In order to get a grasp on this primetime matchup, we’ve enlisted the help of those who know these teams the best. Expert NFL bloggers Kevin Nogle Miami blog The Phinsider and Joe Caporoso of New York blog Turn on the Jets strap on the pads and debate which team will not only win, but cover the spread Monday night.
WHY THE DOLPHINS WILL COVER
Kevin Nogle is the Managing Editor of The Phinsider. You can follow them on Facebook and Twitter @thephinsider.
Ryan Tannehill vs. Geno Smith
The Dolphins are seeing their young quarterback take a step forward and are starting to get their offense into rhythm. Over the past four weeks, Tannehill has a 127.7 passer rating. He’s been playing extremely well, and, most importantly, he is not turning over the ball. Last week’s interception was the result of a ball bouncing off a receiver’s hands and up in the air where it could be picked. Tannehill really is playing well, while the Jets have struggled no matter who is under center. They return to Geno Smith this week, who is dead last in passer rating entering this week, among qualified quarterbacks, and that’s not a good stat on a normal day. This week, it could be even worse because…
Even after allowing Peyton Manning to be Peyton Manning last week against the Denver Broncos, the Dolphins are still fourth in the league in pass defense (compared to the Jets who are last in pass offense this season). They have 31 sacks this season, tied for fourth in the league. Brent Grimes is second in the league in interceptions with five. Miami is a little worse on rush defense, especially after being torched for 200 yards last week, but they are still 11th in the league and only allowing 104 yards per game, on average. This is not an ideal matchup for a young quarterback trying to regain confidence after having been benched, especially since this defense is probably coming into this game mad after being embarrassed last week.
The Dolphins players are sick of hearing about the streak of non-playoff appearances (going back to a one-and-done 2008 campaign, and back to 2000 since their last playoff win). They want to win. Cameron Wake has never made the playoffs, just to put into context how long it has been since Miami has made the postseason tournament. Last year, the team had a chance, needing one win in their last two games, but lost 19-0 to the Buffalo Bills and 20-7 to the Jets. They are hungry, and they realize that, to make the playoffs, they have to take care of business in the division and against bad teams. The Jets fit both of those definitions. I expect Miami to come out hot in this game and look to put behind them last year’s failure, and last week’s loss to the Broncos (though, they did cover in Denver and are 6-2 the last eight weeks against the spread, missing those two spreads by a combined total of 2.5 points).
WHY THE JETS WILL COVER
Joe Caporoso is the Owner/Editor-In-Chief of Turn On The Jets. You can follow them on Facebook and Twitter @TurnOnTheJets.
The Random Sign Of Life
The Jets faced a similar match-up a few weeks ago at home versus the Pittsburgh Steelers They were heavy underdogs and coming off an ugly loss but showed up to pull off the upset. Perhaps they catch Miami on cruise control, thinking they will roll to an easy win and are able force themselves into a competitive game.
It feels silly to have any faith in Geno Smith but maybe a few weeks on the bench did him well. Smith beat the Dolphins in Miami in Week 17 of last season, actually outplaying Ryan Tannehill…my how times have changed.
Beat Up Secondary
If Smith is competent, the Jets should be able to take advantage of a beat up Dolphins secondary with Eric Decker, Percy Harvin and Jeremy Kerley.
Join the debate. Who covers the spread Monday night: Dolphins or Jets?