8:20 PM EST on Sunday, Sept 26th. The game will be
broadcast nationally on NBC TV and on Sirius radio 125 and 126.
PLACE: Sun Life Stadium, Miami Gardens, FL.
WEATHER FORECAST: A 30 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms,
mainly before 7pm. Partly cloudy, with a low around 81. East wind
around 8 mph.
FIELD CONDITIONS: Sun Life Stadium's grass field should be in good
shape they're covering the baseball infield with grass early this
year. So the Dolphins will actually have a fully grass field. Odds
are that the grass over the baseball diamond dirt could be a little
looser than the regular grass, and it may be wet from rain on Sunday,
but anything is better than the bare dirt.
STANDINGS & STATS: After two weeks, the Dolphins are 2-0 and alone in
first place in the AFC East. The Jets are 1-1 and tied with the
Patriots for 2nd place in the AFC East.
Dolphins Pts/Game Rank Jets Pts/Game Rank
Scored 14.5 23 Scored 18.5 19
Allowed 10.0 1 Allowed 12.0 6
Dolphins Yds/Game Rank Jets Yds/Game Rank
Total Offense: 261 27 Total Defense: 286 11
Rushing: 126 7 vs Rush: 50 3
Passing: 135 28 vs Pass: 236 22
Total Offense: 256 29 Total Defense: 265 5
Rushing: 126 8 vs Rush: 103 11
Passing: 130 29 vs Pass: 162 6
Sacks Made (Avg/G) Allowed (Avg/G)
Dolphins 6 3.0 5 2.5
Jets 3 1.5 5 2.5
Individual Skill Position Stats:
QB: QB Henne: 30-49-296-1-0-85.1
Rush: RB Williams: 28-92-3.3-0
Rush: RB Brown: 26-145-5.6-1
Rec: WR Marshall: 12-124-10.3-0
Rec: WR Bess: 7-63-9.0-0
Rec: TE Fasano: 3-46-15.3-0
QB: QB Sanchez: 31-51-294-3-0-96.4
Rush: RB Tomlinson: 22-138-6.3-0
Rush: RB Greene: 20-70-3.5-0
Rec: TE Keller: 9-128-14.2-1
Rec: WR Edwards: 6-54-9.0-1
Rec: WR Cotchery: 6-44-7.3-1
The Dolphins are 41-46-1 vs the Jets, but have won 3 of the
last 4, including both meetings last year. The last time the Dolphins
and Jets met in Miami, the Dolphins won 31-27 as Chad Henne threw 2
touchdown passes and the Dolphins scored 21 points in the 4th
DOLPHINS: DE Jared Odrick (fibula) and G John Jerry (illness) did not
practice on Thursday, while LB Channing Crowder (groin) was limited in
JETS: CB Darrelle Revis (hamstring) and LB Calvin Pace (foot) are out
this week. OL Wayne Hunter (shin) and OL Nick Mangold (shoulder) did
not participate in practice on Thursday, while LB Jason Taylor (elbow)
QB - 7 Chad Henne LE - 70 Kendall Langford
RB - 23 Ronnie Brown NT - 96 Paul Soliai
FB - 36 Lousaka Polite RE - 94 Randy Starks
WR - 19 Brandon Marshall SLB - 55 Koa Misi
WR - 82 Brian Hartline ILB - 52 Channing Crowder
TE - 80 Anthony Fasano ILB - 58 Karlos Dansby
LT - 77 Jake Long WLB - 91 Cameron Wake
LG - 68 Richie Incognito LCB - 21 Vontae Davis
C - 67 Joe Berger RCB - 32 Jason Allen
RG - 74 John Jerry SS - 37 Yeremiah Bell
RT - 72 Vernon Carey FS - 30 Chris Clemons
K - 5 Dan Carpenter P - 2 Brandon Fields
PR - 15 Davone Bess KR - 28 Nolan Carroll
Jared Odrick is still out, so it looks like it will be Paul
Soliai and Randy Starks on the defensive line again. It also looks
like Channing Crowder will be back in the lineup this week, but it
remains to be seen if he will be the official starter. Last week, the
Dolphins "official" starting defense was 3 DL, 3 LBs and 5 DBs (Benny
Sapp was the extra DB).
QB - 6 Mark Sanchez LDE - 92 Shaun Ellis
RB - 21 LaDainian Tomlinson NT - 93 Matt Kroul
HB - 38 John Conner RDE - 91 Sione Pouha
WR - 16 Brad Smith LLB - 99 Bryan Thomas
WR - 89 Jerricho Cotchery MLB - 57 Bart Scott
TE - 81 Dustin Keller MLB - 52 David Harris
LT - 60 D'Brickashaw Ferguson RLB - 99 Jason Taylor
LG - 68 Matt Slauson LCB - 31 Antonio Cromartie
C - 74 Nick Mangold RCB - 20 Kyle Wilson
RG - 65 Brandon Moore SS - 36 Jim Leonhard
RT - 67 Damien Woody FS - 22 Brodney Pool
K - 2 Nick Folk P - 9 Steve Weatherford
PR - 36 Jim Leonhard KR - 16 Brad Smith
The official depth charts all list Shonn Greene as the starting
running back, but after last week's performance, I think LaDainian
Tomlinson will get the starting nod. Darrelle Revis and Calvin Pace
are both out for the game.
- Mike Nolan vs Mark Sanchez: Sanchez tends to play either
great or terrible and the Jets' fortunes ride on his performance. If
Nolan's defense can rattle Sanchez, the Jets are doomed.
- Chad Henne vs Himself: Just as he did against the Bills,
Henne didn't make any big mistakes vs the Vikings, but he also didn't
look like the kind of quarterback who can lead the Dolphins to a
Championship. Against the Jets' 3rd ranked rushing defense, Henne
will need to be more productive.
- Dolphins' Linebackers vs LaDainian Tomlinson: Last week,
the Dolphins' Defense let Adrian Peterson run for 145 yards at 5.2
yards per carry. The Dolphins can't afford to allow the Jets to run
the ball with that kind of efficiency.
- Cameron Wake vs Damien Woody: Wake has done an outstanding
job so far this year of pressuring opposing quarterbacks. If he can
continue his performance against the Jets, that will go a long way
towards knocking Sanchez off his game.
PLAYERS TO WATCH:
Chad Henne is ultimately going to be the key to the offense's
success this year, but so far has not demonstrated the kind of
production that Dolphins' fans were hoping for. Brandon Marshall, on
the other hand, has been exactly what the fans were hoping for, but
unless the ball is thrown to him, he can't produce. And this week,
Jake Long will face Jason Taylor.
On defense, Cameron Wake is producing the kind of pass rush
that the Dolphins lacked for most of last year. Channing Crowder may
be back in the lineup this week, which should help the run defense.
Overall, however, it is the secondary that has really improved more
than any other part of the team. With the career resurrection of
Jason Allen and the improvement of Chris Clemons and Vontae Davis, the
Dolphins have suddenly become one of the best pass defenses in the
LaDainian Tomlinson has become the biggest surprise of the
Jets' offense this year, averaging 6.3 yards per carry in limited
action. Mark Sanchez continues to run very hot or extremely cold,
while one of his favorite targets - Braylon Edwards - was arrested for
DUI this week. It looks like Edwards will play, but not start.
The Jets' defense is outstanding again this year, but will be
missing 3 crucial starters this week. CB Antonio Cromartie will be
the Jets' most visible cornerback this week with Darrelle Revis out
while Jason Taylor will probably get the start at outside linebacker
in place of Calvin Pace.
On special teams, the Dolphins dumped Clifton Smith this week
and went back to Davone Bess and Nolan Carroll as their returners.
On paper, the Dolphins and Jets look virtually identical. They
have similar stats, similar offensive and defensive philosophies and
similar performance. Their offenses are both near the top of the NFL
in rushing and near the bottom in passing. Each features a young
quarterback, a strong offensive line and a run-first philosophy.
The defenses are both strong, but Miami's defense is playing
better against the pass while the Jets are stronger against the run.
But their philosophies are very similar. Each team wants to stop the
run first and pressure the quarterback with a variety of different
pass rushes, hoping to force them to make mistakes.
Unfortunately, if you look at the stats, the Jets' strengths
tend to match up well against the Dolphins' weaknesses. The Jets are
a strong running team, while Miami's defense is better against the
pass. When Miami has the ball, their running game faces the Jets' 3rd
ranked run defense.
But the games are not decided by the stats. The Dolphins have
found many different ways to beat the Jets since Tony Sparano came to
town and are in a good place to beat the Jets on Sunday night.
When Miami has the ball, they are probably going to have to
throw the ball more than they have in the first two games. They are
going to have to rely more on Chad Henne to move the ball downfield
and less on the legs of Ronnie and Ricky. The Jets' run defense is
very strong and while the Dolphins will never abandon the run, they
must be able to pass more effectively.
Some of the pundits have predicted that the Dolphins will use
the Wildcat a lot more this week, but I doubt that. The Jets know the
Wildcat very well and unless the Dolphins are willing to introduce a
lot more variation with the Wildcat (such as letting Tyler Thigpen run
it), I doubt Miami will rely on it heavily.
With Darrelle Revis out, however, there should be more
opportunities for Miami to throw downfield and they'll need to do that
Sunday. You can expect more than 15 passes by Chad Henne this week,
but the targets will remain the same. To move the ball, the Dolphins
will target Marshall. To move the chains, they'll look to Bess and
for big plays, they'll look to Hartline.
Of course, one of the keys to beating the Jets will be to
avoid turnovers, so Miami will have a conservative gameplan. They
will run the ball and show the Wildcat, because that is the basis of
Miami's offensive philosophy, but they will need to pass early and
often to beat the Jets.
One surprise Miami might pull out of its bag of tricks is
Patrick Cobbs. Cobbs has been extremely effective in the past as a
receiver out of the backfield, but has been quiet this year. He might
reappear on Sunday night, especially with Calvin Pace out.
On defense, the key to stopping the Jets' offense is not to
stop their running game. While it is important to restrict any
opposing team's running game, the key to stopping the Jets' offense is
to pressure Mark Sanchez into poor play. Sanchez, even more than most
quarterbacks, is very inconsistent and susceptible to pressure. He
can fall apart in a heartbeat under a good pass rush and for Mike
Nolan's defense, this is very good news.
So far this year, the Dolphins have been winning with a big
play defense that forces turnovers and makes big stops. They have
been putting a lot of pressure on opposing quarterbacks and doing an
excellent job in pass coverage.
Against the Jets, this should pay off well. Miami's pass rush
will harass Sanchez and the coverage downfield will force him to look
long and hard before throwing. This should prevent big plays,
especially with Braylon Edwards limited this week. Pressuring Sanchez
will give the Dolphins the turnovers they want and keep the Jets on
Obviously, the Dolphins must be concerned about the Jets
running game, but perhaps more importantly, they need to watch out for
short passes to Tomlinson out of the backfield. Tomlinson is very
dangerous on screens and short passes to the flats and Miami must
guard against these plays.
When not running, Sanchez' favorite receiving target is TE
Dustin Keller. Last week, Vikings' TE Visanthe Shiancoe was Favre's
favorite target - until the Dolphins decided to cover him with CB Sean
Smith. Once Smith was put in place on Shiancoe, Shiancoe's production
dropped to zero. Look for Smith to get a key role in covering Keller
Ultimately, this game will likely fall out about like the
Vikings game did. If the Dolphins can pressure Sanchez, win the
turnover battle and generate even a modest amount of offense, they
should win this game. But Chad Henne must start being more effective
throwing the ball down the field for Miami to become a genuine
PLACES TO WATCH:
To watch the game on TV, you may go to one of the sports bars listed on my "Places To Watch" web page.
To listen to the game live over the Internet, you must now pay
the NFL for the privelege. They are charging $9.99 (US) per month or
$39.99 for the season for something you used to get for free. If you want to sign up for that, go to the following link NFL Field Pass.
Also, here is a list of some websites that have live scores
and updates. Both the Official Website and NFL.com have almost live
applications that run in your browser and give you current stats and