7 Points: Jets-Dolphins, the Rematch

Green & White Need a Lift & Ring of Honor/Super Bowl III/Homecoming Themes Could Provide It


It often doesn't work this way — witness Green Bay's home loss to Chicago on Thursday night in a game in which Brett Favre and Bart Starr embraced at halftime.

But if there's magic in the atmosphere, the Jets should benefit bigtime against the Dolphins at MetLife Stadium on Sunday from the Ring of Honor ceremonies for Emerson Boozer and Matt Snell in front of a packed house that will include Super Bowl III members and other alumni at Jets Homecoming.

The Green & White need it. Their playoff hopes remain alive at 5-5, but with four losses in their last five games there is no more margin for error.

And Miami comes to town in slightly worse shape at 4-6 — although they've stabilized at 3-3 under interim coach Dan Campbell after starting 1-3 under Joe Philbin, who was relieved of his command the day after the Jets' 27-14 win over the Dolphins in London.

"They're playing a lot better football," head coach Todd Bowles said. "We haven't played great of late, so we're just trying to get ourselves back on our own two feet and try to come out with a win."

Campbell sees "a team that's physical" in the Jets, and of starting QB Ryan Fitzpatrick, he says, "he's always been a thorn to us."

Who'll get more roses Sunday and who'll get more thorns? Here are seven more observations on Jets-Dolphins:

1. Miami Multiple Threat

Darrelle Revis and the Jets defense contained second-year WR Jarvis Landry to 69 scrimmage yards at Wembley but he still racked up 258 all-purpose yards, most against the Jets in four seasons. The Green & White won't mind if a knee injury helps keep him in check Sunday. As far as Revis (concussion) playing in this one, Landry said this week, "Can't wait, man, can't wait. I'm hoping he plays, I'm praying he plays." Sorry, Jarvis. Bowles just announced today that Darrelle will sit this one out.

2. Get Them Off the Field

One of any offense's best friends is a third-down defense. And the Jets D (third in the NFL in 3-and-out drive rate at 29.8%) could get a boost from the Dolphins O, which, despite dangerous skill people like Lamar Miller, Rishard Matthews, rookie Jay Ajayi and Landry, are mired in 31st place in the NFL in third-down conversion rate at 27.8% (not to mention last on fourth down at 2-for-13). Further, Tannehill's 32nd among qualifying QBs with an average of 5.10 plays/drive. (Fitzpatrick's 33rd at 5.09.)

3. Slow Start Solution?

No snow in the forecast yet, but as Fitzpatrick said, "It's tough sledding" a lot of times when an offense starts out with 11 players on different sleds, and as Bowles asserted, "We have to find a way as coaches to get them starting faster earlier." Some bad news about the Jets' fast-start issues is that they've scored just one touchdown on opening drives in their last 24 games. The good news is that the one TD came on a Chris Ivory run. In London. Against the Dolphins.

4. Time to Run

Ivory and the ground game has been a bit sputtery of late, ever since his back-to-back 166-yard and 146-yard assaults on the Miami and Washington run defenses respectively. But with Bowles' talk of returning to "algebra" in Chan Gailey's offensive scheme, it would seem to be a good day to get Ivory, the newly returned Bilal Powell, and even Stevan Ridley (with an un-Ridley-like minus-6 yards in his first eight Jets offensive touches) running with abandon against the NFL's 31st run defense in yards allowed/game.

5. O-Line Challenge

The Jets know about DT Ndamukong Suh — and kept him at bay in Week 4. They also know about RDE Olivier Vernon, who's "really stepped it up," according to DC Lou Anarumo, in the wake of Cameron Wake's season-ending injury. Vernon has 3.5 career sacks against the Jets, his most against any team, not to mention a blocked FG and a TD off a blocked punt as a rookie in '12. D'Brickashaw Ferguson, who felt some of the wrath of J.J. last week, needs to be on his game for O.V.

The Green & White Hit the Practice Field the Day Before Thanksgiving

6. The Q Factor

Less than a year after he had two sacks of Tannehill in the 2014 season finale at Miami, Quinton Coples is now a Dolphin no doubt aiming to do similar damage against another QB named Ryan. The Jets released the man called "Q" on Monday and the Dolphins acquired him on waivers. Campbell, asked if Coples could have a role against his old team, said, "I don't see why not." Look for No. 98, now in aqua and coral, to line up in a 3-point stance on the line in the Dolphins' base defense.

7. End of the Road?

This long rivalry is in an odd stretch where the away team has won every game since 2012. The Jets extended that streak to seven with their Week 4 international road victory. It's the longest current streak in the NFL. But enough is enough. Home teams are supposed to win more often than not, and it's time for the Jets to put this streak to bed with some good old-fashioned home cooking three days after Thanksgiving.

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