The Miami Dolphins (6-5) will be taking on the New York Jets (2-9) on Monday Night Football. The Jets are playing at home, in primetime, against a division rival. If the Dolphins don't think they are going to get the Jets' best shot then they are sadly mistaken.
Here are five things to watch for when these teams meet tonight at 8:25 pm ET on ESPN:
1. Miami's ability to win in the trenches
I wrote articles on both the offensive and defensive trench battle the Dolphins will face against the Jets, but it's such an important thing against these Jets that I decided to add it into this article.
The Dolphins must win up the battle up front on both sides of the ball versus a physical Jets team if they want to have success. Rex Ryan is the type of coach who loves to play ground-and-pound, control the clock type football. If Ryan's team can run the ball efficiently, finish drives and win the time of possession then the game will have gone exactly according to plan for him.
2. How the Dolphins use Brent Grimes
The Dolphins will be faced with a conundrum when Monday night when they face the Jets with a bare secondary. Three of the Dolphins top five cornerbacks are out for the game. That leaves Pro Bowler Brent Grimes, journeyman RJ Stanford, rookie Walt Aikens and slot cornerback Jimmy Wilson to defend a talented receiving corps of Eric Decker, Percy Harvin and Jeremy Kerley.
It will be interesting to see how the Dolphins elect to use Grimes. Will they let him lock down the left side of the field, like he usually does? Or will the Dolphins decide to mirror Decker or Harvin with Grimes in an attempt to completely take away one of Jets QB Geno Smith's weapons?
3. Dolphins efficiency on early downs
The Dolphins offense will likely depend on how the offense performs on early downs. The Dolphins will be facing a physical Jets front seven that brings exotic blitzes, so staying ahead of the chains and avoiding long third downs, where the Jets aggressive blitzing defense has the advantage, will be key.
4. Redzone efficiency
This is a key every Sunday (or in this case, Monday). The Dolphins have had a recent streak of great redzone efficiency, including a perfect 5-5 performance against the Denver Broncos. If the Dolphins continue this efficient streak then this game should be a blowout considering the Dolphins enter the redzone more than any team in the NFL.
5. A domination
In all honesty, this game should be a domination. This game is an opportunity for the Dolphins to showcase how far they have come since 2013's season ending loss to the Jets, an opportunity I fully expect the Dolphins to take.