Saturday, November 30, 2013

Expect A War With This Edition Of Dolphins vs Jets

We have all heard it before, "Throw the records out the window when these two teams play!"

Sunday marks the 94th meeting between the Jets and Dolphins with the Jets holding a 4 game lead in this series at 48-44-1.

The series has had some historic games including:

 1982 AFC Championship "Mud Bowl" game at the Orange Bowl, when after raining throughout the week leading into the game, the Jets accused Don Shula of removing the tarp from the field and actually watering down the field even more in an effort to slow down the Jets' potent rushing attack. A.J.Duhe intercepted Jets QB Richard Todd 3 times including one for a TD in a 14-0 Miami win.

Dan Marino's fake spike TD pass to Mark Ingram in 1994 at the Meadowlands. The 3rd quarter ended with the Jets holding a 24-6 lead in the game while trailing the division leading Dolphins by one game in the standings. But Dan Marino brought the Dolphins back with three 4th quarter TDs culminating with his famous fake spike pass to Ingram with only 30 seconds left.

All has not gone Miami's way as the Jets beat Miami in OT in the last game of the 1991 season for a winner take all Wild Card spot in the playoffs.

And of course, The Monday Night Miracle, when in 2000 both teams entered the game at 5-1 and were looking for control of the AFC East. Miami held a 30-7 lead going into the 4th quarter. The Jets came back to tie the game at 30 with 3:35 left but 2 plays later Jay Fiedler hit Leslie Shepherd with a bomb to retake the lead. Vinnie Testaverde lead the Jets down the field and with 32 seconds left from the Miami 3 yard line, he found an open tackle eligible Jumbo Elliot, who bobbled the ball as he fell on it for a game tying TD. In OT, Fiedler threw his 3rd interception of the game and set the Jets up for the game winning field goal.

There have been low scoring affairs and wide open high scoring games like the 1986 game in which Dan Marino and Ken O'Brien combined for an NFL single game record with combined passing yardage of 884 yards and 10 TDs in a wild 51-45 Jet OT win that included Wesley Walkers TD pass reception with no time left on the clock to force OT.

Sunday's game sets up to be another war as both teams' weaknesses play into the other teams' strengths. Miami is struggling running the ball and the Jets front 7 is very stout. Tannehill threw for over 300 yards last week not counting the sacks and the Jets pass defense is anemic at best. The Dolphins lead the league in getting sacked with 44 and the Jets are near the top getting 38 from their defense.

The Jets are averaging 127 yards per game rushing the ball and Miami is giving up that much. The Jets passing attack is nonexistant while Miami's Defensive backs are playing very well and they can get after the QB too. The Jets are also at -16 in turnover margin.

So what does this all mean? If the Jets can run the ball and wear down Miami's defense, the Dolphins could be looking at a very long afternoon. On the other hand, if Miami can keep Tannehill upright, he will be able to exploit the Jets secondary.

The cold weather could factor in if Miami's offense is sidelined for great lengths of time however the wind will not be a factor.

Its hard to figure how this game can go. If Miami's offensive and defensive lines play well, Miami should win handily. If they both don't then the Jets should win handily. Somewhere in between is probably where we are headed.

This you can know for sure, this will be a very hard hitting game. Both teams need this game bad and consider it a playoff game as the winner will go to 6-6 and remain tied in the wild card hunt while the loser will fall to 5-7 and trail not only in the win column but also in the tie breakers.

If this game comes down to a field goal, who do you trust more? The Jets Nick Folk or the Dolphins Caleb Sturgis?

If field position is the determining factor, then Miami's league leading punter Brandon Fields could be the game's MVP again as he was in the 2008 season finale when both teams played for the Division Championship.

My prediction: Miami 17-13

Godspeed to the DolfansNYC who are taking up 2 full sections at the game with their #MetLifeTakeover. May they have safe journey and a lot to cheer about.

Phins Up!!!

Carl Leone
Dolfan since 12/25/1971
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