The Dolphins travel to New Jersey to take on their hated rivals the New York Jets this Sunday. The Jets, already 0-2, losing to the Bills in Week 1, and then last week, losing to the Raiders, in what was a more competitive game than I ever expected, at least in the 1st half. 2 teams that appear to be going in different directions. The NY Jets seem to be working their way to the top of the draft board, in order to secure the chance to get themselves a franchise QB, while the Dolphins, who were in the playoffs last season at 10-6, look to get back to the playoffs, and build on last season’s success.
It has been a wacky few days for the Miami Dolphins. Starting OLB Lawrence Timmons went missing before the game Sunday, which forced the Dolphins to move rookie OLB Chase Daniels in to the starting lineup. Daniels barely played, seeing only 13 total snaps, as the Dolphins defense was in the nickel most of the game against the Chargers. As of yesterday, the Dolphins have suspended Lawrence Timmons indefinitely, but apparently, the max allowable suspension according to the league is 4 weeks. In the meantime, the Dolphins continue to surge forward, acquiring former 2015 1st RD pick LB Stephone Anthony from the Saints in exchange for a 2018 5th RD draft pick. Anthony did not play either of the first 2 games with New Orleans as he’s dealing with a high ankle sprain that he hasn’t fully recovered from.
The thing that I admire about our front office is that they haven’t panicked, they have a setback, and they address it in a responsible manner. We lost Ryan Tannehill to injury, they quickly formed a plan, and brought in QB Jay Cutler, out of retirement, to be our starting QB. No hesitation, and no going off the deep end. Cutler is under contract for this year, and then they can see what happens, and work it from there. Now we lost our starting LB, and they once again acted quickly, and brought in another player, a player with an awesome physical skillset, but also a player that has struggled with the mental portion of the game, but is still on his rookie contract. Whether Anthony is physically ready to play now, none of us know. How long it will take him to mentally be ready to play for us, again, we don’t know. The point is, we’re not giving up on this season, and I like seeing that.
Alright, let’s get back to this weeks game, against the New York Jets. The Jets still have some impressive pieces on defense even after jettisoning one of their stars, DL Sheldon Richardson. The 3-4 front is still formidable, with DE’s Leonard Williams and Muhammad Wilkerson bookending NT Steve McLendon. Although they cut David Harris, they still have some talent in their LB corps, with Josh Martin, Darron Lee, Demario Davis and Jordan Jenkins. They also have 2 capable corners in Buster Skrine and Morris Claiborne, and of course, the 2 rookie safeties that were both drafted high by the Jets, SS Jamal Adams 1st RD (6th overall, and Marcus Maye, 2nd RD (39th overall). There is definitely some good young talent on this defense, but on the other side of the ball, it is pretty ugly.
Josh McCown is the starting QB at the moment, and while he’s relatively competent, he’s a journeyman QB who has had limited success in the NFL, his best campaign was in 2013 where he took over for an injured Jay Cutler (yeah, THAT Jay Cutler), and posted a 3-2 record with 13 TD’s and only 1 INT. Since then, with TB, CLE , and now the NYJ, he’s thrown 31 TD’s and 27 INT’s, His backfield of Matt Forte and Bilal Powell was pretty good last year, but Forte is now 31, and we know most RB’s tend to really fall off once they reach 30, so I don’t expect all that much trouble from Matt Forte. Bilal Powell is a very good receiver out of the backfield, and has burned us on numerous occasions. Both backs have good hands, but Powell has the speed to beat LB’s around the edge and over the middle. At widout, the Jets have WR Robbie Anderson (Who?) and newly acquired former Seahawks veteran WR Jermaine Kearse. Kearse has quickly become one of McCown’s favorite targets, and rightfully so. Kearse has the only 2 receiving TD’s for the Jets.
It will be interesting to see who defends Devante Parker, is it the 5’9″ Buster Skrine, or the 5’11” Morris Claiborne? Either one will have his hands full with Parker, who has shown that he wants every pass thrown in his vicinity, and will get it! I expect a similar approach to the game as last week, run the ball as much as we can as long as we’re having success, but in the passing game, we might just try to exploit the young safeties and smaller CB’s deep, and take a few more shots than we did last week. I also expect Julius Thomas to get a little more involved in the game this week. I’m thinking we’ll get a good lead, and then cruise in this one.
I’m going MIA 30 – NYJ 13
Go DOLPHINS! Zero in!