Miami Dolphins (0-2) at New York Jets (0-2)
Well I've been saying it for the past 2 weeks and I'm saying it again this week. The Dolphins must run the damn ball on Sunday to win this game. It's plain and simple. Luckily, Cam Cameron has finally come to the same conclusion, as he said on Thursday that the Dolphins have to run the ball more. His exact quote was, "We need to run the ball more. We need to run the ball better, and I think it's very obvious." Alright, now we are getting somewhere.
And the thing you need to remember, which I pointed out in one of yesterday's posts, was that Ronnie Brown runs effectively against the Jets. Last year, he rushed it 40 times in 2 games, gaining 237 yards and scoring a touchdown. Also, keep in mind that in one of those two games, Ronnie was rusty as he was coming back from missing 3 games with the hand injury and was still able to carry it 18 times for 110 yards (in the rain, by the way), which comes out to over 6 yards per carry.
Then I think you need to consider how poor the Jets rush defense has been, ranking 23rd in the league so far in 2007. Clearly, there are holes in this 3-4 defensive front that Eric Mangini continues to run. They get no push in the trenches and their linebackers just aren't suited to be very successful in a 3-4 system. However, Mangini is stubborn and will not change no matter how ineffective the team continues to be against the run. So the Dolphins need to take advantage of this and pound Ronnie Brown. Let him get 20-25 carries, taking some pressure off of the passing game. Here's my bold prediction of the week: If Ronnie gets at least 25 carries against the Jets on Sunday, the Dolphins will win the game. Period.
The Jets pass defense is also questionable. Last week, despite holding the Ravens to under 200 yards through the air, they still allowed Kyle Boller to complete 65% of his passes and throw for 2 touchdowns. If Boller can be that successful with receivers that are just as talented, if not a little less talented, than the Dolphin receivers, then Trent Green should be able to find some success as well.
So far this season, Chris Chambers has played quite well despite all the negativity that surrounded him this offseason. I, for one, never doubted him. He clearly has the talent to be a legitimate #1 receiver in this league. This week, he'll be covered by either David Barrett or rookie Darrelle Revis. Revis looks very promising and will probably go on to be a very solid, if not elite, cornerback in this league. However, if I'm a Jets fan, I'm worried about putting Revis on Chambers. But considering Barrett is the only other viable option, as Andre Dyson is questionable to play, I'd imagine it will be Revis on Chambers and I like that matchup bigtime.
One thing that will greatly benefit the Dolphins in this game is that the Jets completely lack any pass rush. They are yet to record a sack this season and they really don't hurry the QB all too often, either. Despite last week's game, Trent Green can pick apart a defense when given the time. So two things could play out here. One, the Jets will continue to get no pressure on the QB, allowing Green to have all day in the pocket, get nice and comfortable, and efficiently pick apart the Jets' defense. Or the Jets will blitz more often and put their corners in bad situations where Chambers, Marty Booker, or even (dare I say) Ted Ginn can get behind the defense for big plays. If I had to guess, I'd say the Jets are more likely to blitz in this game. So let's hope the receivers can make some big plays when the chances arise.
Oh, and you really can't talk about the Jets defense without mentioning one of the most underrated players in the NFL: Kerry Rhodes. Rhodes is really an elite safety that just doesn't get any love from the media for some reason. Last season, he definitely should have made the Pro-Bowl, but was left off the team. He's a ballhawk in the secondary who can really lay the lumber when he gets a shot. He also is a very good blitzer and the Dolphins will have to make sure they know where he is at all times.
And one last thing. Can this week be the week we finally see something out of Ted Ginn? I mean anything at all? Maybe he can break a return and get across midfield. Maybe he can catch a few passes, even if they aren't big gainers. Anything, really. How about that?