ere we are, just a couple of hours away from the start of the Miami Dolphins final game of the season, and who better to be facing than the New York Jets. Especially when it comes down to being able to knock the Jets out of the playoff hunt.
Earlier today we took look at what happened back in Week 6 when these two teams met, and how ugly it was for the Dolphins. Now, let's look at what we should be watching today.
1 - Daniel Thomas. Rookie running back Daniel Thomas is starting today's game, due to a knee injury 1,000-yard rusher Reggie Bush suffered near the end of the New England Patriots game last weekend. Bush was the lone highlight in the previous Jets/Dolphins game, averaging 7.1 yards per carry on 10 attempts. Thomas is averaging just 3.6 yards per attempt this season, and 46.1 yards per game, appearing in 12 games. He currently sits third among rookie running backs, with 553 yards, but has not found the end zone this season on the ground. Thomas is going to have to be productive today if Miami is going to find any success.
2 - Brandon Marshall vs. Darrelle Revis. Wide receiver Brandon Marshall had his way early in the Week 6 game against Darrelle Revis. Marshall was physical with the cornerback, and it seemed to work, with Revis not being able to stop anything headed to the 2012 Pro Bowl wide out. But, the drops that have plagued Marshall all season came back, and Revis was able to respond, eventually shutting down Marshall. Marshall had a game high 109 yards receiving and 6-receptions, but never scored, thanks to multiple end zone drops. Both of these players are going to be out to prove something this week, and whomever comes out on top, may just lead their team to victory.
3 - Dolphins Offensive Line. I swear, the offensive line has been something to watch every single week this year. But, this week, it might be even bigger. The Dolphins allowed 4 sacks to the Jets in Week 6, and they cannot afford to allow that kind of defensive success again. Meanwhile, All-Pro, and 2012 Pro Bowl starter, Jake Long was placed on injured reserve this week after tearing his right bicep. That should put the oft-maligned John Jerry back in the starting left tackle role, and hopefully he can build off a fairly solid performance against the Buffalo Bills back in Week 15, his first time ever playing on the left side of the offensive line. This should also be the final time any of us have to see Marc Colombo in a Dolphins uniform - and probably on an NFL field. The offensive line has to step up and play well one more week, and try to keep quarterback Matt Moore upright.
4 - First Half vs. Second Half. Multiple times this season, the Dolphins have played extremely well during the first half, only to allow their opponent to dominate the second half, and walk away with the comeback win. It happened last week, as the Dolphins took a 17-0 lead into the half, only to have Tom Brady be Tom Brady, and lead the Patriots back for the 27-24 victory. Miami has to find a way to put together two good halves of football, especially against a team that has to win in order to have a chance at the playoffs. Otherwise, things could get ugly late in Miami this week.
5 - Jason Taylor. Watch the outside linebacker, simply because this is your last chance to watch him. Taylor announced earlier this week that he was retiring after this game. The active leader in sacks, with 139.5, sits in sixth place all time, and with two sacks today could tie Michael Strahan in fifth place. Look for Taylor to get after Mark Sanchez to try to get those sacks. Taylor will give everything he has to try to get the Dolphins a win today - because that's how Taylor has always played. JT will be missed after today, but for one more game, we all get to enjoy watching him on the field.
Prediction - This isn't the same Miami Dolphins teams the Jets played in Week 6. The Dolphins love nothing more than knocking the Jets out of the playoffs (okay, maybe they like being in the playoffs themselves a little more - but that's not happening this season), so I think this is Miami's game. Dolphins 27 - Jets 17.
Record Picking Dolphins Games: 7-8 (Streak - 1 Incorrect)
Record Picking All Games: 152-88