Jets vs. Dolphins Week 11 pick and prediction

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Joe Flacco sets to throw in green Jets uniform
Joe Flacco sets to throw in green Jets uniform

Miami Dolphins (3-7) at JETS (2-7)

Sunday, 1 p.m.

Spread: Dolphins -3

The maddening, confusing quarterback carousel has made for a nice storyline the last few weeks, but it doesn’t tell the tale of the Jets’ recent struggles. That story has been written by an absolutely abysmal defense that has been a complete failure over the past month.

Finally, though, the Jets defense gets a break.

After four miserable games against NFL offenses ranked in the Top 11 of the league, the Jets get the offensively challenged Dolphins who rank 29th – seven notches below the Jets – and are scoring only 17.7 points per game. Sure, this terrible Jets defense has been giving up 43.7 points per game over the last four weeks, but the Dolphins have scored 50 points in the last three weeks combined and have topped 20 points in just four of their 10 games so far.

They are the worst rushing team in the NFL and quarterback Tua Tagovailoa was struggling even before he fractured a finger.

That doesn’t mean the Dolphins aren’t a threat, because … well, everyone’s a threat against this Jets defense, no matter how embarrassed they feel and how many meetings they hold. Their tackling and coverage have been horrific and their defensive line has basically been nonexistent. The Dolphins aren’t a threat to score 40, but they should be able to move the ball.

And that’s where the Jets’ latest quarterback switch comes in. Now that the magic has worn off Mike White, courtesy of the Buffalo Bills’ No. 1 ranked defense, Robert Saleh has switched gears and handed the ball to veteran Joe Flacco. He believes that the veteran is better suited to handle Miami’s “dynamic coverage system” and it’s penchant for “zero blitzes.” He thinks Flacco will be able to settle the Jets’ young offense down.

First, it’s worth noting that the Dolphins’ defense isn’t exactly the 1985 Bears. They rank 29th in the NFL and for all their blitzing they have just 21 sacks in 10 games. They were at their best one week ago in a 22-10 win over the Baltimore Ravens, but they haven’t been playing at that level most of the year.

So the opportunity is definitely there for the Jets for a win that likely won’t mean much. They don’t have even a long-shot shot at the playoffs and the 36-year-old Flacco doesn’t have much of a future with the team. In one week, rookie quarterback Zach Wilson will probably be back in the huddle and the Jets will return to the important task of getting him experience and growing him into the franchise star he’s supposed to be.

But a win is a win, and it would sure go a long way towards changing the mood around a sinking team and easing some of the pressure on their suddenly embattled rookie head coach. The Jets have been desperately searching for answers over the last month, and while a win over a bad team won’t provide many, it’ll at least put them – and their frustrated fans -- in a better frame of mind.

Pick: Take the Jets, plus 3

Prediction: Jets 20, Dolphins 16

My record straight up: 6-3

My record against the spread: 4-5