One win over the Miami Dolphins changes everything for the New York Jets
EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ—The New York Jets have arrived. Well, sort of.
Robert Saleh’s squad has arrived at this very point in time, one that sees them set to take on a bitter division rival in what could be their moment, a Sunday that changes everything.
Defeating the Miami Dolphins at MetLife Stadium flips the script to an entirely different chapter. Suddenly, the Jets would be a 3-2 team after five weeks, 2-0 with Zach Wilson starting, and an extremely talented team on the rise.
Instantaneously, the narrative shifts from “let’s see if they can be relevant” to “this young team is seriously coming in full force.”
Of course, the Jets have to beat their greatest rival (no, it’s not the New England Patriots) first, for this program-defining moment to officially come to fruition.
Jets vs. Dolphins game info
- New York Jets (2-2)
- Miami Dolphins (3-1)
- NFL, Week 5, Oct. 9, 2022, 1:00 p.m. ET, CBS
- MetLife Stadium, East Rutherford, NJ
The 3-1 Dolphins need to win in order to keep pace with the Buffalo Bills in the division—assuming Buffalo knocks off the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 5.
New York, with a victory, would immediately propel itself past Miami in the AFC East standings, courtesy of the head-to-head tiebreaker.
|3||New England Patriots||8||9||0||.471||3-3||364||347||4-4||4-5||L1|
|4||New York Jets||7||10||0||.412||2-4||296||316||3-5||4-5||L6|
In terms of game logistics, this one is as standard as it gets. The game can be viewed on CBS with Kevin Harlen and Trent Green on the call, and it is set to kick off at 1 p.m. ET.
Interestingly, per Woody Johnson, as is usually the case each week, the Jets have opted to don their white tops with black pants, doubling down on their victory-in-Pittsburgh look.
— New York Jets (@nyjets) October 8, 2022
Jets vs. Dolphins history
- The Dolphins lead the all-time series 57-55-1
Two contests ago, this series was all knotted up at 55-55-1. Four games ago, the Jets found themselves up 55-53-1, historically.
This means—for all you mathematic wizards out there—that Miami has won the last four meetings.
The most recent meeting occurred last season in December when the Dolphins came away with a 31-24 victory. Braxton Berrios and Zach Wilson came away with rushing scores, but it simply was not enough. Tua Tagovailoa finding DeVante Parker late in the fourth quarter put the South Beach-based squad up for good.
Once upon a time, the Jets owned a significant series lead, but Miami has come out on the winning end eight of the last nine times, as well as 10 of the last 12.
The Jets’ last victory came in December of 2019 when a then Adam Gase-led squad edged the Fish, 22-21. Todd Bowles was the coach the last time the Jets swept the season series (2015).
Jets vs. Dolphins odds (FanDuel Sportsbook)
- Spread: Jets +3.5 (-118), Dolphins -3.5 (-104)
- Moneyline: Jets +148, Dolphins -176
- Over/Under: 45.5 (O: -106, U: -114)
Yet again, the Jets are the underdogs. Yet again, the Jets are the home dogs.
Until this team proves to the world that it should be classified as a home favorite, these are the spreads they’ll typically see. Last week in Pittsburgh, New York was a 3.5-point dog on the road, which comes close to a pick-em situation considering the home team usually garners an automatic three points.
This week at home, New York gets 3.5 points at home. Tua Tagovailoa’s injury certainly has a lot to do with this spread.
Jets vs. Dolphins injury report
New York Jets
- Quincy Williams (Ankle): Out
- Max Mitchell (Knee): Out
- Marcell Harris (Neck): Questionable
Duane Brown is back. The Jets officially activated the big left tackle late in the week, and he’s expected to start at left tackle. With Max Mitchell out, and consequently sent to IR, the big question surrounds the other side.
Will it be Conor McDermott, or will Mike LaFleur opt to go to his offensive/modern version of Joe Klecko, Alijah Vera-Tucker? I expect Nate Herbig to get the call at right guard and Vera-Tucker to start at right tackle, but that’s still very much up in the air.
All things considered, Robert Saleh’s team is pretty healthy.
- Tua Tagovailoa (Concussion/Back/Ankle): Out
- Cethan Carter (Concussion): Out
- Tyreek Hill (Quad): Questionable
- Jaylen Waddle (Groin): Questionable
- Xavien Howard (Groins): Questionable
- Terron Armstead (Toe): Questionable
- Keion Crossen (Glute/Shoulder): Questionable
- Robert Jones (Back): Questionable
- Salvon Ahmed (Back): Questionable
On the other side, Miami comes into this one limping. Not only is their starting quarterback out—paving the way for former Jet Teddy Bridgewater—but Tyreek Hill, Jaylen Waddle and Xavien Howard are all questionable.
If any of those three players miss the game, mark it as a huge victory for the home team.
New York Jets keys to win
Have separate coverage schemes ready
When thinking about Mike McDaniel’s offense, speed is the name of the game. Tyreek Hill, the man who came oh-so-close to coming to Florham Park, NJ, is still (arguably) the most disruptive game-breaker in the NFL.
I would start with Sauce Gardner on Jaylen Waddle, one-on-one, while D.J. Reed and Lamarcus Joyner bracket Hill on the other side. Of course, if the two weapons are on the same side, things get tricky. But allowing Sauce to shut down Waddle opens it up for a bracket-type situation on No. 10.
Additionally, I would also make sure a second plan of attack is in tow, which would throw Gardner on Hill, Reed on Waddle and Joyner playing his regular free safety spot, while, of course, paying much more attention to Hill’s side of the field.
If I'm Robert Saleh/#Jets defense, I'm having two contrasting coverage defaults in the bag for Miami:
1. Sauce 1v1 on Waddle with Reed and Joyner bracketing Tyreek. Immense pressure on Sauce and SS v TE.
2. Sauce on Tyreek, Reed on Waddle, with Joyner in regular FS look.
— Robby Sabo (@RobbySabo) October 5, 2022
Don’t expect heavy blitzing from Jeff Ulbrich in this one. Bridgewater is a savvy veteran, but most importantly, that’s just not what this Jets defensive unit is all about.
After going ham against Joe Burrow and the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 3, New York got back to its four-man-rush ways in Pittsburgh, and it worked extremely well—mainly thanks to excellent coverage.
Sauce Gardner makes a great play on the MC2 INT, but it was a total unit play for the Jets.
-SITUATION means everything when looking at plays/film.
-Tip of the cap to Ulbrich/Saleh.
-Coverage made this one happen, situationally.
-3×1 allowed freedom.
-Mosley great job. pic.twitter.com/IVuibAUIEo
— Robby Sabo (@RobbySabo) October 7, 2022
Win the game within the game
Remember, these coaching staffs know one another extremely well. Robert Saleh, Mike LaFleur and Mike McDaniel all came from San Francisco, which means the game within the game will be working silently this Sunday.
Who wins this game between the ears?
Jets vs. Dolphins prediction
- New York Jets 33, Miami Dolphins 21
Yup, that’s right … I have the Jets winning by 12 points.
The Dolphins are incredibly banged up coming into this game—something that should not be overlooked. Although Bridgewater can put forth a valiant effort, Tagovailoa’s absence will be felt.
Even if Howard, Hill and Waddle all dress, injuries are still injuries, and the more banged-up team’s odds decrease when the injuries pile up.
Most importantly, the Jets found something in Pittsburgh last week. Not only was ait a culture-builder in a variety of directions—mainly by way of character and a never-give-up attitude —but the coaching staff also found something strategically.
Saleh should be extremely comfortable in his team’s defensive DNA at this point, which is a coverage-first team that communicates extraordinarily well. And LaFleur found something with Zach Wilson in that fourth quarter— something that allowed the kid to play the middle-of-the-field game mid-RPO and post-play-action via three-step fashion.
I’ll take the home underdogs in stunning fashion: a game that features a first-half two-possession lead with the young franchise quarterback enjoying positive vibes all afternoon.
What Zach Wilson needed was confidence, and that’s exactly what was found last week in Western Pennsylvania.