MONDAY NIGHT FIGHT
MIAMI vs NEW YORK
Monday, October 12, 2009 4:05PM
The Dolphins look to "Orangeout" the Jets on Monday night
The last time the Dolphins played the Jets was Week 17 last season when the Miami Dolphins beat the Jets in New York to win the AFC East division. The game featured a storyline that would excite many as former Jet Quarterback Chad Pennington would lead the Miami Dolphins to fight the New York Jets led by Brett Favre for the division. Chad Pennington was brilliant in this game and led the Dolphins to a win over the Jets in which the Dolphins controlled a majority of the game. A lot has changed since then. The 2008 NFL Comeback Player of the Year Chad Pennington and the iconic Favre no longer lead these teams; Pennington was put on the IR after suffering a shoulder injury against the San Diego Chargers and Brett Favre retired again….and than he came back …again. The Dolphins are led by second year Quarterback Chad Henne who the front office is very keen on; Henne a four year starter at the University of Michigan shows great poise and control and has a big-time arm that Miami fans haven’t seen since Dan Marino parted in 1999. Henne has made one career start and wasn’t asked to do too much but looked very polished for his first NFL start and converted 6 of 9 3rd downs in the air. Mark Sanchez was the story of the first Quarter of the season; he led the Jets to a big win over Tom Brady and the New England Patriots. Sanchez has shown some serious play making ability but last week against the New Orleans Saints was a disaster for Sanchez and the Jets. Sanchez repeatedly turned the ball over and was responsible for two score for the Saints’ defense. The Jets also have a new sheriff in town in former Ravens Defensive Coordinator Rex Ryan. Rex Ryan has been doing a lot of barking but his team seems to respond pretty well to it. The Jets defense looks full of energy and I am sure they plan on blitzing the inexperienced Chad Henne. Ryan also had a war of words this off-season with Dolphins linebacker Channing Crowder. They both did a lot of barking but the talking is over and it’s time to walk the walk.
The Jets come in as 1 point favorites but the game is Miami and the Dolphins will wear their alternate Orange Jersey’s which they hold a record of 2-0 while wearing. The crowd will be into the game coming off of a home game where the Dolphins destroyed another divisional rival in the Buffalo Bills. The Jets defense is good and they will get a returning Calvin Pace for the game but their secondary is a little banged up. Donald Strickland and Lito Shepherd are beat up so this should make things a big easier for Henne. The Dolphins traded away Samson Satele to the Oakland Raiders and signed Jake Grove to replace him for situations like this Monday Night. Whole Satele struggled with big nose tackles such as Kris Jenkins, Jake Grove seem to have much better success. The Dolphins Offensive Line in general improved big-time as the Miami Dolphins have the number one ranked rushing offense in the league. The offensive line has been very physical and should find some good success against a Jets defense that gives up 103 yards on the ground per game. The line must improve in their pass blocking however as they have given up 12 sacks in just 4 games. The two headed monster in the backfield which is Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams will be key to the Dolphins success. Ronnie Brown is an elite player in this league and is well on his way to another Pro-Bowl season. He was on a prime-time stage just two weeks ago hen he dominated the Colts in front of the world. Ricky Williams has a lot of gas left in the tanks as well as he has been running harder than ever and right now is capable of starting on half the teams in the league. The Dolphins receivers need to step up and help Chad Henne. Ted Ginn Jr. is the definition of inconsistent and Anthony Fasano has been missing in Miami. Speaking of inconsistent the Jets traded for Braylon Edwards Wednesday Morning. Two years ago Edwards was a Pro-Bowl player but the last year and a half the guy has been nothing. Edwards for my money is very over-rated as he lacks great speed and can’t catch the ball. Jets fans are dancing around town due to the move and he is a better option than Chansi Stuckey but to think he is going to make a big impact in this game is ludicrous.
The biggest key to the game which is even more important than the Dolphins offensive line vs. the Pass Rush of the Jets is whether the Miami Dolphins can put pressure on rookie Mark Sanchez. The Saints proved that Sanchez struggles under pressure as any young Quarterback would. The emergence of Cameron Wake, the revival of Jason Taylor, and the return of Joey Porter gives the Dolphins serious pass-rushing threats. Let’s look at this matchup by team statistics….
The Jets have the advantage in overall defense as they have the 4th ranked defense in comparison to the Dolphins defense which is ranked 10th. The Jets pass defense which is ranked 5th in the NFL is much better than the Dolphins 24th ranked pass defense but rookie Sean Smith and Vontae Davis are clearly growing into good players. The Dolphins have the #2 ranked defense against the run in which the Jets are ranked 13th. The running game will play a major factor in Monday night’s game. Ronnie Brown is the best Offensive Player in the game and seems to be running better than ever so I expect him to touch the rock early and often. The Jets defense is very aggressive and letting Pat White run the Wild-Cat could be a recipe for some big plays for the Dolphins offense. Dustin Keller has potential to kill the Dolphins like Dallas Clark and Antonio Gates have done previously this season.
The Dolphins have the #1 rushing attack in the league and the Jets and Dolphins both find their self at the bottom of the league in pass offense. These statistics clearly show that these teams are both very similar; young Quarterbacks lead them and both teams are very physical. In my opinion this game is going to be a dog fight and points won’t come easy. I fully expect both Sanchez and Henne to make a few mistakes and at the end of the night I think Ronnie Brown asserts himself as a player in the upper echelon in the league and haves himself a very good night. I think Dan Henning will have a good game plan and will use the Jets’ aggressiveness against them. I see the Dolphins squeaking this one out 20-17 and getting themselves back into the AFC playoff race. I challenge the fans of the Miami Dolphins to make the stadium a pool of Orange, be loud, and make it difficult for Mark Sanchez. The 12th man plays a major factor in these games when young players are starting so if we can cause some flags on their Offense we give our team the advantage. Go Dolphins!
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