Today is the next game in head coach Robert Saleh's rebuilding effort with the New York Jets. And it's somehow appropriate that the game is set for a 1 p.m. ET kickoff at MetLife Stadium against the Miami Dolphins, who are in their own reconstruction project.
The Jets and Dolphins are meeting this afternoon for the first of two games in the next four weeks. They have met twice a year every year since the 'Fins were born as an American Football League expansion team in 1966.
The Jets are 30-25 over Miami in the regular season at their home. The Dolphins are 29-25-1 in the games in South Florida. Throw in Miami's 14-0 win in the 1982 AFC Championship "Mud Bowl" game and the teams are dead-even all-time at 55-55-1.
The Jets are 2-7 in the AFC East standings this morning. The 'Fins are 3-7. Thus a Jets win moves the Green & White past their Aqua & Coral foes. A loss sinks them a little deeper in fourth place.
What did Saleh see this week after the glow of the win over Cincinnati was doused by the losses at Indianapolis and home last week against Buffalo?
"Our group, they're resilient," Saleh said Friday. "I've been fortunate to be around some really cool teams and this group, they're made of the right stuff. They're able to show up on Wednesday after a loss and shake it off and get back to work and focus on what's most important, and that's getting better. Everything has been about Miami. I'm really excited about the work we've put in. And then we have to go showcase it on Sunday. I feel like their heads are in a good space, they're speaking the right language and the energy in the building has been really good."
See the Top Photos from Pregame Before Jets-Dolphins
To do battle with CB Xavien Howard and Miami's blitzing defense, Saleh chose this week to go with his third different starting quarterback of the season, replacing Mike White with veteran Joe Flacco. With Zach Wilson making good progress but still rehabbing his injured knee, Flacco will take the reins of the offense and try to stay a step ahead of rush.
Defensively, LB C.J. Mosley and the Jets are challenging themselves to improve over the past month since their bye week, when they allowed their four opponents to hang up 1,890 yards, 23 touchdowns and 175 points. The Dolphins' offense has had its own struggles but with Tua Tagovailoa putting his left finger fracture behind him to return under center, their sense of resolve is just as urgent as the Jets' approach to today's game.
It's the proverbial matchup of who wants it more. The Jets will have their home crowd behind them. And everyone in green and white is eager to see the Jets take their next step forward.
Here is the Jets' inactive list:
- QB Zach Wilson
- RB La'Mical Perine
- CB Rachad Wildgoose
- S Jarrod Wilson
- DL Tim Ward
- OL Isaiah Williams
- DL Jonathan Marshall
And these are the Dolphins' five inactives:
- CB Noah Igbinoghene
- RB Salvon Ahmed
- LB Darius Hodge
- TE Hunter Long
- DT John Jenkins