The last time these two bitter rivals met things were quite different, Revis and Holmes were both in the lineup, Dustin Keller was out and well the Dolphins just weren’t the same team they are today. The two teams meet again for the 2nd and final time this season and both teams have plenty on the line. At 3-4 the Jets find themselves in a bit of a whole but not out of the playoff situation with the weak AFC should they be able to come up with the big home win and the Dolphins are in the thick of the playoff situation really have a chance to make a statement and move to 4-3 and capture their 3rd win in a row.
The Phins have more confidence and are starting to play as a unit on both sides of the field. This week should be a gritty and most likely ugly football game. Here are two pretty big X Factors for both teams that could help their team gain an advantage and maybe a huge Week 8 win.
Jets: Dustin Keller
If there is one thing the Dolphins don’t do well its cover tight ends. Despite Karlos Dansby improving in his coverage skills the past couple of weeks, the idea of Keller back in the lineup is a scary thought for the Dolphins. While it’s hard to associate the word scary in a positive way for the Jets offense, Keller is Sanchez’s safety blanket and favorite target. The Dolphins have to find a way to shut down Keller, but that won’t be easy as he has torched this team in the past.
In 2011 Keller had 9 catches for 96 yards and a TD against the Phins and in 2010 he has 9 catches for132 yards and 2 TD’s. Shutting down Keller would most likely leave Sanchez having to force the ball as it is doubtful the Jets will be able to form a running game against this Dolphins front. However if Keller can be successful it could also open up the field for Sanchez.
When Sanchez is under pressure he generally crumbles. The Dolphins can get Sanchez exactly where they want him if they can slow down 81 in Green.
Dolphins: A 3rd passing option for Ryan Tannehill
The Dolphins are hoping to get Jabar Gaffney into the lineup this week and his veteran experience and solid hands should provide a lift for the Dolphins offense. Gaffney might be a little rusty as it is his first game back since a major injury and it was rumored that he struggled with the playbook, that being said Gaffney is a clear upgrade to everything Miami has had at W3. Gaffney brings another option which could be critical against the Jets.
Hartline, Tannehill’s favorite target most of the season, had an average performance against the Jets in their first appearance shut down for most of the game for the exception of a late game excellent catch down the sidelines. That being said Hartline has struggled elite corners and hate to say it but Cromartie is pretty dam good and has only upped his play since Revis went down.
If the Dolphins can find a 3rd option it would make Hartline and Bess’s life much easier as they wouldn’t be getting all the attention.
Another option for Tannehill might be Charles Clay who has struggled like last year to really breakthrough but has the potential to be a matchup problem for the Jets.
From Armando, Mike Sherman said Charles Clay is “guy who could really help us” and points to him as having to step up to get more out of him and from Omar, Mike Sherman said the Dolphins need to get more from Charles Clay. “I’d like to see him step up and become a bigger factor.”
Clearly the Dolphins would like Clay to be more involved.