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Every week during the season, we’ll scout out the Jets' next opponent. This week, that opponent is the Miami Dolphins.
When the Jets won an ugly overtime game over the Dolphins in Week Three, there weren't too many people with smiles on their faces.
The offense was atrocious and Darrelle Revis was lost for the season with a torn ACL, a pair of things that brought out the gloomiest side of a fan base that's never shied away from the darker side. A month has passed since that game, though, and it's looking a lot better in hindsight.
If they had blown that game in overtime, it's pretty hard to imagine what this team might look like right now. The push to make a change involving Mark Sanchez would have been immense, it would have been harder to rally confidence after the 49ers debacle and there's a fair chance they'd be 1-6.
By winning that pig of a game, though, they've got a chance to finish the first half of the season at 4-4 which looked like a pretty good scenario coming into the season before the injuries to Revis and Santonio Holmes. Things have stabilized and the AFC is setting up to be a big mush entering the stretch run.
The Dolphins are going to be part of that mush. They are 3-3, won two straight going into the bye and the Jets had the good fortune to catch them before they figured out how not to give away games in the final minutes.
That doesn't make them any less of a team that the Jets should be beating, however. They were able to win while playing terribly on the road, so an offensive performance as assured as the one from the last two weeks should be able to put points on the board.
Defensively, the Dolphins are harder to read than they were last time because Ryan Tannehill has started showing the skills that made him a first-round pick. That's given them better balance on offense, although it's not near the level of the Patriots attack that the Jets were able to handle most of the way last week.
It's a game they should win and the Jets aren't good enough to let any of those get away this season. Here's a look at some of the players who will be trying to stop them from getting it.
Up With Tannehill - The secret to Tannehill's success appears to be pretty much the same as the secret of every other quarterback's success: When he doesn't throw interceptions, he wins games. The Dolphins have been keeping things fairly vanilla offensively, but Tannehill is making good decisions and showing the ability to do more than the minimum when the situation calls for it.
Reggie Bush's Revenge - Leading up to the last matchup, Rex Ryan said that the team was going to put some hot sauce on the Dolphins running back and that comment took on a sinister edge when Bush wound up hurting his knee. Bush took that as a prompt to say "what goes around comes around" in regard to Revis' injury, something that's upset Ryan and given a little backstory to Sunday's game.
The Risk of Running - The Dolphins have been awfully hard to run against so far this season, something that can be heavily credited to the amount of attention offenses have to pay to Randy Starks on the defensive line. The Jets will need to handle Starks, assuming he plays after missing practice Wednesday, and find a way to block at the second level to keep the ball moving on the ground.
In Wake's Wake - Defensive end Cameron Wake has been Miami's chief pass rushing option in recent years, but there have been signs that rookie Olivier Vernon is starting to break through as another player you need to watch. The Jets kept things relatively clean in the pocket the last two weeks, doing so again will take more than just shutting down Wake.