A Potentially Scary Game For The Miami Dolphins

Here is another informative piece by Dolphin Shout writer Tony Nicoletti, ENJOY !

The Miami Dolphins head to New York, (actually East Rutherford, New Jersey) for a Monday night game against their arch rivals, the Jets! Don't think for a moment that we are going to waltz in to MetLife Stadium, proclaim our superiority and leave with a victory. Whether it be in New York or in Miami, (with all those New York Jets fans that have transplanted to south Florida to enjoy the warmer climes) this is always a fiercely physical contest. It seems like we bring out the worst and best in each other.

Statistically, there are only 4 teams worse than the Jets at moving the ball. They are dead last at heaving the rock. (With their two QB system of Geo Smith and more recently, Michael Vick). But they do have a top notch running game. (#5 in the NFL). And it seems as though we were exposed last Sunday at Mile High Stadium when it came to stopping the run. Hopefully, the lower altitude will get us back to our stingy ways in that category.

On the surface, this looks like one of those games that we should easily come out on top in. Yet, when these two teams butt heads, facts and figures go out the window. Why is that? Why is it any two teams that play each other twice a year have such heated battles on the field? Because they know each other, all too well. This rivalry has a flamboyant, colorful history. It seems that in recent times, our games have been more about vying for second best in the division behind the Patriots. None the less, this will be no walk in Central Park. Even the point spread reflects a rather timid 6 points to our advantage.

It's amazing how a team with only two wins can have such a consistently dominant defense. (They are ranked #7 while we have slipped to #5 this week). Credit Rex Ryan's defensive genius for putting a team on the field that always plays decently on that side of the ball. They have given up a lot of points this season, though. (303 to our 219) But when you have an offense that has only scored 177 points, (versus our 285) even the best defenses are going to leak a few points. (From exhaustion, if nothing else).

Where the Jets are most vulnerable is in their secondary. They have given up 27 TD's through the air with only 3 INT's. (Miami has 18 TD's to 10 INT's). Gone are the days of Revis Island and his side kick Cromarte guarding the back end. The Jets are not the opportunistic team they use to be with their -12 in turn overs. (The Dolphins sits at a +3 in that category). For the third week in a row we will be playing a stout defensive line that is capable of getting to the QB. (28 sacks to our 31).

There is something different about the Dolphins that the Jets will be experiencing for the first time. An offense guided by Bill Lazor. It was great to see how we were able to keep Tannehill relatively fluid against a fearsome and talented Denver defensive front. And we did it with a make shift, offensive line consisting of second and third string players, too. That is play calling if you ask me. I was also surprised at how effective our running game was against the best run defense in the league. (Until we went away from the run in the second half). This is something else Rex Ryan's boys are going to have to deal with next Monday night.

There will be nothing familiar or predictable about the Dolphin's mode of operation. The only thing old Rex is going to have are 11 weeks worth of film to get an idea of what we are capable of. But just in case he does find some strategy that might prove beneficial to his club, our pre-snap movement will give Tannehill some reads as to what the Jets are doing with their exotic pass rushing schemes. Shuffling players around before the snap forces a defense to tip their hand to an extent.

I have every reason to think we will try to jump out to an early lead to help quiet New York's hostile crowd. We are going to be giving it our all to rebound from our weak defensive showing in Denver. The Jets will be trying to recover from that blow out with the Bills in their rescheduled Monday night game. (Due to Ralph Wilson Stadium being snowed in). We have the extra day of preparation that they don't, as well.

You know Coyle will be emphasizing the fundamentals of shedding blocks and tackling, to overcome the Jets hard charging running attack. Gaining a sizable lead will place the Jets in a position where they will have to shelve the running game in favor of the pass, to make up lost ground and points. Michael Vick can still scramble, (though not as much as he use to) so we will have to watch out for him. Keep in mind that the Jets have allowed 36 sacks on the season. (We have given up 25, ourselves). Wake and company should be able to pad their stat lines a little this week.

The Jets have recently acquired Percy Harvin from the Seattle Seahawks. Aside from him, they don't have too many weapons to worry about so we should be able to keep them in check. Our first priority needs to be stopping the run. Our second concern had better be, not to take this team lightly. Remember our final game, last season? That ought to be motivation enough for us to hand out a first rate curb stomping, in a New York heart beat.

After getting our nemesis the Buffalo Bills off our backs, I don't believe we will succumb to the type of game the Jets seem to play with us. (It's either a close, nip and tuck affair or a high scoring shoot out). It would be nice to see us get an early lead and continue to build on it without there being any concerns about them challenging us.

Another facet of our game that Mr Ryan is going to have a hard time coping with is our improved QB, Ryan Tannehill. He is becoming much more comfortable with Lazor's playbook and not so easy to rattle as he has been in previous seasons. A quick passing game that occasionally features Tannehill's ability to buy time with his legs, (or flat out run for it when he sees the opening) will give the Jet's DC fits. It should neutralize the pass rush, too. We ought to have little difficulty going through the air against their 14th ranked pass defense.

Tannehill has been a much better field general, (game manager) in recent weeks. If we limit mistakes and turn overs, this Dolphins team can leave New York with a much better idea of where they stand in the playoff hunt. We will have the benefit of seeing what the competition has done the day before. It is doubtful Rex Ryan is playing to keep his job anymore, so that should not be a rallying cry for his troops like it was at the end of the 2013 season.

Recently, because of Steven Ross's ties to New York, there was talk that Rex Ryan could be a possible candidate to take over in Miami if we decided to get rid of Philbin. (And Harbaugh was again, unavailable for hire). Oh God, let us win so that does not become a reality.

If I had to predict what the outcome of the game was going to be, I'd say the final score will be 27 to 13 in our favor. That is, if the weather does not play too much a factor. If it's windy and snowing, it will be a low scoring game.

It's a Bird, it's a Plane, it's a Miami Dolphins Touchdown!