Game Scout: Dolphins at Jets

Derek Harper, The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

Miami Dolphins (5-6) at New York Jets (5-6)
Sunday, 1:00 p.m. ET, at MetLife Stadium, East Rutherford, N.J. - TV: CBS
*TV announcers: Marv Albert, Rich Gannon
*Keys to the game: Jets QB Geno Smith took all the first-team reps during midweek practice, but his confidence has to be at an all-time low with the team reigning in the passing game and getting benched in his last outing. The bottom line is the Jets are trying to run the ball on first and second down to limit the third-down situations in which Smith's lack of accuracy (55.2 completion percentage) has bitten the offense all too often this season. The Dolphins rank 26th in defending the run, but did a solid job against Carolina's power ground game last week and will see more of the same against the Jets' Chris Ivory and Bilal Powell. Miami's offense continues to struggle to run the ball consistently and the Jets lead the league in run defense. Dolphins QB Ryan Tannehill finally hit on multiple deep shots to WR Mike Wallace last week, but Wallace had to make two great catches on underthrown balls while Tannehill launched a third attempt way past the speedster.
*Matchup to watch - Dolphins RT Tyson Clabo vs. Jets DE Muhammad Wilkerson: Clabo simply doesn't have the speed to contend with even mediocre pass rushers at this point in his career, having allowed 10 sacks this season. There's nothing mediocre about Wilkerson, who has 10 sacks and is putting together Pro Bowl - if not All-Pro credentials.
*Player spotlight - Jets CB Antonio Cromartie: He's battling a hip injury, but Cromartie has a history of playing through bumps and bruises. He also has a recent history of getting beat over the top, and he'll be tested by Wallace.
*Fast facts: The Dolphins haven't scored a fourth quarter touchdown in seven games. They're 2-5 in that span. In fact, the Dolphins have only scored four fourth-quarter touchdowns all season. ... Smith (2,227) needs 218 yards to break Matt Sanchez's single-season franchise passing record (2,444, 2009). The Jets are 3-0 when Smith has a passer rating of 80-plus.
The Jets' top-ranked run defense can seriously handicap the Dolphins, who don't run the ball well as it is and struggle to protect QB Ryan Tannehill. But the Jets' offense is a mess with the team reigning in the playbook for struggling rookie QB Geno Smith.
*Our pick: Dolphins 16-13

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