A week ago, this Sunday’s Jets-Dolphins matchup at MetLIfe didn’t seem to weigh heavily in the Jets’ favor.
Despite losing its first game of the season, Miami (3-1) seemed to still loom as a relative favorite, even though it lost rising quarterback Tua Tagovailoa to a concussion in the first loss of the season to Cincinnati. All signs pointed to the Jets having a difficult day in Pittsburgh with the struggling Steelers.
Fortunately for the Jets, their fate quickly changed.
Quarterback Zach Wilson made his season debut and staged a furious and late fourth-quarter rally, going 6-for-6 in the process. Rookie running back Breece Hall sealed the game with a 2-yard, fourth-quarter plunge that stunned the Steelers with a 24-20 victory and evened their record at 2-2.
Suddenly, the matchup with the Dolphins is seen in a different vein with the Jets in position to take a crucial home and divisional victory at home before they hit the road for two consecutive weeks at Green Bay and Denver.
Miami will be led by one-time Jet Teddy Bridgewater, who had some struggles when he took over for Tagovailoa.
It certainly will be an interesting matchup with both teams needing a victory to stay in the hunt.
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N.Y. Jets vs. Miami Dolphins Betting Odds
The Jets are playing at home, and the Dolphins are likely going to play without QB Tua Tagovailoa, but that hasn’t stopped oddsmakers from making Miami the favorite in this game.
Down The Field
The Jets are tied for fifth in the league in explosive plays — those of 16 yards or longer — with a total of 33. Twenty-five of those have come via the pass and eight from the run.
The Jets have eight players with at least one reception that qualifies as an explosive play. Hall and fellow rookie Garrett Wilson have led the way with seven and five plays respectively. They also have at least one explosive play in each game.
Tight end Tyler Conklin, and wide receivers Corey Davis, Elijah Moore, and Wilson all averaged more than 14.5 yards per catch against Pittsburgh. It marked the fifth time a Jets’ offense recorded such a feat since 2000.
In the fourth quarter this season, the Jets have ranked in the top 10 in the league in several categories. They are fifth in points (9.3), sixth in yards per play (6.1), seventh in passing completion (65.8), second in passing touchdowns (4), and seventh in passer rating (97.7).
A Closer Look at Each Team
The Jets’ offense is in better shape this season than most recent ones as it ranks eighth in total offense (364.5 yards per game) and fourth in passing offense (277), but 28th in rushing offense (87.5). The Jets are tied for 16th in scoring offense (19.0) and have allowed 10 sacks. The big offensive numbers can be attributed to Joe Flacco’s aerial attack three the first three games.
Wilson was a mediocre 18-for-36 for 252 yards and two interceptions last week. However, he was more in sync late in the game. Hall emerged as the lead back everyone thought he could be with 66 yards on 17 carries, while Michael Carter was stuffed with 15 yards. Davis has been the team’s main threat so far, and he had five catches last week. Look for Moore to be nutlitized more with Wilson back, as the two have good chemistry.
The Dolphins are ranked third in passing offense averaging 291.8 yards, but they also have had trouble running the ball (69.3, 29th). They rank 10th in total offense (361) and have allowed seven sacks.
Bridgewater was 14 of 23 for 193 yards with a touchdown and an interception last week. The Jets will need to camp down on wide receiver and all-around threat Tyreek Hill, who has had a slow start with 31 catches for 477 yards and two touchdowns. Hill had 10 catches in the previous game against the Bengals. Running back Raheem Mostert has a modest 147 yards rushing.
Kicker Greg Zuerlein continues to be solid, converting seven of eight field goal attempts.
This Jets’ unit has improved, as it is ranked 10th overall in the league, allowing 326.5 yards per contest. The Jets have given up an average of 217.8 yards passing (15th) and 108.8 yards rushing. In addition, they have eight sacks, and their third-down defense is ranked 31st (51%), two areas that need to improve.
Linebacker CJ Mosley has a team-high 41 tackles, and safety LaMarcus Joyner has two of the six interceptions. Joyner had both against Pittsburgh last week when the Jets intercepted four.
Rookie corner and top pick Sauce Gardner has made his presence felt with five pass breakups.
Miami’s defense has slipped, as it is ranked 28th overall (403 yards per game). The Dolphins have allowed 299.3 yards per game against the pass (31st), but they have been somewhat stingy against the run with 103.8 (11th). The Dolphins have recorded seven sacks and are 30th in third-down conversions (50%). Their red-zone defense is ranked 20th.
Jerome Baker and Brandon James each have a team-high 31 tackles and Melvin Ingram has two sacks.
Series History and Injuries
This has been a storied series that has had too many memorable games. Coming into this game, the Dolphins narrowly lead the series 56-55-1 with the Dolphins winning the last four meetings. The Jets’ last win was 22-21 at MetLife on Dec. 8, 2019. New York has won two of its last six home games against Miami.
The Jets are relatively healthy only having rookie tackle Max Mitchell (knee) and linebacker Quincy Williams (ankle), who both will be out.
The Dolphins have a healthy list of players who likely will miss the game – tackle Terron Armstead (toe) tight end Cathan Carter (concussion), cornerbacks Keion Crossen (shoulder) and Xavien Howard (groin), lineman Robert Jones (back), and wide receive Jaylen Waddle (groin). Tagovailoa has a concussion, and Ingram had vet rest during the week.
The key here will be Zach Wilson. If he can have the game he had in the fourth quarter spread over four quarters against Miami, the Jets will be in good shape. The Jets’ defense will need a creative game plan to rattle and harass Bridgewater. If Tagovailoa was playing, the Jets would have a stiff challenge. With the Jets (+3) getting points at home, it looks like a good play here. J-E-T-S, 27-20
AP Photo/Matt Durisko