 3. Get the offensive line back on track

Oct 4, 2015; London, United Kingdom; Miami Dolphins defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh (93) tries to get past New York Jets right guard Brian Winters (67) and right tackle Breno Giacomini (68) in Game 12 of the NFL International Series at Wembley Stadium. The Jets defeated the Dolphins 27-14. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

3. Get the offensive line back on track

In last week’s game against Houston, the Jets’ offensive line played very poorly. Nick Mangold left the game early with lacerations on his hand and everyone else struggled as a result. When you lose your center, it causes the rest of the line to play bad. The chemistry is lost and there are plenty of missed assignments. With Willie Colon out for the season and James Carpenter as the only lineman that has played consistently, the Jets need Mangold in the lineup to block well.

Tackle Breno Giacomini was the main culprit in last week’s offensive line trouble. Standout defensive end J.J. Watt finished the game with two sacks and eight tackles as he absolutely abused the right side of the New York line. Right guard Brian Winters struggled a bit as well due to the fact that he was assigned to help Giacomini on a decent amount of snaps. When there wasn’t a tight end in the game to help, Winters’ job is to slide over and prevent Watt from collapsing the pocket. With that being said, his job was not done often last Sunday.

For New York to be able to execute in today’s action, Winters needs to play like he did in Week 4. In London, he shut down the freight train that is Ndamukong Suh and held him without a sack. The highest paid defensive player in NFL history was held to only three tackles and the Jets’ offense was able to move the ball handily as a result. Now, without Wake providing additional pressure in both run defense and pass rush, Winters and the rest of the line can zone in on stopping Suh once again.

Next: 2. Feed Chris Ivory

Nov 22, 2015; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Texans inside linebacker Brian Cushing (56) makes the tackle on New York Jets running back Chris Ivory (33) during the second half of a game at NRG Stadium. Houston won 24-17. Mandatory Credit: Ray Carlin-USA TODAY Sports

2. Feed Chris Ivory

The Jets have found most of their success on the offensive side of the ball through feeding Chris Ivory. When the Tiffin product touches the ball 20+ times, Gang Green has come away with a victory. In New York’s five wins, Ivory has carried the ball 106 times for 486 yards and 6 touchdowns. He’s on pace to rush for over 1,000 yards for the first time in his career and be the first Jets running back to do so since Shonn Greene. Sometimes, it’s hard to tell why offensive coordinator Chan Gailey turns away from the run so often.

As of late, Bilal Powell, Stevan Ridley and Zac Stacy when he was healthy have all cut into Ivory’s touches. The Jets had no other choice but to use Ridley a tad against the Bills simply because Stacy got hurt and Powell was inactive. Although, running him against the Texans made close to no sense. Ridley is very comparable to Ivory as a between the tackles runner while Powell plays a huge factor in the pass game as a scat back. New York does need to use Powell often, but why use Ridley over Ivory?

In Week 4 against the Dolphins, Ivory rushed for a career-high 166 yards on 29 carries to go along with a touchdown. Miami runs a 4-3 defense so their defensive linemen (with the exception of Suh) aren’t particularly strong, therefore the Jets need to win the battle in the trenches in order to pave the way for him. Given the fact that defensive linemen in a 4-3 front are centered around rushing the passer, this could be Ivory’s week to bounce back and start playing the type of football he played early on in the year.

Next: 1. Pressure Ryan Tannehill

Oct 4, 2015; London, ENG; Miami Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill (17) throws a pass during the first half of the game against the New York Jets at Wembley Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Steve Flynn-USA TODAY Sports

1. Pressure Ryan Tannehill

The biggest key in beating the Dolphins is pressuring Tannehill. In Week 4, Gang Green pummeled him all game and held them to just 14 points on the day. Muhammad Wilkerson, Damon Harrison and Leonard Williams did their job up front and allowed the linebackers as well as Buster Skrine to blitz play after play. For a majority of the blitzes, Skrine, David Harris and Demario Davis actually came in untouched and took free shots on Tannehill.

Through 10 weeks, Miami sits near the top of the league with 30 sacks allowed while the Jets have only allowed 13. With how bad the Jets’ pass rush has been lately, it’d still be no guarantee that they can effectively put pressure on Tannehill. However, head coach Todd Bowles believes that the departure of Quinton Coples can create a lot of opportunities for the outside linebackers and defensive ends who were on the bench when Coples was on the field failing to produce.

Next: Injury status report for Dolphins vs Jets

With that being said, expect guys like Lorenzo Mauldin and even Calvin Pace to have a big outing. Sheldon Richardson will also be back in the lineup today after missing last week’s game with a bad hammy. New York’s d-line isn’t the type of line with speed and quickness to get after the quarterback, but look for Richardson and the others to provide pressure like they did in Week 4. Coples was very ineffective and in the end, he could be the reason why Gang Green’s pass rush hit a wall these past few weeks.