Breaking down the game

The Dolphins surprised a lot of people with the way they handled the Denver Broncos at home in last Sunday's season opener, and the feeling again is they'll have a hard time winning their first game on the road. The truth is it's hard to get a good gauge on this team just yet, although we might have a better idea after Sunday.

In the Jets, the Dolphins will be facing a team coming off a playoff appearance but one that really stunk up the joint in its opener.

Because of that, many expect the Jets to bounce back in a big way. But it's not like the Dolphins are just going to let the Jets have their way.

When these teams last met, last Nov. 1 at Giants, the Jets ran for 275 yards against a Dolphins defense that looked overmatched.

But that won't happen again. In fact, we'd be surprised to see Curtis Martin have a big day.

No, the biggest concern from the Dolphins' defensive standpoint might Chad Pennington. He's coming off a tough game against the Chiefs, but also didn't get a lot of help from his line or his receivers.

The receiver the Dolphins really need to watch in this game is Laveranues Coles, who has given them fits in recent years.

The big "X" factor in this spot, though, is the Dolphins pass rush. Miami practically never blitzed against Denver last week, but we'd be surprised if Nick Saban used the same approach again.

On the flip side, we would expect the Dolphins to have a lot tougher time offensively against the Jets than they did against Denver.

The key as we see it will be the ability to keep the pass rush, most notably John Abraham, off of Gus Frerotte.

The Chiefs had tremendous successful running the ball against the Jets, but we don't expect things to be that easy for the Dolphins.

This actually is a game where the Dolphins really could use Ricky Williams. But he's not eligible to play yet, so we're thinking the passing game will have to lead the way again.

Look for Frerotte to try to take a shot downfield or two with Chris Chambers.

The Dolphins would appear to have a big edge in the kicking game, thanks to returner Wes Welker.


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