Updated, 10:20 a.m. ET
The sun didn't come out at all during the Jets' comeback win at Cleveland. Perhaps it will shine on another Green & White victory at Miami on Sunday.
Then again, the Dolphins are also basking in the glow of a two-game win streak after a rough start. And while the Jets like playing in front of their South Florida fan base, the 'Fins are wrapping up a five-week homestand, including last week's bye. And the Jets have never played at Hard Rock Stadium (the new name of the venue formerly known as Sun Life).
In other words, it won't be easy for the Jets. But head coach Todd Bowles continues to believe in a couple of traits that he sees in his team.
"Our character and our leadership in the locker room," Bowles said. "We're working at it now. None of these wins are going to be easy. Believe me, every week is going to be a battle cry. But we were losing these games the first part of the season, so we came back and won two of them right now and we just have to keep building off of that."
Here are seven more points in advance of Sunday's Jets-Dolphins game:
1. Road Sweet RoadThe Dolphins are feeling good these days as they close their long homestand after beating the Steelers (30-15) and Bills (28-25) in South Florida and coming off their bye week. The Jets are also on a feelgood two-game win streak as they wrap up their rare season start (six away games in nine weeks). But the Green & White have always felt comfy in the home of the 'Fins — they've won four straight on the road (including last year at Wembley Stadium) and eight of the last 10 to even their all-time road record vs. Miami at 25-25-1.
2. Brandon Breakout?The Jets are still seeking early ignition. They have not scored the first touchdown in the last seven games, have trailed at halftime in the last six, and have one first-half takeaway all year. But they topped the Ravens and Browns in the second half in points (34-8) and TAs (5-1), so maybe the thaw is heading toward the first half. What Ryan Fitzpatrick could really use is a Brandon Marshall avalanche. Marshall has as many 100-yard receiving games (2) and TD catches (2) all this season as he had in last year's two games vs. the Dolphins. As for Quincy Enunwa's YAC dimension, I'll address that in Saturday's Inside the Numbers.
3. Ajayi on a RollThe Jets' run defense, after holding the Browns' ground game down, are first in the NFL in rush yards/game and second in yards/carry (3.31). Miami RB Jay Ajayi is easily first in yards/rush (6.37) and attempting to become the first back in league history to run for three 200-yard games in a row. "To have that for ourselves, the O-line, myself included, I think it would be a great accomplishment," Ajayi said. "At the same time, that's not our main priority and focus. We want to win the game." Counters S Calvin Pryor, who packs a punch in the box at times, "It's not gonna be easy for him to get to 200."
4. Storming TannehillIf the Jets can rein in Ajayi, they can then turn to Ryan Tannehill and WRs. The Dolphins QB for his career is 3-5 vs. the Jets with 55.3% accuracy, 9 TDs, 9 INTs and a 70.6 rating. This season he's 3-4 with 7 TDs, 7 INTs and an 87.5 rating. Is the Jets' secondary up to stopping him again? Well, the pass defense has sunk to 32nd overall for the first time in history (the last time they were last, in '97, there were 30 teams), leading one Miami writer to declare, "The Jets secondary is garbage." Harsh, no? Yet Darrelle Revis, et al., know the only way to stop that trash talk is to put a lid on Tannehill's hookups with Jarvis Landry, Devante Parker and Kenny Stills.
5. Mauldin EmergenceThe Jets' pass rush has been inconsistent. But might it be 'Zo's time? Lorenzo Mauldin at Cleveland, besides coming up with the Jets' first LB interception since 2013, put three hits on Josh McCown, the most QB hits by a Green & White defender since Leonard Williams had five in the opener. "I wouldn't say it's my best game because last week I got five pressures and two QB hits," Mauldin said. "Just going in and doing what I'm supposed to do is the idea."
A Look Back at the History Between Two AFC East Foes
6. Hidden YardageThe Jets' special teams has been sputtery, but one thing they are improving at greatly is in hidden yardage. One measure: The specialists have committed no penalties the last six games, the longest streak since the Jets began in 1963. Juston Burris got downing the punt at the 1 just right Sunday. And kickoff coverage is sixth in the NFL with a 23.6-yard average drive start. "We always stress not having penalties," said ST leader Josh Martin. "As the season goes along, you get more comfortable and you get used to letting go and understanding what that means." What it's meant in the win streak: a plus-10 yardage differential over the opponents on all drive starts.
7. The Name of the PlaceWe're pretty sure the venue the Dolphins have called home since 1987 holds the NFL record for most different names. Here is the Jets' record in each incarnation: Joe Robbie Stadium: 4-5. Pro Player Stadium: 5-4. Dolphins Stadium: 0-1. Dolphin Stadium: 3-0. Land Shark Stadium: 0-1. Sun Life Stadium: 4-1. Hard Rock Stadium: 0-0. One final note: We don't think it has anything to do with naming rights, but the Jets will be wearing their white jerseys Sunday for the first time since 1971 for an afternoon game in South Florida.