We interrupt your Braylon Edwards coverage to bring you an actual football game. And it's a pretty big one.
The Dolphins had as much to do with the Jets's need to slip into the playoffs through the back door as any team in 2009. They beat the Jets twice and each time the loss came in embarrassing fashion. The first loss was a result of the Jets' inability to stop the run, especially when the Dolphins ran out of the Wildcat formation, or the pass. They wound up giving up more yards than in any other game in the regular season.
The second matchup went the opposite way. The Jets defense turned in a more typical performance and allowed only 104 yards. The special teams took the night off, however, and allowed a pair of kickoff returns for touchdowns by the now-departed Ted Ginn in a 30-25 loss.
Those losses were painful for all the reasons stated above, but they stung even worse because the Dolphins are a team that, on paper, looks like an easy mark for the Jets. They were weak against the run, Chad Henne wasn't capable of picking apart any other defense and their secondary was awfully susceptible to play action passing. All things that were right in the wheelhouse of the 2009 Jets and all things that remain true as the teams prepare to meet for the first time in 2010.
That means the big question is, how can the Jets expect a different result this time around? Not only have the Dolphins been following the same blueprint to two wins to open the season, they've added a dangerous receiver in Brandon Marshall to give Henne a fighting chance against NFL defenses. The Jets won't have Darrelle Revis to match up against Marshall, which means Antonio Cromartie will have to step up against a player who caused him all kinds of problems when both men played in the AFC West. Cromartie's work against Randy Moss last Sunday gives hope that all will work out well for the Jets, but the Dolphins figure to attack him early and often in order to both induce penalties and set up the running game.
Of course, the Jets might be without an offensive starter as well. We have no idea how much Edwards will play and he picked a pretty bad week to act like an idiot. Edwards was a force in both Miami games last season and played very well against the Patriots last weekend as the Jets opened up the offense and let Mark Sanchez throw the ball down the field. He'll have less success doing that this weekend if Edwards isn't using his size to create mismatches in the secondary, but the play action should still be there if the Jets can attack the weak underbelly of the Dolphins defense on the ground.
Based on what we've seen thus far, the Jets should be able to do just that. And, based on what we've seen thus far, they should be able to easily handle the Dolphins defensively. That makes the prediction as easy to make as it was before the two games last season.
We know how those turned out, however, and that's why we'll stay well clear of making any bold pronouncements about what will happen on Sunday night.