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Game Scout: Jets at Dolphins

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New York Jets (7-8) at Miami Dolphins (8-7)

Sunday, 1:00 p.m. ET, at Sun Life Stadium, Miami Gardens, Fla. - TV: CBS

*TV announcers: Greg Gumbel, Dan Dierdorf

*Keys to the game: No factor in the game is more important for the Dolphins than protecting QB Ryan Tannehill. He was brutalized at Buffalo with seven sacks and had to leave the game briefly. The Jets got Tannehill just once -- the only single-sack game for Miami this season -- on Dec. 1, but New York has 40 this season and should devour and dismiss the Dolphins' ground game. The Jets are counting on the defense to dominate and give QB Geno Smith some margin for error. Smith has 25 turnovers and was benched at halftime last time he saw the Dolphins. RB Chris Ivory posted his first 100-yard game in six weeks against Cleveland in Week 16 and Smith is doing more damage with his legs, rushing for 142 yards and two touchdowns the past three games to compensate for a lousy passing game.

*Matchup to watch - Dolphins RT Tyson Clabo vs. Jets DE Muhammad Wilkerson: The team's leader in sacks with 10.5, Wilkerson was voted by teammates as MVP because of his ability to win on every down. Clabo will need a hand to keep Wilkerson quiet.

*Player spotlight - Dolphins MLB Dannell Ellerbe: Signed to a five-year, $35 million deal in free agency, Ellerbe isn't coming off the field -- he played every snap at Buffalo -- nor is he producing. The Bills rolled up 203 rushing yards and Ellerbe has become a target of opposing quarterbacks.

*Fast facts: The Dolphins' offensive line has allowed a franchise-record 58 sacks after allowing seven at Buffalo. The previous franchise record was 53 sacks allowed in 1969. ... The Jets are 5-0 when Smith's passer rating is 80 or above.

WHO WILL WIN AND WHY

If the Dolphins can resist turning away from their unreliable running game it should preserve a chance to shift into attack mode as necessary, including in the fourth quarter against a weary-legged defense.

*Our pick: Dolphins 23-20
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