Five Jets to keep an eye on as the Green & White make their first trip south under head coach Robert Saleh to complete their home-and-home against their AFC East partners and foes, the Dolphins, at Hard Rock Stadium on Sunday;
RB Michael Carter — Saleh's pithy prognosis for Carter — "He's playing" — is music to the ears of the Jets and their fans. Carter, who has missed three games, remains the team's leading rusher (430 yards, 3.9 yards/carry), is averaging a healthy 9.6 yards on his 32 catches, and in the five games before his ankle injury averaged 101.8 scrimmage yards/game. RB Tevin Coleman also showed giddyup in the four weeks before missing New Orleans in the concussion protocol, averaging 4.7 yards/carry. Both could boost Zach Wilson and the offense in working OC Mike LaFleur's play-action game to WRs Jamison Crowder, Keelan Cole and, fingers crossed, Denzel Mims.
TE Ryan Griffin — Another way to augment the Jets' still banged-up WR group is for Wilson to find his tight ends. Griffin has been the point man here with 40 targets and 25 catches for 222 yards and 2 touchdowns. He's the only Jets pass-catcher who's had at least one reception in each of this season's 13 games. And he could get help from good-hands TE Tyler Kroft's possible return and good-blocks TE Trevon Wesco in both the run game (Miami yields 4.3 yards/carry) and the pass game (the Dolphins are 28th in giving up 254.5 yards/game). And the unit should be at the forefront of moving the chains at Hard Rock Stadium against a 'Fins defense that is 28th in the league in third-down defense at a 43.7% conversion rate.
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LB C.J. Mosley — Miami's run game has been ranked 30th or lower in the NFL in yards/game for the past 10 weeks and this week is 31st in both yards/game and yards/carry. The Dolphins' top three backs, Myles Gaskin, Salvon Ahmed and Phillip Lindsay, were on reserve/COVID at midweek. Gaskin, you'll recall, had 95 scrimmage yards and a key late TD catch vs. Mosley the Jets at MetLife a month ago. All reasons for Captain C.J. to marshal his troops to the point of attack, stop or slow the 'Fins' ground game and force QB Tua Tagovailoa into one-dimensionality. Note to front seven: Sit on the run and then take yourselves off the list of one of the two teams (the other was the Jaguars) who faced Tua this season and didn't get a sack.
CBs Bryce Hall and Michael Carter II — MCII also returns from the concussion protocol to action as the nickel corner alongside LCB Hall and RCB Brandin Echols. They'll run into a WR group that got a lift last week from the return of very productive pro DeVante Parker from injuries that kept him out seven of the previous eight games. Rookie Jaylen Waddle, who leads the Dolphins with 849 yards and four touchdowns on 86 catches, tied for fifth-most in the NFL, went on the COVID list Thursday and his availability is unknown for the Jets. Still, with Parker and company, Hall and Carter will be challenged in coverage and both would love to end the Jets corners' season-long interception drought with a pick or two in the South Florida sun.