In 2008 and again in '11, we finished the regular season needing a win over the Dolphins plus help from around the league to get onto the AFC postseason grid. We didn't get the help, but we also didn't beat the 'Fins.
That challenge could again happen in five weeks, but for a change of pace, we're playing Miami twice in the 12th month and both teams could use a division sweep to rise above the crowd of American Conference teams that began this week tied at 5-6.
Both of these rivals are very wary of the other for Sunday's first match. The Dolphins win close games (four victories in games decided by eight points or fewer) and at the Meadowlands (3-1 vs. Rex Ryan's Jets since '09).
Despite that latter trend, one big green checkmark is that this game is at MetLife Stadium. The Dolphins have lost their last three on the road. And the Jets, after a two-game road losing streak, need to get some of the cooking that enabled them to surprise many NFL observers with their 4-1 home record.
"I feel better at home," head coach Rex Ryan said today. "Maybe we're familiar with it and all that, but our fans have been great, absolutely terrific. I know we're feeding off of it — damn, I'm proud of it. We're playing like this is our home, like we're protecting our back yard, and we've done a much better job of this than any time since I've been here."
Here are 10 things to look for in this very important AFC East matchup on Sunday:
2. Hands Team — The last time we dropped as many as five passes in a game, Game 2 at New England, we got focused and proceeded to drop that many in the next eight games combined. Then came Baltimore and five more drops. The wideouts were out after all practices this week again working on the Jugs machine and adjusting the fine-tuning on their receiving units. Since the focus of Ryan, Marty Mornhinweg and WRs coach Sanjay Lal worked last time, why not look for it to work again with a no-drop outing?
3. Puttin' on the Blitz — It's not just Geno who comes alive at MetLife. Consider our pass rush, led by DE
4. The Crominator — For the second time this season,
5. Old Hat — Our front seven continues to have all its hats flying to the ball at all times. For the fifth straight week, Wilkerson,
|First Downs Gained/Game||16.9||17.4|
|First Downs Allowed/Game||17.4||21.1|
|Time of Possession/Game||30:32||27:59|
6. Feats of Clay — Jets defenders, be they
7. The Folk Goes On — Things have been quiet for
8. Mystery in the Pivot — Check the number of the guy snapping the ball to Tannehill. If it's 51, starter Mike Pouncey is back at center after taking ill from a gallbladder issue two weeks ago. If it's No. 75, Nate Garner — remember the Jets' seventh-round pick out of Arkansas in 2008? — will get the third straight start of his career at C. Philbin wasn't tipping his hand, much, about Pouncey's availability, saying only that "We're taking everybody" on the charter flight to New Jersey.
9. Playing the Fields —
10. Simple Formula — "I think the past few weeks we haven't gotten off to a really good start," Holmes said today. "This week I think the practice focus has been really high-tempo and the execution has been great." In the seven games the Jets have scored first, we're 5-2. In the four in which the opponents open the scoring, we're 0-4. Further, we've won our last eight games under Rex and our last 14 dating to '07 in games in which we've taken the opening kickoff and drove immediately for a game-opening TD. Now if we can only sneak in the loaded coin and get Miami to call heads and defer...
|JETS-DOLPHINS RIVALRY FACTS||Record/Score|
|Regular-Season Series Record||Jets 49-44-1|
|Last Game||Dolphins 30-9, 2012|
|Last Jets Win||Jets 23-20 OT, 2012|
|Current Streak||Dolphins 2 out of 3|
|Regular-Season Record @ NYJ||Jets 27-20|
|Last Game||Dolphins 30-9, 2012|
|Last Jets Win||Jets 24-6, 2011|
|Current Streak||Dolphins 4 out of 5|
|Postseason Series Record||Dolphins 1-0|
|Last Game||Dolphins 14-0, 1982|