The first four games of the NFL season are over, and the Miami Dolphins had one of the most demanding schedules coming into the season. They played three teams that were in the playoffs last year and another that is expected to contend, barring injury. Now the schedule is lightening up, and it’s expected the Dolphins should be able to win some more games, especially after going 3-1 in the gauntlet part of the schedule. Not so fast, my friends. 

Yes, the schedule lightens up, and if you go by records and teams the Dolphins play on paper, the Dolphins are the better team. However, games are won on the field and not on paper. If games were won on paper, the Dolphins wouldn’t have gone 3-1 in the first four games. Some didn’t think the Dolphins would win a game in the first 4. 

It starts this Sunday against the New York Jets in the Meadowlands. Yes, I know it’s Metlife, but it will always be the Meadowlands in my mind. The Jets are coming off a 4-13 season and have improved their roster with some good young talent. The Jets are also 2-2 and coming off a comeback win on the road against the Pittsburgh Steelers. Say what you want about the Steelers as a team this year, but going to Pittsburgh and winning there is no easy task. The Jets have some good young players on offense in Garrett Wilson, Breece Hall, and Elijah Moore, which could give the Dolphins defense problems, especially if Xavien Howard doesn’t play. They also have an excellent promising cornerback in rookie Ahmad Garner and pass rusher Jermaine Johnson on defense. They also have second-year quarterback Zach Wilson, who has promise and can move around; the Dolphins need to keep him in the pocket and pressure him. The Jets will be fired up for this game because it’s their first game in the division, and it’s at home. The Jets haven’t won a game in the division in the last two years, and they want to prove that they can compete in this division.  

[pickup_prop id=”26752″]

This is their first road game in the division for the Dolphins, and division games on the road can be very tricky. I grew up with the Jets-Dolphins rivalry. My brother is a Jets fan, and I’m a Dolphins fan. When these two teams played, throw out the records. These teams have played a lot of great games and close games. I know the rivalry has kind of dampened the last few years, but it’s a long history between these two teams. 

There are two reasons why this game makes me nervous this Sunday. First, the Dolphins are playing with their backup quarterback Teddy Bridgewater, and yes, he has the experience, has been a starter in this league, and was a former first-round pick. However, the reality is this is a new offense for him, and we don’t know what we will get with him. There’s a reason no one signed him to challenge for a starting job. Bridgewater has some good qualities and has a good arm, so he should be able to make some plays, but will he make a mistake in a critical moment of the game like the one last week against the Cincinnati Bengals, when the team was in a position to take the lead in the 4th quarter potentially. He threw an interception that gave away the team’s chance to win the game. The Dolphins should be fine with Bridgewater, but you never know especially playing on the road. 

The other reason is the Dolphins’ defense doesn’t look right. Yes, they have injuries in the secondary, with Howard and Byron Jones, still on the physically-unable-to-perform list. The Dolphins’ defense isn’t getting the pressures on the quarterback or forcing turnovers that this defense is known for. Outside of the interception on the first series against the New England Patriots in the season opener, the Dolphins have no interceptions and three forced fumbles. The Dolphins only have seven sacks through 4 games and have been inconsistent in getting pressure. The Jets have injuries on their offensive line, so maybe that could change this week, but the same was supposed to happen against the Bengals, which never materialized. The Dolphins have to bring the heat on the Jets and their 2nd-year quarterback Wilson to force him to make some mistakes. If not, the injuries in the secondary will leave them vulnerable to giving up some big plays or keeping drives alive. 

 The Dolphins should be fine in this game, but you never know when you are playing a division rival on the road. The Jets will be motivated to win their first division game in 3 years and have the home crowd behind them. Can the Dolphins match their energy to play?