It's not your father's Jets-Dolphins matchup at Hard Rock Stadium this afternoon.
The AFC East rivals have played some classic games over the years, from the Ken O'Brien-to-Wesley Walker 51-45 showcase in 1986 to other high-flying games in the Eighties and Nineties to the Monday Night Miracle in 2000.
This game could turn into a memorable affair as well, but going in, the Jets at 1-6 and the Dolphins at 0-7 are two teams each in need of a victory of any kind.
The game that perhaps best mirrors the teams' current situations occurred in 2007 when the 2-9 Jets visited then-named Dolphin Stadium to take on the 0-11 'Fins. The Jets rolled in that game, 40-13.
Adam Gase factors into today's storylines as well. From 2016-18 he was Miami's coach and his 'Fins topped the Jets all three times at Hard Rock, 27-23, 31-28 and last year by 13-6 when then-rookie Sam Darnold threw four interceptions and injured his foot.
This year, Gase is Darnold's head coach and he prepared this week to get Sam, the offense and the Green & White ready to score their first road win of the year over first-year head coach Brian Flores' Dolphins.
Darnold is coming off two games in which he threw multiple interceptions and acquired multiple digit injuries (stepped-on toe vs. New England, sprained left thumb at Jacksonville). But Darnold has said everything feels fine and he's ready to attack Miami's struggling defense and patchwork secondary with RB Le'Veon Bell, WRs Robby Anderson and Jamison Crowder and TE Ryan Griffin.
See Top Photos from Pregame Before the Week 9 Matchup in Miami
And while Darnold didn't get his left tackle, Kelvin Beachum, back (Beachum is inactive with his ankle injury), he does have a new/old offensive weapon for the first time this year.
TE Chris Herndon is active following his four-game NFL suspension and three games sidelined by a hamstring pull. It's obviously too soon to say Herndon can make a big difference today for the struggling offense, but some "12"-personnel sets with Herndon and Ryan Griffin, who had a big game at Jacksonville last week, could provide a lift in the coming weeks.
Additionally, the defense has gained the return of DL Henry Anderson (shoulder), who has missed the last three games.
The bad news is the list of the still-injured. RB Trenton Cannon (foot/ankle) and pleasantly surprising rookie LB Blake Cashman (shoulder) were placed on injured reserve in the past week, while LBs C.J. Mosley (groin) and Neville Hewitt (neck/knee), C Ryan Kalil (knee/elbow), CB Trumaine Johnson (ankles), special team leaders Rontez Miles (neck/hip) and Josh Bellamy (foot/shoulder) and Beachum are all inactive.
The LB corps in particular has become thin with all the injuries suffered there, but coordinator Gregg Williams, asked who will play especially on the inside at Miami, replied, "Just show up for the game on Sunday and see who it is." James Burgess is the only healthy player listed at ILB although Brandon Copeland has practiced there while the LB corps also added Frankie Luvu from the practice squad and signed free agent B.J. Bello.
Here are the Jets' seven-player inactive list:
- WR Josh Bellamy
- CB Trumaine Johnson
- S Rontez Miles
- LB Neville Hewitt
- C Ryan Kalil
- LB C.J. Mosley
- T Kelvin Beachum
And the Dolphins' inactives:
- S Reshad Jones
- CB Ken Webster
- RB Myles Gaskin
- G Shaq Calhoun
- C Daniel Kilgore
- T Isaiah Prince
- DE Avery Moss
With Miami opting for its white jerseys for this game, expected to begin with temperatures in the mid-80s, the Jets are wearing their green jerseys and white pants. It's the second game they're wearing their new green/white combination, following up on their opener at home against another division foe, the Bills.
Walt Anderson is refereeing his 17th Jets game since 2003. Some memorable Green & White games Anderson has officiated at: the "Win & We're In" 2009 regular-season finale vs. Cincinnati and wins in 2016 vs. Baltimore and 2017 at Cleveland.