When the Dolphins and the Jets meet up on Sunday night, the stakes will be higher than they have been between these two teams in a while. It’s early in the season, but both of these teams have already shown that they have the ability and potential to make the playoffs out of a tough division, and the winner of this game will be better positioned to do so than the loser. Add that to the fact that these teams just don’t like each other much, and that they both have massive personalities in management roles, and you have the ingredients for a great September game.
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When I first circled this game on my calendar - well before the season started - what I was really excited to see was the inevitable Darrelle Revis - Brandon Marshall showdown. That has failed to materialize thanks to Revis’ injury. The fireworks shouldn’t be much less intense, though, because Antonio Cromartie will step up against Marshall, and he has already played very well this year. It’s not going too far to suggest that this could be the defining matchup of the game. Marshall and Chad Henne have shown increasing chemistry and comfort with each other, and will clearly be the centerpiece of this Miami offense. There would be no better time for them to really break through than in this one.
Miami is a long way from Ann Arbor, but Michigan plays a very prominent role in this game. Henne and left tackle Jake Long are keys to the offensive success for the Dolphins. For the Jets, former Michigan star Braylon Edwards has been the latest distraction for a team overrun with distractions this year. Edwards was nailed for driving under the influence this week. He’ll play, but he’s not starting. He’s coming off a big game in which he helped Mark Sanchez play better than he ever has, so Edwards’ ability to shake off the last week and step up here will be very important. As important will be New York’s ability to stay healthy. They almost wore out the route to the dressing room last week because so many players had to go get checked out after getting banged up. They are a deep squad, but not deep enough to endure more of that.
A couple of New York’s new veterans will provide some potentially interesting storylines here. This is the first time that Jason Taylor has played against the Dolphins. Miami players and fans will surely remind him that they remember him, and that he spent most of his career saying very unflattering things about the Jets. LaDainian Tomlinson will almost certainly make some minor history in this game. He needs just three receiving yards to become just the fifth player in league history to run for 12,000 yards and amass 4,000 receiving yards. Tomlinson has discovered a fountain of youth in New York so far, and will have to be a focus for the Dolphins on defense.
All of that aside, what I am most looking forward to in this one is the battle between Mark Sanchez and the Miami pass rush. Cameron Wake and Koa Misi were stunningly good last week, and they are going to look to rattle the young Sanchez even more than they messed with the ancient Brett Favre. Last week Sanchez was able to get comfortable and he was potent. The week before he was scrambling, and he was terrible. If Wake and Misi can find their way through New York’s protection then Miami will have a good day.
Miami Dolphins vs. New York Jets Betting Odds and Line Movement
This NFL line opened at even, and has slowly moved towards the home team. It is widely available at two, and can be found as high as three in places. That movement has happened despite the fact that a slight majority of bets have been on the Jets - a sign that smart money is slightly oriented towards the Dolphins. The total opened at 35 and has been fairly stable, with only a slight move to 35.5.
Dolphins vs. Jets Betting Trends
The Dolphins are 8-1 ATS in their last nine against the AFC East.
Six of Miami’s last eight home games have gone ‘over’ the total, and another hit the number.
The over is 8-3-1 in New York’s last 12 against the AFC.
The Jets are 6-0 ATS in their last six as road underdogs of a field goal or less.
Dolphins vs. Jets Picks and NFL Predictions
Coming into the season I was very high on the Dolphins and skeptical of the Jets. That hasn’t changed. I was very impressed by what New York did against the Patriots, but very underwhelmed by their effort against Baltimore. Consistency is not a theme we’ll associate with them this year, and I think this is a tough matchup for them. Miami has been solid defensively, and is getting more confident on offense. They are playing with a swagger, and they are going to have a lot going for them here thanks to the crowd. Chad Henne is the better quarterback, and I like the tools he has around him better. I also am more worried about the ability of Sanchez to stand up under the attack he will face than I am about Henne. Miami will win and cover a game that will go ‘over’ the total.