Will This Be a Repeat of Last Season's Final Show Down Versus the Jets?

A Dolphins Versus Jets Pre-Game Piece via Tony Nicoletti.

Here we go again. The Miami Dolphins have one last chance to close out at home with a win to finish the season at 9 and 7. This time against our bitter rivals, the New York Jets. Unlike the final game of the 2013 season where they denied us a chance to make the playoffs, this time the stage is set completely different. We won't be playing in January. The only stakes riding on this contest are pride and bragging rights to a season sweep.

The Dolphins were 7 point favorites in their week 13 trip to New Jersey. Strangely enough, the current odds makers have them at -5.5 in Miami. Not much has changed in the last four weeks except that the Dolphin defense has slipped from 5th overall to 8th
while the Jets have moved up from 7th to 6th in the league.

The Jets gave the New England Patriots a tough battle last week at MetLife Stadium but lost in the end by a score of 17 to 16. They still have a top five defense against the run, (though we seemed to have had good results on the ground in our earlier meeting). Offensively, New York has the 3rd best running attack in the league yet remain the worst team in the NFL at passing the ball.

Defensively, Miami has made some marginal improvements versus the run in the last couple of weeks. They didn't get gashed for 200+ yards by New England or Minnesota. I hope it doesn't take DC Kevin Coyle two full quarters to stack the box if New York tries their ground and pound philosophy again. As before, forcing Geno Smith, (or Michael Vick) to pass is going to be the best recipe Miami has to win this test of wills. In the end, it proved to be the Jets undoing a month ago, as the Dolphins won, and remain 4th in pass defense to this day.

Ryan Tannehill should finish this game on a high note. He had his best game of the season against a decent Minnesota Vikings defense who was ranked considerably higher against the pass, (6th as opposed to the Jets 15th position) entering the game. If the Dolphins can score 36 points they will reach 400 points for the season. (An average of 25 points per game). Tannehill only needs 214 yards to reach a first of 4,000 passing yards, and if Lamar Miller gets 82 more rushing yards he will have his first 1,000 yard season also. I feel these last two milestones are attainable in this game, and here is why.

The mystery is over in Miami. For better or worse, Philbin will be back in 2015. It appears a majority of the players are happy with this oddly timed, Christmas announcement by Steven Ross. I think there will be a show of solidarity by this team. They will want to play their hearts out, now that they know Joe Philbin will be at the helm another year. They have to be relieved that they won't be auditioning for a chance to play for someone else, or somewhere else next season, if at all. The worry that there will be sweeping changes to this staff and roster, no longer exists. I believe having the weight alleviated from their shoulders will give them that extra incentive to win this one.

Remember? How the players came together during that emotional week Joe Philbin had to take a couple of days off to go see his ailing father, (whom unfortunately, passed away shortly after that visit). The Dolphins went out and literally destroyed the San Diego Chargers that Sunday in Miami and gave Joe Philbin the game ball with their condolences.

This is a jubilant Miami Dolphins football team, right now. A franchise that knows they have been given a reprieve of sorts. If the Jets have any ideas about beating the Dolphins like they did in last seasons finale while ruining the home teams high? They may have picked the wrong time to come to South Florida, and New York won't have Jet Lag to blame when they are leaving Miami with a loss.

Go Dolphins!