While the Miami Dolphins are 6-6 and all but eliminated from the playoffs, they still have four games left to play spoiler for a couple of other teams with playoff aspirations.
This week is the first of those games, against the division-foe New York Jets. The Dolphins lost to the Jets the last time these two teams met up on Sunday Night Football, back in Week 3. The Jets got the upper hand on the Dolphins, 31-23. But just because the Dolphins are 6-6, and the Jets are 9-3, that does not mean that this game will be any more lop-sided than the previous matchups have been. If anything Sunday’s game will be a hard-fought test for both teams that will show exactly where the Dolphins are at as a franchise. Here is what Miami will have to do to get the job done, and come out with the win.
3. Attack The Blitz:
We all saw last week what happened to the feared Jets defense when a good quarterback countered their blitzes with quick passes. The Patriots, led by Tom Brady shredded the Jets defense with the short timing routes, and for the Dolphins to be successful against the blitz, they will have to do this too. The Dolphins have more, if not better pieces to absolutely demolish the Jets defense. They have one of the best pass-blocking lines in the league, one of the best slot receivers, one of the best X receivers, and one of the best blocking tight ends. So should not that all add up to success this weekend against the Jets? The variable in all of this is whether or not quarterback Chad Henne can muster the accuracy needed to win the game through the air. This whole year Miami has been relying on its quarterbacks to win games through the air, and this one will be no different. The Pats gave the Dolphins all they need in the film-room to observe the weaknesses in the Jets defense, and whether or not the Dolphins can make the correct adjustments throughout the game will remain to be seen. To me, this is the game where we all judge whether or not it is time for offensive coordinator Dan Henning to go or not.
2. Disrupt The Pocket:
No matter what the stats show, or how much improvement Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez has shown, he is still almost the same quarterback to me. If you get a consistent pass-rush on him and force him to make throws on the run, then he will consistenly make mistakes. With the Dolphins possessing both the best pass-rusher and one of the best defensive coordinators in the league, this should not be the Dolphins biggest concern, as I am confident in their ability to get to the quarterback. But what the Dolphins need to worry about is exactly who will step up and get the pressure on the downs that Wake is stuffed at the line, or not on the field? This has been a question all year, and whether it is Koa Misi, Kendall Langford, Randy Starks or Karlos Dansby, someone besides Wake needs to step up to make Sanchez ineffective this game, because Wake cannot get the job done on his own every play. Sanchez needs to be flushed out of the pocket by multiple defenders for him to make mistakes. He may have a couple of comeback wins under his belt thi year, but to me he is still the same old Sanchez under pressure.
1. Henne vs. Sanchez:
This has been the constant debate between the two sides. Which quarterback is better, Sanchez or Henne. So far this year Sanchez has shown that he has what it takes to lead his team right now, while Henne is still in the learning process. While it was Henne who led the Fins to a win last year on Monday Night Football, it was Sanchez who led the Jets to victory this year on primetime. And while this game will not be on under the lights, it will be crucial for the Jets for playoff position. So which quarterback will come out victorious this time? The biggest key to the game this week is whether or not Henne can lead his team to victory. I’m not even going to mention the running game because in the end, Henne is the X-Factor for this game. This is where we will start to see the true colors of Chad Henne and whethe or not he is our starting QB of the future or not.
There is simply no way that I can go against my Fins here, I think that in the end, they can pull out the win, 27-23. Besides the fact that I hate the Jets, I think that Henne knows that his back is almost against the wall here, and a win against the hated Jets buys him more time. It will be yet another great game in the string of close games the past three years. Let’s hope the Dolphins can avoid the sweep to the Jets this year with a win this weekend.