A Dolphins win against the Jets could set the tone for the season

The Miami Dolphins rebounded nicely after a rough opening week loss to the Texans.  The Dolphins played an even first half against the Raiders before Reggie Bush and Ryan Tannehill led them to a blowout win in the second half.  The Dolphins season seemed lost after the blowout loss to the Texans, whom many ‘experts’ believe will be a Super Bowl contender.  But, after a big win over the Raiders, are the Dolphins ready to take the next step?  The Dolphins game on Sunday against the Jets could set the tone and could prove that they are ready.

The Texans outclassed the Dolphins and their defense made Ryan Tannehill look like a rookie quarterback.  The Dolphins defense played well, but could only do so much because the Dolphins lost the turnover battle 4-0.  Against the Raiders, the Dolphins defense played well against the run and on third down, allowing just 1 third down conversion.  The Dolphins game plan against the Raiders was to shut down Darren McFadden (which they did) and limit the deep passing game (which they also did).  The Dolphins pass defense is still a concern, as we mentioned yesterday, but I believe that can be fixed.  Do we really think Cameron Wake is going to go all of 2012 without a sack?

If we’re being realistic, the Raiders were made to order for the Dolphins. First, they were on a short week, having played the late game on Monday Night Football in week 1. They then had to fly cross-country to play a 1pm game on the East Coast.  Finally, the Raiders had to deal with the South Florida heat and humidity, which really showed as they wore down in the 2nd half on Sunday.  This is why the Dolphins game against the Jets on Sunday will be a big test.

Like the Dolphins, the Jets have played one good game and one bad one.  The Jets looked great against the Bills in week 1, but their offense looked pathetic last weekend against the Steelers.  Which Dolphins team will show up Sunday?  Which Jets team will show up?  It may be early, but if the Jets beat the Dolphins they’ll improve to 2-0 in the division.  Again, it’s early, but later in the season, tie-breakers for the playoffs start by breaking ties in division, which makes divisional games twice as important as out-of-division games.

The Jets and their new offensive coordinator, Tony ‘fist pumps of fury’ Sparano, will want to run the ball down the Dolphins throats.  The Dolphins tout the NFL’s #4 ranked rush defense, so we can only hope they’ll be up to the task.  Everyone will talk all week about the Jets rushing attack against the Dolphins rush defense.  BUT, I think the game will depend on how the Dolphins defend the pass  and how well the Dolphins protect Ryan Tannehill.

The Jets will come off the bus blitzing the young Dolphins quarterback, so it is up to Joe Philbin and Mike Sherman to prepare Tannehill for the exotic defensive looks he will see.  With all of the blitzing he’ll see, I would expect to see quite a few designed screen passes and dump offs to tight ends and running backs.  The Dolphins MUST find a way to protect Tannehill from making bad decisions and turning the ball over.  If the Dolphins can limit the turnovers and keep the game close, I think they have a very good chance of winning this game and improving to 2-1…(cont’d on page 2)

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