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Week 7: Dolphins-Jets Rematch, Looking For Redemption

Dolphins-Jets Rematch Jets Insider via Flickr


Dolphins-Jets Rematch, Looking For Redemption

The performance of the Miami Dolphins that took the field on Sunday in Atlanta was head and shoulders above that of the Miami Dolphins that played the Jets in Week 3. The Jets smashed the Dolphins inside and out. Scheming, play calling, and overall talent had nothing to do with it. New York outplayed Miami from start to finish in a 20-6 win. However, this team has a new sense of confidence, and are aching for a shot at revenge. Week 7 brings a Dolphins-Jets rematch and Miami will be looking for redemption.

If Miami wants to improve to 4-2 and 1-1 in the AFC East, they will need to execute, run the ball, and keep flying around on defense.

Execute, Execute, Execute

After last week’s win over the Falcons, we got an idea of how good this squad can be. Facing a 17-0 deficit on the road, they rallied and executed all three phases to perfection, leading to a win. On the other hand, they also didn’t execute and showed their weaknesses in the first half. In a Dolphins-Jets rematch, they will look to play harder and faster than last week.

On paper, Miami is a much better team than the Jets. In both the trenches and skill positions, talent and experience favor Miami. In Week 3, the Jets defensive line outright won the battle in the trenches. Cutler did not have time to throw, and Jay Ajayi was running scared for his life. However, Adam Gase abandoned the run in the third quarter which is a recipe for disaster. The offense may have had an off day, but when you abandon the run, you lose.

Miami needs to use more zone schemes; such as the zone left and zone right that Adam Gase is so famous for. The power, head-to-head blocking is not the strength of this team. Miami is an execution offense, and the play calling cannot be brute force rushes like they were in Week 3. Finesse is not the right word because Jay Ajayi will bruise you all day long. Give Jay Cutler easy, quick reads and avoid standing in the pocket. Run the ball early, and make Cutler manage the game. While this may sound like a broken record, it is the only thing that has worked thus far.

Defense Needs Takeaways

While the Jets offense is not exactly explosive, they did take an early 14-point lead against New England last week. Tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins is a red zone threat any time he is on the field, and Reshad Jones should be spying him most of the game. The key to this game will come down to the defense taking the ball away. A last-minute interception saved the Dolphins from what seemed to be a Matt Ryan game-winning (or tying) drive. With only one pick all year, the defense needs to mix things up. Defensive Coordinator Matt Burke thinks his defense is buying into his process.

 “I think the guys have bought into the big picture of what we’re trying to do and being physical and being relentless and attention to detail and all of the stuff we’re doing. For me personally, I try to make a point on all of those things of why we’re doing what we’re doing and every play is important; every play matters and every technique matters.” – Matt Burke

Even so, Miami needs to fix their explosive plays given up, and create some explosive plays of their own. They rank 21st in passing yards per game, and most of those are chunks. Subtract two 40-yard plays last week and Miami probably never falls behind 17-0. Part of being explosive is creating turnovers, and getting off the field on third-down. The Dolphins currently rank fifth in opponent third-down conversions. They need to continue that trend. Miami only has four takeaways all season, good for 20th in the league. This Dolphins-Jets rematch is a critical divisional matchup. Divisional games usually come down to special teams and turnovers. If the defense cannot create some chaos to help the offense, this will be a long game.

Bottom Line

The bottom line in this game is that this is a must-win for Miami. Getting swept by the Jets and becoming 0-2 in divisional play will put a knife in their confidence. With a tough schedule ahead, Miami needs to show they can handle the teams they are supposed to beat. If Jay Ajayi can get going early, play action will open up, and Jay Cutler will have an easier day. If that does not happen, third-and-long and punts are inevitable. Put pressure on Josh McCown, force him to beat you with his arm. With a little help from the defense, Miami should win their first divisional home game.

Prediction: Dolphins 28, Jets 17