The Jets (3-5) are riding a two game win streak and face a division foe on Sunday, the Miami Dolphins (3-4) who have won two straight games as well. The last time these teams met the Jets came out on top 38-20 at MetLife Stadium. The Dolphins had a bye last week and have played at home for the entire month of October where they are 3-1 this season. This game will be crucial as both teams look to climb up the standings, and prevent the New England Patriots from running away with the division.
Sunday's tilt should be action packed due to the familiarity on both sides. These two teams have had a history of close games and it should be an intense contest this weekend. Here's what to watch for during the game:
WHEN: Sunday, November 6, 2016 1 p.m. EST
WHERE: Hard Rock Stadium Miami Gardens, FLA.
KEYS TO THE GAME:
The weather in the Sunshine State will play a major factor in this game. The temperature will be around 80 degrees which could effect conditioning late in the game. Teams from the northeast aren't used to playing in these conditions especially late in games. When the Pittsburgh Steelers played in Miami two weeks ago, players were seen puking on the field and sidelines due to fatigue. The Dolphins are well rested and the last thing the Jets need is for its defense to be on the field for most of the afternoon. By this point in the season, players should be in shape so I don't expect this to be a huge issue. However, the Jets must start fast and take a lead in the opening stages of the game even though they've trailed early in their past two victories. The more in sync and aggressive the offense is to start, the better the defense will play which has been stout in the last two games. If Ryan Fitzpatrick can start the game hot, the rest of the team will carry the momentum.
Keep Receivers in Front-
Jarvis Landry can take the top off of the defense and he has 11 catches of 20 or more yards this season. Speedster Kenny Stills will also be a vertical threat in the passing game. Calvin Pryor and Darrelle Revis have been inconsistent this season but collectively, the secondary played well last week against the Cleveland Browns. Todd Bowles admitted to making adjustments in the second half of that game and the team was able to capitalize. Tighter man coverage and timely blitzes is the identity the defense wants to take on, but haven't been able to execute this season. Landry can line up from the slot or the outside which makes him a dynamic player. If the Jets can limit the mental errors on the back end of the defense, they'll have plenty of opportunities to make plays. Ryan Tannehill is the type of quarterback that will make a few mistakes over the course of a game and commit turnovers. This won't happen though if the Jets let Miami's receivers run free down the field, because Tannehill will find them with his strong arm.
Jay Ajayi has received bushels of praise all week. His consecutive 200 yard games were impressive and with all the talk of him doing it again Sunday, the Jets should take it personal. With the top run defense in the league, look for the Jets to put eight in the box and bring the "Jay Train," to a screeching halt. Sheldon Richardson, Leonard Williams, and Steve McLendon need to get off blocks and wrap up Ajayi before he reaches the next level of the defense. Miami's offensive line is talented and physical so they won't be intimated one bit. With that being said, it's imperative for the Jets to run the football as well. Every week the Jets want to establish the run and this Sunday won't be any different. The Jets are 3-0 this season when Matt Forte scores a touchdown and 2-0 when he rushes for 100 yards. With Nick Mangold and Brent Qvale both doubtful for the game, the Jets are banged up on the offensive line. Breno Giacomini, Ryan Clady, and Brandon Shell are all questionable with shoulder injuries. With only five healthy lineman, the Jets need a way to protect Fitzpatrick against a good Dolphins front seven. Perhaps Bilal Powell, averaging seven yards per carry on 30 attempts, should get more touches. He played a key role in their win last week.
Dolphins wide out Jakeem Grant took a punt return to the house 74 yards in Week 5. At 5-foot-7, his low center of gravity gives him an advantage when returning punts and kicks, as he is able to hide behind blockers and make plays. Jets punter Lachlan Edwards has struggled in the past few weeks and lots of hangtime on his punts will be key to keeping Grant from scoring. Games between these two teams in the past have been wild. It wouldn't surprise me if a play on special teams decides the game.
X-Factor- Quincy Enunwa
Brandon Marshall will get a ton of attention from the Miami secondary. He will be in a heated battle with cornerback Byron Maxwell all afternoon. Quincy Enunwa has been a beast these last few games scoring momentum shifting touchdowns. Fitz needs to find him early and often if the Jets want to be successful. They are 2-0 when Enunwa finds the end zone and he has the most receptions on the team. Get him the rock!
Prediction: Jets 27-20
This is a must win game for the Jets and as much as players and coaches hate that saying, it applies to this game. The Jets win this one and build on its win streak in a close game. I expect the Jets to have a field day running the ball and the defense should get its hands on a few interceptions. Baring a pathetic effort, Gang Green will have enough in the tank to prevail in this one.
Marcus Reynolds is a staff writer for JetsInsider.com/NYJScout.com. He can be reached on Twitter (@Marcus_JRNL), or via email (firstname.lastname@example.org).