By Abraham Gutierrez
With his head-coaching seat in flames, Joe Philbin will likely be sending 2015 NFL schedule-makers an early Christmas gift. That’s because the (1-2) Miami Dolphins being in another continent for their Week 4 showdown with the (2-1) New York Jets might be the best thing that’s happened to Philbin all season long.
Historic Wembley Stadium in London, England, will be the site for the very first divisional clash in NFL history. Opening kickoff is slated for Sunday at 9:30 a.m. and Dolphins and Jets fans can catch all the action live on CBS-Sports.
Dolphins 2015 NFL Season Record
Following a dismal 1-2 start, there are literally hundreds – if not thousands – of social media posts calling for Philbin’s firing under the hash-tag #FirePhilbin. This trending topic began overflowing the airwaves immediately following Miami’s humiliating (14-41) loss at the hands of the Buffalo Bills in last week’s home opener.
Seemingly going through the motions from the opening kickoff until the final whistle, Rex Ryan and the Bills went into Sun Life Stadium and torched Miami in every facet of the game. The end result was a 27-point blowout, and needless to say, South Florida NFL fans were not pleased one bit.
“There’s 13 games left to play,” Philbin said regarding the public’s outcry. “We’re not getting 53 new players. We’re not getting 24 new coaches in here. We’re either going to find the solutions to these problems or not. We’re either going to stick together or not. This is not the time for me to panic.”
Dolphins On Offense
Since his arrival in Miami, Philbin has had one (main) issue to address, the Dolphins’ offensive line. Nevertheless, his inability to build a competent wall in front of Ryan Tannehill – along with some depth – has put the former Green Bay Packers offensive coordinator Between a Rock and a Hard Place in the Sunshine State.
Thus, Miami’s offense enters Week 4 ranked 27th in both, points per game (17) and rushing yards per game (72.2), 18th in total yards per contest (344.3), and their best area is the aerial attack, which is good enough for 10th in the NFL (271.7). Going up against a defense whose only weakness is defending the run, it’s going to be interesting to see what type of gameplan Dolphins’ offensive coordinator, Bill Lazor employs versus the J-E-T-S!
Dolphins On Defense
Prior to the start of the 2015 NFL season, Miami’s defense was projected to take the league by storm. However, with three weeks in the books, the only storm being generated can be found in the Dolphins’ locker room. All indications are that players have no respect for defensive coordinator, Kevin Coyle, which is one of the reasons Dolphins fans are furious, calling for the firing of the 59-year-old from Staten Island, New York.
Earlier this season, it was documented that controversial defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh had defied Coyle’s authority, “ignoring” his play-calls, instead “freelancing” in Miami’s disappointing, 20-23, loss at Jacksonville. Adding insult to injury is the fact that this defense has not been able to stop the run, coming in ranked 30th in the NFL, giving up a whopping 145 rushing yards per game.
But that’s not the only problem area staring at Coyle in the face, as his defense has also been pitiful in yards per game allowed (NFL Rank 26th: 391 yards), ranks 19th in points per game (24.7) and 17th at defending the pass (246). In last week’s home opener, the Fins allowed the Bills to rush for 151 yards and made former sixth round pick (QB) Tyrod Taylor (21-for-29 for 277 yards, 3 TDs and no INTs for a 136.7 QBR) look like Tom Brady, as he completed 72 percent of his passes.
Dolphins Players To Watch
Because Miami is sure to test the Jets’ weakest defensive area, which is the running game, the offensive player to watch is fourth-year running back Lamar Miller. Through three games, the former Miami Hurricane has been mostly ineffective, as he starts Week 4 ranked 37th among NFL running backs, tallying just 105 yards on 30 carries (3.5 yards per rush), and has yet to reach paydirt.
Because the Jets run a spread offense, Miami is sure to put pressure on Ryan Fitzpatrick in order to force turnovers – similar to what the Eagles did in their 24-17 Week 3 victory. Thus, the Dolphins’ defensive players to watch are strong safety Reshad Jones and defensive end Cameron Wake.
Jones starts the Week leading the team in tackles with 32, which is also good enough for third best in the National Football League. Meanwhile, Wake is due to have a breakout game at some point I the near future. Going up against a spread offense might be what the doctor ordered for the four-time Pro Bowler to finally get going. Slowed by injuries, the former Penn State standout starts Week 4 with just one tackle.
Jets vs Dolphins 2015 NFL Week 4 Point Spreads
Despite playing on a neutral field, the New York Jets [-2.5] will be the betting favorites over the Miami Dolphins [+2.5] in front of a sold-out Wembley Stadium crowd. Two-and-a-half points separate these teams in the ATS betting department, while all indications are that NFL oddsmakers believe these old rivals will combine and score a total of 41 points in this one.
Abe Gutierrez’s (Twitter: @GutierrezAbe) passion led him to ditch law school journey in order to launch his own publishing company. His expertise make him a valued addition to Examiner.com, AXS.com and the CBS-Sports family. Some of his work can be found on CBS-Miami (Dolphins), CBS-LosAngeles (Chargers), CBS-BayArea (Raiders), CBS-NewYork (NY Jets), CBS-TampaBay (Buccaneers), AXS.com, Examiner.com and other online publications.