The Dolphins Better Be Ready on Sunday

Maybe I’m overthinking things as a fan, but playing a winless team late in the season makes me nervous. The reason being is anything can happen on any given Sunday in this league and going 0-16 is almost as difficult as going 16-0. I realize on paper the Miami Dolphins are clearly better than the New York Jets, but you don’t want to be the first team to lose to a winless team. I worry about a young team, like the Dolphins, in the playoff hunt not taking the winless Jets seriously. Could the Dolphins have a letdown and lose on the road to a team they are better than on paper? Just like they did vs Denver last week?

In the past month, the Jets played both the Buffalo Bills and New England Patriots tough at Metlife Stadium and could have and you can make the case should have won those games. The Bills, right now, are the best team in the division. They didn’t even score an offensive touchdown in that game. They settled for 6 field goals and had many penalties, but the Jets could only muster 2 yards of offense in the second half and the defense got worn out. Only 2 yards of offense in one half is hard to do, heck you can trip and pick up 2 yards by mistake.

The Jets then had the Patriots on the ropes in the 4th quarter leading 27-17. The Patriots have been going through the motions in this post Tom Brady era especially on offense, but they found a way to score just enough in the fourth quarter to win 30-27.

I realize the Dolphins just shutout the Jets last month 24-0, but the Dolphins didn’t play their best game that week. In fact, they were at times sloppy especially on offense with some turnovers and not taking advantage of field position. The Jets made a lot of silly mistakes that could have made the game closer. The Dolphins have to play a better game if they expect to beat New York this Sunday.

They especially have to play better on offense. The Dolphins are coming off a disappointing performance against the Denver Broncos. Rookie quarterback Tua Tagovailoa looked rattled and was eventually benched. This will be a good test to see how he responds. The Jets don’t have a lot of talent, but we’ll see what schemes defensive coordinator Greg Williams throws at Tagovailoa. Williams is a terrific defensive coordinator and I’m sure he’ll try to copy cat what Denver did in some form. How Tagovailoa and the offense responds will be interesting.

The Dolphins’ defense got pushed around by the Broncos last week especially with those trap and sweep plays. I don’t expect the Jets to do that because coach Adam Gase, as we know, is stubborn with his offense. If it stinks he blames execution on the players, not the scheme. The thing that worries me about the Jets is their passing game is starting to come around now that their top three wide receivers are healthy in Denzel Mims, Jamison Crowder, and Breshad Perriman. In fact, in the last game, the Jets had a couple of chances to make big plays early in the game and missed. The Dolphins’ defensive backs have to be ready and not let up. The Dolphins’ defensive front has a clear advantage over the Jets offensive line and they have to get on them from the get-go.

The Dolphins are coming off a tough loss to the Broncos so I think they will be ready. However, this is the type of game a young team could overlook and get caught napping. If the Dolphins are going to be taken seriously in the playoff race they don’t lose this game. If they lose to the winless Jets, then all of the progress this team has made in year two of a rebuild gets overlooked and everyone is looking towards next year. The Dolphins can’t afford another skittish performance because the Jets could be prime for an upset if they come out flat.