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6 to Watch as Zach Wilson, Jets Attempt to 'Let It Rip' in Their Miami Rematch

Can QB, Breece Hall & Offense Keep Pace with Top-Ranked Dolphins 'O' (Which May Be Without Tarik Hill)?


It doesn't seem logical that the Jets, who gave up 395 yards and 34 points in their Black Friday home loss to Miami, will go down to South Florida for Sunday's game at Hard Rock Cafe and end the Dolphins' seven-game home win streak over their AFC East brethren (with six of those one-score victories)?

But logic often gives way to hot teams and tough injuries. Are the Jets the hotter team at 5-8 but with Zach Wilson rising back into the starting lineup with his and the Jets' remarkable 30-6 wipeout of the playoff-hopeful Texans? Or are the 'Fins at 9-4 but coming off their disappointing fall-from-ahead 28-27 MNF loss to the visiting Titans, who like the Jets are 5-8 and on the outside of the AFC postseason grid looking in.

Can Tua Tagovailoa keep the Miami offense purring along If Tyreek Hill is limited or out due to his ankle injury suffered vs. Tennessee. And will the Jets' Breece Hall or the Dolphins' Raheem Mostert be bothered more or less or not at all by the softened Hard Rock Stadium grass after steady rain from now through the morning hours Sunday?

Questions, questions. And here are six players to watch who may have the answers, answers to a road win that would continue the late-season push by the Jets by taking on this latest division challenge.

Oops, did we misspeak? "You could say challenge," HC Robert Saleh said about his QB, which could apply equally to his offense and his team. "In my mind it's more just have that continued confidence and swag and just play with that let-it-rip mentality."

QB Zach Wilson — Let's put the spotlight on Wlson again. It worked well in last week's monster finish to enable the Jets to pull away from Houston and led to him winning the AFC Offensive POY award. Filter away at four different categories, and Wilson is the only Jets QB to clear 200 pass yards, 80% accuracy, 9.00 yards/attempt and a 130 rating in a second half since at least 1991. Can he do it again? That appears difficult against a front-seven posse led by Christian Wilkins, Bradley Chubb and Zach Sieler, all with 6.5+ sacks and 15+ QB hits and all trying to funnel the ball to the likes of CB Jalen Ramsey. But the possibility of the same OL in front of Wilson couldn't hurt the consistency he found vs. the Texans.

RB Breece Hall — It would be awesome to see Hall erupt for his first big rushing game since Week 5 at Denver. But with Hall and Garrett Wilson as Z.Wilson's main targets, each skill player notched his fifth career 100-scrimmage-yards game vs. Houston, and they did it in the same game for the first time. Hall in particular caught eight passes for 86 yards and a TD — five or more receptions at Miami will make him the first player since FB Richie Anderson in 2000 to record 5+ catches in 5+ consecutive games. And what Jets fan can forget Breece's first long-distance play as a Jet, his 79-yard catch-and-dash from Wilson to Miami's 1 at MetLife last year?

DL Quinnen Williams and LB Quincy Williams — There is no easy answer to muzzling Miami's offense, ranked first overall in the NFL, second in rushing and first in passing, but maybe the Williams brothers can show the way. C.J. Mosley said the Jets' defensive goals are "obviously to dominate the run game so we can earn the right to rush the passer." Raheem Mostert runs the Dolphins' ground game and the Jets didn't slow him a lot on Black Friday, so it's even more urgent for Quincy, C.J. and the Jets' tacklers to get to the point of attack. Then Quinnen, who's been getting friskier in recent weeks despite double teams, can join the Bryce Huff/Jermaine Johnson pass rush to coax Tagovailoa into more turnovers — his 15 giveaways are tied for fourth-most in the NFL.

DBs Brandin Echols and Ashtyn Davis — This may seem a strange combo to focus on in this game, yet what the two nickel types (Echols as cover corner, Davis as box safety) have done in their last three games against Tagovailoa and Miami (Tagovailoa didn't play the Jets in '22) is amazing. Echols has two pick-sixes of the Dolphins QB, most recently on Black Friday. And Davis has three Tua takeaways in three games — two INTs in '21 and the botched handoff he pounced on last month. As DC Jeff Ulbrich said of Davis: "His percentage of turnovers to plays has to be historic. Every time he's on the field, he just gets the ball." If more defenders join in with some TAs, the Jets' shot at the road win improves.

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