From The Other Side, Part 3

To get the lowdown on the Dolphins' opponent in their regular season finale, the New York Jets, we checked in with publisher Dan Leberfeld. In Part 3 of this edition of From The Other Side, we get Leberfeld's take on the matchup as well as a prediction.

Q: What's the general mood around the Jets after they've lost three of four to go from perceived Super Bowl contender to a team needing help just to make the playoffs?

Dan Leberfeld: The mood of the fans is terrible. Most of them seem to want the coach to be fired. The mood of the team is always the same — very even-keeled, and their sideline resembles a wake during games. This team is in dire need of a Joey Porter type to fire them up, especially on defense. Now I'm not saying there is a lack of effort, that isn't the issue. It's a lack of fire.

Q: How much will the heat get turned up on Coach Eric Mangini and management if the Jets indeed fail to make the playoffs after all the money they spent?

DL: There will be no heat at all. Jets owner Woody Johnson is committed to Mangini and GM Mike Tannenbaum for the long term. They could lose 77-0 on Sunday, and it won't change a thing.

Q: How much better, if at all, are the Jets compared to the team we saw in the opener at Dolphin Stadium?

DL: The offensive line and running game are much better. The Jets are pounding people on the ground and I expect that to continue on Sunday. This is one the NFL's best offensive lines led by Pro Bowl center Nick Mangold. The passing game is about the same as it was in Week One. The pass rush has taken a step back, as has the pass defense overall. The special teams have been terrific — Jay Feely never misses and Leon Washington is a sensational returner.

Q: What is your prediction for the game, and why?

DL: The Jets will win. I think all the criticism and naysaying will finally get them fired up. They are getting beaten up like a rag doll by the fans and media up here. And also I think they have much more talent than the Dolphins, and I say that with great respect for the Dolphins. Considering their talent level, their record is remarkable. But if New England wins at 1, and Baltimore is blowing out Jacksonville at the half, I think the Jets might lose a little gusto in the second half.

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