Okay, okay, no one really expects a lot of 70 yard TD throws in the type of weather that is being projected for this game, but I thought I would toss this out there. Because, while this game will PROBABLY not be a high scoring air show, we could easily be looking at a scenario similar to what we saw last week in KC... a game in which the defense is ineffective, and the offense has to score to win.
So my real question to you is, what type of game are you expecting?
Here is why I bring this up - I posted last month about the problems the Fins have defending the spread formations, and we have seen this consistently, even up to our last game at KC. Matty points out that the Jets have the personnel to effectively run a spread most of the game, so why would anyone think that Mangina would not try to exploit this weakness?
I think he will. This game plan lends itself well to the short passing and running game we will probably see if it is raining and windy. And I don't see any reason to believe that the Dolphins D has suddenly become proficient at defending a well called "Spread-the-Field" attack.
So what does this mean for the game?
Let's be honest here... if the Dolphins could script the entire game, this would be a low scoring, ToP, power football game. These are the kind of games the Fins win. They haven't typically done well when they get down by a few scores and have to speed the game up to catch up. So I absolutely expect the Dolphins to try and control the tempo and slow the game. I also expect the Dolphins to get creative with the running game, using the Wildcat to bring as much power to the point of attack as possible, and maybe some more reverses to keep the Jets off balance and slow the defensive pursuit a step. Simple, straight forward Dolphins football.
The problem is, I don't see the Jets playing into our type of game. First, I think the Jets will spread 'em out and run it. Our OLB will have to be very active in helping to set the edges and keep things inside. With Washington, the Jets can get our D-line flowing one way, then run counters and cut backs against the flow. This will be especially effective on a wet field. We have to stop the run out of the spread, or we are going to have problems...... As for the passing game, a spread O doesn't mean Brett the Jet will throw 40-50 times during the game. But it DOES mean that he will have to throw the ball in order to open up the run, AND it means he will have to make good decisions on every play. Favre will generally have 3 receiving options plus a dump off guy, at minimum. He will also have less time to make those decisions, IF our D line performs well, and the blitzes are timed right. Pressure on Favre will be key. But Favre is not a "dink and dunk" kind of guy, and Mangina will have to convince him to look for the underneath stuff to be successful.
Second, I think the more Brett puts the ball in the air, the more opportunity for picks. That won't mean he doesn't put points on the board as well, but I think that every pick Favre throws will erode his confidence and push him more into "gunslinger mode", which is exactly where we want him.
So how do we end up with a 10-7 game? I don't think we do. If the Jets turn the ball over, I believe we will convert for points. I think one of two things happens.
1) Favre plays within himself, and the Jets will be able to score on our Defense... which forces our Offense to step up and answer. Result? A Kansas City type game where we match scores into the 30's. Then we have to hold the ball in the fouth quarter to win, as usual. :)
2) We rattle Favre, he turns the ball over, we score and get ahead, which makes Favre press more (you see where this is headed?), which results in more TOs, etc. etc. The result? A Dolphins blow out, like, in the neighborhood of 42-7.
Whichever way it goes, after last week at KC, isn't it good to feel like the Dolphins can win either type of game!
What about you? What type of game do YOU think we are going to see on Sunday? How do you see it play out?