By Tyson Rauch
On Sunday, the New York Jets (7-8) finish up their season with a division match-up against the Miami Dolphins (8-7). New York will be looking to play the role of spoiler, as Miami must secure a victory in order to stay in the hunt for a postseason berth. In addition, Gang Green could be playing for their coach’s job as Rex Ryan is reportedly on the chopping block once the season ends.
Ground and pound
The New York Jets offense will look to take advantage of a Dolphin’s run defense that is ranked 25th in the National Football League. Running backs Chris Ivory and Bilal Powell should be able to wear down the Miami defense, which will then open up play action pass opportunities.
Buy Geno time
The Miami Dolphin defense features two pass rushers that can disrupt an offense. Olivier Vernon (11.5 sacks) and Cameron Wake (8.5) must be contained in order to effectively establish a passing attack. Look for the Jets to utilize a short passing game to help keep the defense off balance and to get Geno Smith in sync.
Tee off on Tannehill
The Miami offensive line continues to struggle as they have given up a league-high 58 sacks. The New York front seven, led by Muhammad Wilkerson, Calvin Pace, and Quinton Coples, should be able to establish a consistent pass rush. The goal for the Jets defense will be to apply pressure without exotic blitz packages.
Improved secondary play
The Jets secondary will be tested as the Dolphins have several playmakers that are dangerous after the catch (Clay, Wallace, Hartline). Gang Green must remain consistent in coverage and avoid mental breakdowns and blown assignments. Keep an eye on the play of defensive back Antonio Cromartie, who continues to deal with a hip injury.
Rex’s last stand?
According to several published reports, New York Jets head coach Rex Ryan may be fired on Monday. Ryan has become the face of the Jets franchise and it would not be surprising to see the team rally around their leader. Expect to see an aggressive and physical game plan and performance from Gang Green. Will it be enough to save the head coach’s job? Many lifelong fans of the team surely hope so. Rex Ryan and the Jets have overachieved in many aspects this season.
CB Ellis Lankster (jaw)
LB Quinton Coples (shoulder), S Ed Reed (rest), WR Santonio Holmes (hamstring), TE Kellen Winslow (knee), DT Sheldon Richardson (finger), CB Antonio Cromartie (hip), DT Kenrick Ellis (back), C Nick Mangold (toe), T Austin Howard (knee), RB Chris Ivory (ankle), LB Demario Davis (thumb)
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Tyson Rauch is a freelance writer covering all things NFL. His work can be found on Examiner.com.