The Miami Dolphins are coming off of a convincing 35-13 win against the Oakland Raiders, but now they must face the New York Jets in an AFC East rivalry that could end up having playoff implications (not as crazy as it sounds).
Miami definitely has momentum on their side. The question is: can they keep it up? Can they keep their momentum going into this week's matchup and pull out a win in what will be a tough divisional game? A win would be huge, because after New York the Dolphins have a very favorable stretch of games on their schedule and another win would really raise their confidence going into that stretch.
Just think about it. A win would (1) Put the Dolphins at first place in the AFC East, (2) Give Miami's players and coaching staff the confidence that they will continue winning, and (3) Give rookie QB Ryan Tannehill even more confidence in himself and his abilities (which is the most crucial of all).
So, will Miami be able to keep their momentum going and get a win against the New York Jets? I think yes, and here are two reasons why:
1.) The Jets Won't Be Able to Run
A huge reason will be the Miami Dolphins ability to stop the Jets offense. Miami has been the best run-stopping defense so far this year, allowing only 2.2 yards per carry against the Texans and Raiders with top-tier running backs Arian Foster and Darren McFadden.
The Jets don't have anyone nearly as explosive as Foster or McFadden. The Dolphins defense shouldn't have any problem containing New York's rushing attack, and that goes for Tim Tebow, too. I suspect that the Jets are planning on rolling out more plays for Tebow, who they haven't really used much so far this season. It won't work, though, and I am expecting New York to become one-dimensional and only throw the ball.
The Raiders were able to throw pretty well against the Dolphins secondary, but I seriously doubt that the Jets will be able to do the same thing. Oakland has a bunch of speedy receivers that can be a nightmare to cover. The Jets have good receivers, but they're not anywhere near as fast as the Raiders receivers.
2.) Reggie Bush
Reggie has been great for the Dolphins. He is without a doubt Miami's best playmaker. The Jets do have a good defense, but that doesn't mean Reggie still won't do really well. In New York's season opener Buffalo Bills RB CJ Spiller ran for 169 yards and a touchdown on only 14 attempts. While I think that Spiller is a tad better (they are very close) I think that Bush will definitely get over 100 rushing yards.
Bush's ability to run the ball successfully will help open up the defense for Ryan Tannehill. As I said above Tannehill's confidence is crucial, and Bush playing well will allow Tannehill to play well and build his confidence even more.
As you can probably tell I think that the running game will be a big factor for both teams this week. Neither team has a really explosive passing offense, which means they will have to lean on their running games. That's where the Dolphins have an advantage, and I expect them to exploit that advantage as much as possible.
And don't forget this is ex-Miami Dolphins Head Coach Tony Sparano's first game against the Dolphins since they fired him last year. Sparano is currently the Jets offensive coordinator, and you can expect him to use his knowledge of the Dolphins he coached last year to New York's advantage. No worries, though. I doubt Sparano's knowledge will have much of an impact on this game.
So let's kick these Jets square in the behind and let them know who the better team in the AFC East is.
Thanks for stopping by. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I'm on twitter @PaulDSmythe.