When the 08 schedule came out and opening week saw the Jets flying to Miami in week one to play the Dolphins, not many thought anything of it. What can change in four months. Now on Sunday at Dolphin Stadium, the matchup between the Fins and Jets have about as many interesting storylines as any in the league, mostly surrounding two QB’s that have changed zip codes.
The Brett Favre era in New York starts. Named an offensive captain earlier in the week, Favre runs the show for an offense that looks like its reloaded with an O-line that spent a lot of money upgrading in the offseason, and skill players looking to rebound off poor 2007 outings. That O-line has to protect Favre, and open holes for RB Thomas Jones and then the play-action that makes Favre successful will work.
While the Jets were 4-12 a season ago, they did score 31 and 40 points in their two outings against them last season, meaning it was one team their offense found success against. Now though Miami has a new coach and a new look, and the defense will look to pressure Favre and hold Jones in check. Channing Crowder at middle linebacker and nose tackle Jason Ferguson are two players who key the defense, and they need big games to stop Favre and the Jets offense.
On offense for Miami, Chad Pennington brings in a veteran influence under center, and with it should provide the offense with a spark of its own. Miami has a lot of young players on both sides of the ball, but on offense they have to learn how to win, and with it Pennington is the key to teaching them that. He’ll need youngsters on the line Jake Long and Donald Thomas, both rookies, to step up and protect him.
They will attack the Jets defense with the running game, led by the reborn again Ricky Williams, who rushed for 123 yards on 23 carries this preseason. He takes over the #1 spot from Ronnie Brown, and should get plenty of chances to prove himself again. Look for second-year WR Ted Ginn Jr. to also get chances to make plays in the open field. He’s another key to an offense that needs early success to hang with New York.
The Jets have won four in a row and seven of eight vs the Dolphins, and while Miami is going to be better this season, Favre and co. will come out Miami with a week one win.