For all intensive purposes, the New York Jets are playing in a meaningless game against the Dolphins. According to oddsmakers, they have a 6% chance of reaching the playoffs. And still, even if the Jets beat the Dolphins, their chances would still be under 20%. So, it would take a small miracle for all of the chips to fall into perfect alignment for the Jets. The Jets have failed to reach expectations this season under Rex Ryan, a deflating campaign that started with plenty of hope. After all, they reached back-to-back AFC Championship games under Ryan, and looked to go further this season. I don’t need to speak of the Dolphin’s playoff chances, because there is absolutely no chance they can clinch. However, that is not to say the Dolphins haven’t played hard recently, they have come on and played effectively. The most significant thing for the Dolphins is perhaps the fact that this will be the last game for veteran defensive end Jayson Taylor. Taylor intends on retiring following this contest after his 15th season in the NFL, 13th with the Dolphins.
The Dolphins faltered right out of the gate this season, but have made amends down the stretch. Thanks to a stifling defense led by Jason Taylor, the Dolphins have stayed competitive with some elite teams. Most recently against the Patriots, where they owned a 17-0 lead at halftime before ultimately falling 27-24. The Dolphins rank near the top amongst defenses, even after playing some high octane offenses. Overall, the Dolphins are only allowing 19.7 points a game. The Dolphins weakness is their pass defense; however, without the Jets having a formidable passing game, it may still be difficult for Mark Sanchez to put a solid game together. The Dolphins are extremely difficult to run the ball on, ranked 3rd in the league, only allowing 93.4 yards per game. The Jets strong suit, the run game, should be nullified by potent run stoppers on the Dolphins defense. The Jets offense is severely lacking any kind of chemistry this season. They are far too inconsistent to be a playoff team. Again, they do have a decent ground game with Shonn Greene and LaDanian Tomlinson, but the Jets are going to need to get their pass game in sync if they are going to win in Miami.
The Dolphins offense has gotten the job done this season behind running back Reggie Bush. On only 216 carries, Bush has accumulated 1086 yards and 6 TDs. He is also a major threat out of the backfield catching the ball. Bush is trying to make a case that he can indeed be a featured back in the NFL, and has made a strong case here. The Jets defense against the run hasn’t shown any glimpses of its former self, as they rank 15th, a far cry from last year’s top-3 numbers. Quarterback Matt Moore has done an adequate job as the starter. He hasn’t exactly lit the NFL on fire with 15 TDs, but he limited his mistakes, and done enough to let the defense win games for them.
Jets vs. Dolphins Spread, Line and Betting Odds:
New York Jets +2
@Miami Dolphins -2
Over 41.5 (-110)
Under 41.5 (-110)
Jets vs. Dolphins Pick:
I think the Jets season was absolutely deflated after losing to the Giants last week. That was essentially their last shot at making the playoffs. They still do have a 6% chance, but the demeanor of Rex Ryan and the team this week has been uninspiring. So, how much motivation do you think the Jets will have in Miami? Travelling from chilly New York to Miami for a New Year’s Day game does not bode well for the Jets in my opinion. I expect the Jets to attempt to pound the ball, but get stuffed all game long from a unit that is going to be playing inspiring football for Jason Taylor’s final game. Since head coach of the Dolphins Tony Sparano got fired after a 4-9 start, the Dolphins have played with a little more enthusiasm and I expect that to carry on in week 17. I have no reason to put money on the Jets, as they have been an erratic, unpredictable club this season.
PICK = Dolphins -2