BGA Preview: Jets at Dolphins

During the season, BGA charts games for some of the Jets’ upcoming opponents, enabling a break down of what to watch out for on gameday…

History tells us that today’s game will be a tight one. The last time the Jets and Dolphins didn’t have at least one of their meetings end up in a one possession game was 1993. The teams met just three weeks ago, with the Dolphins pulling out a 23-3 win as the Jets laid an egg at home. However, both have gone 2-1 since then. Miami was somewhat fortunate to hold on against the Steelers and Patriots, but then were shut out in Buffalo and now need a win to make the postseason (unless the Chargers lose and the Ravens win, in which case they still miss out). A loss eliminates them completely, giving the Jets an opportunity to avenge the last game of the year in 2008 and 2011.

The outcome will also impact upon the Jets’ draft position and their opponents during the 2014 season.

You can refer to my preview from three weeks ago for more detailed breakdowns, but this preview will focus on what’s changed since then.

After the jump, I break down the positional groupings (BGA-style!) to try and highlight what the Jets need to look out for.

Quarterbacks

Ryan Tannehill picked a really bad week to have one of the worst games of his NFL career last week in Buffalo. He ended up just 10-of-27 for 82 yards, easily the worst output of his career in terms of both completion percentage and yardage.

Tannehill was sacked seven times and completed just one of 10 passes thrown more than 10 yards beyond the line of scrimmage.

Prior to that, he had been over 300 yards in three of the previous four games, throwing nine touchdowns and just three interceptions over that span. He’d also led them to five wins in seven games, including the win over the Jets where he passed for a season high 331 yards and two touchdowns.

Offensive Line

The offensive line has continued to struggle, with left tackle Bryant McKinnie claiming that the Bills must have known their snap counts in last week’s game, but Dolphins coaches suggesting they did what they could to vary things up.

McKinnie, who is leaving at the end of the season, has been struggling over the past few weeks, but center Mike Pouncey and right tackle Tyson Clabo have been playing some of their best football all season.

At guard, the Dolphins still have an unsettled situation. John Jerry is reliable enough at right guard, but the left guard position seems to change hands every week. Sam Brenner got the start against the Bills, but was benched for former Jet Nate Garner, who looks set to start on Sunday.

Running Backs

Lamar Miller and Daniel Thomas couldn’t get anything going against the Bills, combining for just 14 yards on 12 carries. Miller has averaged just 2.8 yards per carry since he rushed for 105 yards in week nine and Thomas has been inconsistent too, averaging less than three yards per carry six times in 14 games. He did rush for 105 yards and a touchdown against the Steelers two weeks ago.

Thomas missed the Jets game three weeks ago and is listed as questionable today. He was held to 42 yards on 15 carries against the Jets last year. The speedy Marcus Thigpen should get some reps if Thomas can’t go.

Receivers

The Dolphins could end up the season with two 1,000 yard receivers as Brian Hartline needs just 22 yards and Mike Wallace needs 95. It would be the second consecutive 1,000 yard season for Hartline and the third of Wallace’s career. Miami will have expected more for their money though and the fact they only have four touchdowns each is disappointing.

Their third receiver, Rishard Matthews, stepped into the possession receiver role nicely after Brandon Gibson was lost for the year and has 37 catches but no drops.

The Dolphins had been hoping that Dustin Keller would have a productive year for them at the tight end position, but Charles Clay has filled in nicely since Keller’s horrific knee injury in August. Clay has 65 catches, which matches Keller’s career best, and six touchdowns, which is better than Keller has ever managed in a season. He’s currently just 99 yards behind Keller’s best ever yardage total too and did have a 100-yard game this year, albeit back in week two against the Colts.

Marlon Moore, Dion Sims and Michael Egnew should all get snaps in a backup role.

Defensive Line

Olivier Vernon leads the Dolphins with 11.5 sacks, but that’s largely a product of playing opposite Cameron Wake. Wake’s sack numbers might be down (“only” 8.5) but he’s 5th in the entire NFL with 18 quarterback hits and averages four pressures a game to Vernon’s three. Austin Howard will be matched up with Wake, while D’Brickashaw Ferguson blocks Vernon who was credited with two sacks three weeks ago.

They are strong on the inside too, with a solid three man rotation. Former first rounder Jared Odrick backs up veterans Randy Starks and Paul Soliai but has struggled over the last few weeks.

Rookie Dion Jordan has two sacks on the year and has shown flashes, but has been disappointing on the whole. Derrick Shelby will also get reps as a backup defensive end.

Linebackers

Despite the strength of their defensive line, the Dolphins have the 8th-worst run defense in the NFL statistically. One major reason for that is missed tackles by their linebackers. Philip Wheeler and Dannell Ellerbe, who typically play every snap, have combined to miss 31 between them. However, over the last four games, Wheeler has only missed one. Ellerbe has been grading out as one of the worst linebackers in the league over the second half of the year.

Koa Misi is not an every down player but is consistent and versatile.

Defensive Backs

With Dimitri Patterson now on injured reserve, Nolan Carroll is back in the starting lineup opposite Brent Grimes. Grimes is the undoubted number one, but Carroll is no slouch. He intercepted a pass last week, but did also give up a 57-yard catch.

At strong safety, Reshad Jones was struggling, but has played well over the last month. The deep safety is Chris Clemons who has played well this season but did miss three tackles last week.

In nickel packages, Jimmy Wilson comes in to play the slot.

Special Teams

The Dolphins have an excellent punter in Brandon Fields, although he’s dropped back behind Raiders rookie Marquette King in terms of gross average. Placekicker Caleb Sturgis is tied for the league lead with eight missed field goals, although four were from beyond 50 yards.

In coverage, backup linebacker Jonathan Freeny has overtaken backup safety Don Jones in terms of special teams tackles. Thigpen is a dangerous return man who fields kickoffs and punts and Jets fans will remember that Jason Trusnik is a solid special teamer. Their long-snapper, John Denney, is a multiple time Pro Bowler too.

>>>

Remember, this week’s BGA is a LIVE BGA, so I’ll be breaking down the game as it happens instead of on Monday.

Stats from PFF were used in the completion of this article.




22 comments
McGeorge
McGeorge

Knock the Fins out of the playoff!


Given Milliners recent improvement, if Winters doesn't suck, and the Dline can harass  Tannehill the Jets have a chance.

Lew Blaustein
Lew Blaustein

Great analysis as usual, sir.  One correction:  Only way Miami doesn't get in if they win is if Ravens win and Chargers lose, not the other way 'round.  Hopefully the point is moot and that the Jets win.  BTW Mia could still get in if they lose but very unlikely.  Pit, SD and Bal all need to lose.

bob
bob

How come the defense laid down in NY against the Dolphins are they running out of gas. Down the stretch ..Will the offense give Geno a little time. Will Geno recognize the  blitz and throw to the void spot and will a receiver be there..



Will you open up a new bag of potato chips and give me some. Who's gonna pull on my finger during the game.. 

davem
davem

Bent, how long is the TJB staff going to let Joey make a mockery of this site? He's doing this intentionally. It's obvious. He's trying to ruin the comment section. This is a guy who repeatedly changes names, post links to other sites, and has openly encouraged people to leave the site and go to other blogs. That didn't work, as no one respects his opinion, so now he hijacks every thread with pointless comments to try to ruin the experience for others.

What is the process in which a commenter can bring this issue up to the powers that be at TJB or SNY?

UncleJoesJetFarm
UncleJoesJetFarm

Nice article Bent as usual. I think the biggest factors in our favor as you point out, is our front d vs their weak oline and our surging running game vs their lbers who are struggling making tackles. As long as we play fierce, we have a very good shot. Come on rain!

Lloyd Jay Reife
Lloyd Jay Reife

The skies are cloudy.  If rain appears, so would a running game.  

Advantage Jets.  

Problem is....I would be interested to see this game add  to  Geno's resume and  see if an  upward trend continues, and possibly the annual quarterback hunt could cease and we could load him with offensive talent.   Wouldn't be bad for his off-season morale either.

And  ours.



levi
levi

If their LBs have been missing a lot of tackles I can see that continuing today with Ivory. You know hw dont go down easy.

1969JAN12th
1969JAN12th

@McGeorge If I recall from the last time we played the Phins, Cro played so far off the WR that Tannehill had some easy pitch and catches for first downs. In addition when we play so far off the receivers, our D-line can't get to Tannehill because he has already thrown the ball. I know that Cro & Dee are worried about getting beat deep, but ya gotta play physical with the WRs if you want to give BossHogg, Mo, Douz., Q, and Snacks, et. al. a chance to reek havoc. 

UncleJoesJetFarm
UncleJoesJetFarm

@Lew Blaustein 


Would be rare, but you are right, because the four way tie, the Ravens would be knocked out by either the chargers or berg, and the phins would beat out those two.

UncleJoesJetFarm
UncleJoesJetFarm

@bob 

Bob, they will get their last wind this game. I have no doubt that they will come out fired up. They will pound the ball relentless which will help Geno big time. I feel good about this game. 

Brendan
Brendan

@davem It shouldn't be too much longer. He's already on his third name change in a month, already ignoring Bent when he presents factual evidence on why he's completely, 100%, indisputably incorrect and he's already doing the repetitive "HEY LOOK AT THESE OTHER SITES' ARTICLES!" posts. 

MikeFrancesser
MikeFrancesser

@davem It's not easy, but the best thing to do for now is just not engage him.

levi
levi

@davem Be patient, whatever he is on will catch up to him soon.

Joe De Sr.
Joe De Sr.

A win ? Geno must be benched ! Great!

davem
davem

My biggest point of contention, is that even though I don't comment elsewhere I do occasionally surf the comment sections on other sites, and Joey's posts aren't like they are here. He doesn't troll like he does here. He makes legitimate posts and engages in normal conversation. Then he comes on TJB and acts like this...it's obvious that he holds a grudge against this site, the staff, and commenters, and is simply trying to ruin the experience for others. IMO, that's where the line should be drawn. If I for one minute thought Joey was mentally challenged, I wouldn't say a word, but I have seen him post elsewhere, and know what he's doing.