By Tyson Rauch
On Sunday the New York Jets (7-8) take on the Miami Dolphins (8-7) down at Sun Life Stadium. The Jets are coming off of an inspiring victory over the Cleveland Browns while the Dolphins were humbled in a shutout out loss to the Buffalo Bills. This match-up between heated division rivals is a “must win” for Miami as the team is tied for the last spot to make the playoffs.
Smash mouth football
The New York Jets offensive approach on Sunday should be built around running back Chris Ivory. The Jets ball carrier is coming off another 100-yard performance and is running with reckless abandon. Ivory’s physical style can wear down a Miami defense that is ranked 25th against the run.
Move Geno around
The Miami defense features several dangerous pass rushers including Olivier Vernon (11.5 sacks) and Cameron Wake (8.5 sacks). The New York Jets offensive line must remain sound in terms of blocking while quarterback Geno Smith uses his legs to buy time in the pocket. Smith must quickly identify pressure and either get rid of the football or run for positive yardage. In addition, offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg can help his young quarterback by using the quick passing game to slow down the pass rush. Three-step drop passes to Jeremy Kerley and Santonio Holmes could put the Miami defenders back on their heels.
Tee off on Tannehill
The Miami Dolphin offense is coming off of a performance where the unit gave up seven sacks and 10 quarterback pressures to the Buffalo Bills defense. The New York Jets defense must follow the same game plan and beat up quarterback Ryan Tannehill. Muhammad Wilkerson (10.5 sacks), Calvin Pace (10 sacks), and Quinton Coples should all be on a mission to get after the Miami signal caller.
Watch out for Wallace
Wide receiver Mike Wallace (68 catches, 905 yards) has emerged as the dangerous playmaker that the Dolphins were desperately looking for. Wallace has rare game-breaking speed that can take over a game if not accounted for at all times. The Jets secondary must play physical with Wallace at the line of scrimmage and avoid mental breakdowns and communication issues. Look for Gang Green to consistently roll coverage to Wallace’s side of the field.
Ryan’s last stand?
According to several published reports the New York Jets appear to be ready to fire head coach Rex Ryan. How will the team react to what could be Ryan’s last game as head coach? Will there be an emotional, physical effort put forth on the field? Or will the team come out flat and disheartened as they play out the string? My guess is that this is going to be a very motivated Jets team that will be taking on the Dolphins on Sunday. Rex Ryan is going to have this team fired up and prepared to knock the Dolphins out of the playoffs. Will the effort be enough to save Rex’s job? That is the million dollar question in Florham Park.
For more Jets news and updates, visit Jets Central.
Tyson Rauch is a freelance writer covering all things NFL. His work can be found on Examiner.com.