The Miami Dolphins (3-2) are looking to avenge their Week 2, 20-6 loss to the New York Jets on Sunday and they will need all hands on deck if they hope to come away with a win.
The Dolphins have been stellar on defense but the offense has left much to be desired this season. While they had some semblance of an awakening during their second-half comeback against the Atlanta Falcons last Sunday, the Dolphins offense is either last, or near last in the NFL in every major statistical category.
The Dolphins are last in the NFL in points per game (12.2), yards per game (242.8), passing yards per game (155.4) and No. 27 in the NFL in rushing yards (87.4).
The Dolphins’ offense will need to be more productive against a stingy Jet’s defensive front that limited them to just 30-yards rushing in their first meeting. The Dolphins have Super Bowl ambitions, but a bad outing on offense and another los to the Jets could spell doom for their postseason aspirations.
Here are five things to watch in the Dolphins Week 6 match-up vs. the Jets:
1. More 12 personnel
The Dolphins have had a great deal of success running the football with two and three tight end sets and they’d be remiss to deviate from what works. The Dolphins enjoy going up-tempo on offense but their incessant need to substitute due to their inability to run the football out of 11 personnel has proven to be an impediment to the pace they desire to play with. The Dolphins will need to sacrifice tempo in order to get the personnel they need on the field to move the football on the ground.
2. Misdirection with speed
The Jets’ defense is an incredibly stout group and running into the teeth of that defense down in and down out could prove to be difficult through four quarters. One way the Dolphins can keep the Jets’ defense off balance is by running misdirection plays with speed players such as Jakeem Grant and Kenyan Drake. The purpose of running misdirection with your fastest players is to exploit a defense’s slight hesitation when attempting to locate the football. The Dolphins could benefit from using their fair share of reverses and counter plays.
3. Run Scheme variations
The Dolphins were able to successfully switch up their run schemes last week as they utilized some gap scheme in conjunction with their usual zone-blocking scheme. The Dolphins are known for their stretch and outside zone calls but they will need to vary their rushing attack again in order to have success on the ground against the Jets. The Dolphins’ passing game is predicated off of play action and they must see a modicum of success on the ground in order to get their vertical passing game on track.
4. Time to jam
The Dolphins’ defensive backs definitely need to do a better job of getting their hands on Jets receivers to throw of their timing with quarterback Josh McCown. McCown did an exceptional job of getting rid of the football quickly to avoid pressure from Ndamukong Suh and Cameron Wake in their first meeting of the season. It is incumbent upon the Dolphins to avoid giving Jets’ receivers free releases, which will enable McCown to settle into a rhythm.
5. Xavien Howard’s first career interception
Dolphins’ coaches have highlighted Howard’s increased confidence and this could very well be the week Howard comes away with his first career interception. The Dolphins’ defensive front will get pressure on McCown throughout the entire contest which means Howard and rookie cornerback Cordrea Tankersley can sit on underneath routes and occasionally anticipate routes. Howard could step in front of a Jets’ wide receiver for an interception if McCown feels pressured and is forced to become predictable as a result.