Saturday, September 22, 2012

Deciding Factors: Jets at Dolphins


The Dolphins and Jets have each split their first two games of this season, with both suffering one blowout road loss and putting together one dominating home victory.

Despite the two games in the books, both teams have unsettled questions and hope to develop consistency in Week 3. To do so, Mark Sanchez and the Jets' offense will need to bounce back from a putrid performance in Pittsburgh, while Ryan Tannehill and the Dolphins hope to keep it rolling after a 35-point outburst against the Raiders.

With a victory, either team can seize control of the early AFC East division lead.

Deciding Factors:

Revis Island Vacation over. Will he be limited? Like perhaps no other defensive player in the league, Darrelle Revis' presence greatly improves his team, as evidenced in last week's loss. With him on the field, a primary receiving option, and sometimes an entire portion of the field, can be eliminated, often crippling offenses. Miami is depleted at receiver as it is; Revis will only compound that problem. Reports are that he's ready to go; but if his concussion issues recur, it could affect the outcome of this game.

Sanchez vs. Fins' secondary. The Dolphins aren't strong in pass defense. The Jets will need to exploit this, especially because Miami has bottled up opposing rushers so far this season to the tune of 2.2 yards per carry, lowest in the NFL. And with a subpar stable of running backs, the pressure will be on Sanchez to get it done through the air with a marginal receiving corps.

Tannehill's efficiency. After a turnover-riddled debut in Houston, Tannehill had an efficient game last week against Oakland. This week, he faces a vastly superior opponent, one known for solid man-to-man coverage and aggressive blitz calls. If he can manage the game and avoid turnovers, Miami should have a decent chance at winning.

Bush's impact. Reggie Bush is proving that he can be an every down back for the Dolphins, and is now second in the NFL in rushing. The Jets are strong against the run, but if Bush can get into open spaces, he can do damage against any defense. An ideal scenario for New York is to limit Bush early, and force Tannehill to beat them. Former Dolphin and current Jets' safety Yeremiah Bell will play an instrumental role in run support on Bush.

Jets and Dolphins posts from this week:

Week 3 AFC East game picks: Jets at Dolphins

Around-the-Web AFC East power rankings - Week 3

Dolphins' Philbin getting 1st taste of AFC East rivalry

Sherman talks pluses/minuses of Tannehill's mobility

Film Review: Wallace's big TD catch vs. Cromartie

Dolphins' D bends for yards, doesn't break for points

Force-fed Sanchez-Holmes connection falters in loss

Fins' offense wakes up in 2nd half en route to win