Divisional rival game. Throw out the team records, throw out the last meeting between these two teams and also, throw away all the momentum of the 5 game winning streak. All that is in the past. What remains in front of the Miami Dolphins is a team that knows them backwards and forwards, there are no surprises, no secrets. Unfortunately for the Miami Dolphins, the one thing that the win streak afforded them was consistency. That went out the window when the entire Dolphins RB room tested positive for COVID. More unfortunately, it wasn’t just the RB room. We have potentially lost our star WR Jaylen Waddle as well as our star S Jevon Holland. Both of these players are huge part of what we do on offense and defense respectively. The pass game went through Waddle and the versatility and effectiveness of Jevon Holland doing everything from blitzing, to coverage, to playing near the LOS as a LB has been so valuable to the Dolphins. There is potentially good news as S Brandon Jones is questionable to return from ankle and elbow injuries Sunday. He’s logged 2 limited practices so it’s possible he can suit up. Jones isn’t Holland, but if I had to pick one of our safeties to replace Holland, it would be Jones.
Back to the consistency thing. We need Deiter in there at C and we need him to play well. We’ve had 3 different centers this season though I believe we’ve seen the last of C Austin Reiter who was waived this week. Greg Mancz who we picked up from the Ravens is IR/DFR which means he’s off the IR and designated for return. He’ll likely be the backup this week to Deiter who is wearing a precautionary walking boot. I’m really hoping Myles Gaskin can play. We know his limitations, as do the Jets, but he gives the offense some consistency which is much needed this week. If Waddle is OUT, and it sure looks that’ll be the case, DeVante Parker who is being rested this week and not practicing will hopefully be wearing his Superman costume under his uniform. The WR corps will be Parker, Wilson, Hollins, Ford and Williams. I would imagine TE Mike Gesicki would be in line for a heavy dose of targets this week although it’s difficult to say that with certainty since his targets have been anything but consistent.
Our defense will have to set the tone, and they have been doing that during the duration of this five game win streak. There won’t be the statue-like Joe Flacco at QB this week, it will be the much more mobile, much less experienced rookie QB Zach Wilson. To be fair, Flacco carved up our defense pretty well but ultimately it was his lack of escapability that did him in. Zach Wilson can move, but pressure will cause errors in judgement and poor throws. We need Emmanuel Ogbah, Jaelan Phillips, Andrew Van Ginkel to keep up their relentless pass rush. All of these guys have been killing it the last few games. If S Jevon Holland is OUT, hopefully Brandon Jones can step in and get the job done.
The Jets will likely get a boost for their run game as rookie RB Michael Carter will be coming off IR this week. Carter has played well this season and has been a definite bright spot in their offense. Bad news for the Jets is WR Elijah Moore is on IR and will not be able to play Sunday. He’s been the bright spot in their passing game which now features Denzel Mims who is desperately trying, along with the Jets to get going. The Jets will rely a lot on Jamison Crowder, Keelan Cole and Braxton Berrios. Tevin Coleman and Ty Johnson have been splitting RB duties but if Michael Carter is able to play, he’s the one to watch out for.
I don’t care what this game looks like on paper. Yes, the Jets are 32nd in points allowed with 397 (30.5 PPG). They are 29th in points scored with 226 (17.4 PPG). The Dolphins have made significant gains in both categories during the 5 game win streak. The Dolphins are now 25th in points scored with 254 (19.5 PPG) and really moved up defensively to 13th with 288 (22.2 PPG). When 2 teams know each other so well, anything can happen, especially after having the win streak snapped by the interruption of the BYE week. What could have been a week to improve our roster by getting healthy has turned out be a disaster with COVID infecting too many important players. It will take a lot for Brian Flores and his staff to stay focused and find a way to overcome the obstacles that have presented themselves this week. Hopefully Flores has this team’s attention and they understand the importance of winning E-V-E-R-Y * S-I-N-G-L-E * G-A-M-E. There are no week’s off, this team must win the rest of their games or the season is done. Jets Head Coach Robert Saleh would love nothing more to end this streak and have the Dolphins join them as another team from the AFC East OUT of the playoffs. This game could be a nail biter, so fasten your seatbelts!!
PS – Some good news most recently from the Stanger camp. Jon has improved since my last update. Things are looking up so all of you BLOG Cardiac Surgeons can rest easy and don’t worry yourselves about transplants and the like. Hopes and prayers to Jon that he continues to improve and get out of the hospital able to resume a normal life.