The Miami Dolphins welcome their hated AFC East rival to Sun Life Stadium on Sunday. The Dolphins are coming off of an impressive win against the Raiders last week and hope to continue to build on that good play. The Dolphins showed improvement on both offense and defense from week 1 to week 2. To beat the Jets this week, they’ll need to play turnover free football and run the ball as effectively as they did against the Raiders. Here is a look at what the Dolphins must to on Sunday to improve to 2-1:
Run Reggie Run
Last week, the Dolphins rushed for 263 yards and averaged 6.1 yards per carry. The Dolphins got a superb effort from Reggie Bush, who rushed for 172 yards and 2 TDs. To beat the Jets, the Dolphins will need to run the ball just as effectively as they did against the Raiders. Entering this game, the Dolphins have the #2 rushing offense in the entire NFL. The Jets rush defense is vulnerable, as it ranks #21 in the NFL, allowing 130.5 yards per game and 4.8 yards per carry. The Jets know their rush defense has struggled, so I expect them to play 8 men in the box, leaving Antonio Cromartie and Darrelle Revis in man coverage on the Dolphins receivers.
The Jets will want to shut down the Dolphins running game at all costs and force the Dolphins into obvious passing situations. If the Jets get the Dolphins in those 3rd and long situations, they’ll unleash their exotic blitz packages to confuse Ryan Tannehill. To counter the 8 in the box looks, the Dolphins could look to use multiple wide receiver sets to spread out the Jets defense and allow Reggie Bush to into space. It will be interesting to watch the chess match between Joe Philbin’s offense and Rex Ryan’s defense.
Stout Defense Against the Run
The Dolphins rush defense ranks #4 in the NFL in rushing yards allowed per game (53 yards) and are allowing opposing ball carriers just 2.2 yards per carry. What’s more impressive is that the Dolphins have faced Arian Foster and Darren McFadden in the first 2 weeks of the season. The Dolphins key on defense this week is to shut down the Jets running attack which will likely include Tim Tebow for a handful of plays. Shonn Greene doesn’t scare an opposing defense as much as the first 2 RBs the Dolphins faced, but the Jets and Tony Sparano will be committed to playing ‘ground and pound’ football.
If the Dolphins can shut down the Jets rush offense, it will force Mark Sanchez to beat them. Sanchez looked good in week 1 against a porous Bill’s pass defense, but struggled most of last week’s game against the Steelers. Sanchez was woefully inaccurate against the Steelers and regularly missed his receivers. The Dolphins must shut down the Jets on 1st and 2nd down to force the Jets into 3rd and long opportunities. Last week the Dolphins did this to perfection and stopped the Raiders 11 of 12 times on 3rd down.
The Jets could look to spread the Dolphins out to take advantage of the Dolphins weakness in covering tight ends. We just learned that Dustin Keller, the Jets starting tight end, will not play on Sunday. This is great news for the Dolphins, since they’ve allowed tight ends to catch the ball against them, seemingly at will for the last few seasons. Tony Sparano knows that it’ll be tough to run on the Dolphins, so he might try to outsmart everyone and have Sanchez in the shotgun early on with multiple receiver sets. (cont’d on page 2, click below)