NFL: Miami Dolphins at New York Jets Preview

Ryan TannehillWith the 2014 season coming toward a close, the (6-5) Miami Dolphins travel to MetLife Stadium to take on the (2-8) New York Jets (8.30pm ET, Monday). With playoffs likely off the table for both of these teams, this one is for AFC East divisional pride. Let’s take a look at how these two match up.

After what can only be described as a tumultuous year under center for Jets’ quarterbacks, the opening day starter and 2013 second-round pick, Geno Smith, is returning to the job that those in the Jets’ organization believe is still his to have.

This year, Smith has struggled. He has gone 1-7 as a starter with his only victory coming against the one-win Oakland Raiders. He ranks last in the NFL in passer rating and passing yards per game and is second to last in completion percentage.

Head coach Rex Ryan has said the purpose of bringing Smith back as starter is to give him the opportunity to bounce back from adversity and to see how he handles it. It is a nice thought but against a tough Miami defense and on the Monday night stage, it seems the Jets are setting Smith up to fail.

Since Smith was named the starter in fact, Miami jumped from a 4.5 point favorite to a seven point favorite. The Dolphins’ pass rush is one of the best in the league, tied for fourth in passing yards per game allowed and total sacks. They have held quarterbacks much better than Smith to rather pedestrian days both at home and on the road.

It certainly seems like once again, it will be a long day for the Jets and their young starting quarterback.

The Emergence of Ryan Tannehill

While the Jets were struggling all year to find a quarterback who could carry the team to victory, the Dolphins were finding theirs, in 2012 first-round draft choice, Ryan Tannehill (pictured).

In the draft that saw Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III go one and two, Tannehill, even in the position of just six picks later, was a distant third and one might even say an afterthought. No one was throwing his name into the great comparison between the two top guys and with good reason. At the time he just wasn’t there.

But now, two plus seasons into their NFL careers, Tannehill is finding himself and is developing into a player that Miami hoped he could be. In fact, it is not even an exaggeration to say that he has surpassed Griffin as the number two guy in that draft and that overall, is not that far behind Luck in terms of talent and success.

  • 2014 Luck: 3,641 passing yards, 29 TD
  • 2014 Tannehill: 2,582 passing yards, 20 TD

Last year, Tannehill had more touchdowns and passing yards than Luck. While this year, Luck has re-established himself as one of the best young stars in the game, Tannehill has improved as well and is on pace to set a career best in touchdowns, touchdown to interception ratio and completion percentage.

He has been wonderful for the Dolphins this year and if it so happens that Miami does manage to surpass the field of teams one game ahead of them in the playoff race, it will be in large part because of Tannehill. And if his recent play (72.5 completion percentage, nine touchdowns, two interceptions in four games) means anything, playoffs may not be an impossibility for the Dolphins after all.

Miami Dolphins at New York Jets Betting Picks Advice

Football is simply a game of two important and yet different elements. The first of which is the quarterback and when it comes to the Jets and the Dolphins, Miami clearly wins that argument. Smith is no match for Tannehill and is showing that perhaps he is no match for NFL defenses either. Without a quarterback any team is bound to suffer and this has happened for the Jets.

Meanwhile for the Dolphins, this was a team that hadn’t had a legitimate signal caller for years before Tannehill came along. And now that it seems the growing pains are behind him, it is safe to say the Dolphins will be a threat in the AFC East. They’ve gotten much better while the Jets have just managed to get worse.

The other most important element of football is the defense, the guys who go after the quarterback.

A quarterback’s success is not measured in a vacuum. What he is and isn’t able to do is often predicated on the support of his offensive line and weapons and also, how he responds to defensive schemes and pressures.

The Dolphins are a team that has that pressure. They are one of the better defensive units in the NFL this year and have stopped both the run and the pass with equal success. Credit goes to a pair of young guys as well, as both Cameron Wake on the line and Brent Grimes in the open field, have made the difference for Miami this year.

Once known as a defensive smashmouth team, the Jets have not entirely lost their identity. They still rank within the top 15 in the league in stopping both the run and the pass. The only problem is that their quarterback is so inept that even if the defense does its job, which hasn’t always happened this year, it is rarely enough.

So this one should be easy. The Dolphins have a better team and are coming off two weeks of losing but strong football that saw them lose by just a total of seven points. That was to both the Denver Broncos and Detroit Lions, two teams who have been some of the best in their respective conferences this year. Miami has the better team, the better weapons and the better mindset.

Just keep in mind the Jets are playing at home where they have both of their wins this year and this is a divisional game. Things tend to happen in those that defy logic.

  • That said, my money is on the Dolphins to cover the 7pt deficit on the spread. With Tannehill under center, winning by more than a touchdown margin is the predicted outcome. Plus, the Jets have lost 14 of their last 15 games by at least seven points and the Dolphins are undefeated this year against sub .500 teams. So bet on the Dolphins -7pts with 5Dimes Sportsbook @ best betting odds of +105.
  • Take the under on 42 total points for the game @ odds of -110 with BetOnline, Bovada or 5Dimes. This game combines the league’s worst and ninth worst passing offenses, who have traditionally played to the under on the season.