Dolphins vs. Jets 2013 game preview: AFC East battle will have wild card implications

The winner of a Week 13 matchup between the Jets and Dolphins will be in contention for the final wild card spot, while the loser will have an uphill climb.

The New England Patriots have established a three-game lead in the AFC East and look to be on their way to another divisional crown, but the race for a wild card spot in the AFC is anyone's guess. In the middle of the race for the final spot in the postseason are the Miami Dolphins and New York Jets, as one team will reach .500 on Sunday.

Meet the Jets

The Jets alternated wins and losses for the first 10 games of the year before finally dropping a consecutive loss in Week 12. Led by rookie quarterback Geno Smith, the Jets are eighth in the NFL in rushing yards per game, but have been especially turnover prone as of late, accumulating seven turnovers in the last two games.

Defensively, the Jets have one of the better defensive lines in the NFL and rank as the best at stopping the run. While passing against the Jets' secondary has been the best way to attack the New York defense, the Jets' front has accumulated 32 sacks so far, just six off the league-leading 38 sacks tallied by the Packers.

Meet the Dolphins

A year that started with plenty of promise has dissolved into one of bizarre bullying allegations and off-the-field issues for the Dolphins. Since the suspension of Richie Incognito that was coupled with the departure of left tackle Jonathan Martin, the team has struggled to run the ball and will have a tough task against the defensive line of the Jets.

On defense, Miami has been opportunistic, forcing at least one turnover in every game so far this season. While they have allowed the fifth-fewest passing touchdowns, they are near the bottom of the league at stopping the run.

Local Takes: Jets

Jeffrey Parks from Gang Green Nation says that rookie cornerback Dee Milliner is the player to watch for the Jets on Sunday:

I mentioned on GGN Live this week that Dee Milliner is the likely X-factor. While the Jets later first round addition this season has shown flashes of brilliance and potential, there were also several occasions the past few weeks where Milliner was completely caught off guard and was abused in coverage. I've personally come to expect the underwhelming play of Antonio Cromartie, but the lack of performance in the secondary starts with him.

Local Takes: Dolphins

Sean Donovan from The Phinsider took a closer look at the lack of deep connections between Ryan Tannehill and Mike Wallace:

Tannehill's passer rating when throwing deep to Wallace is a dismal 28.9. In comparison, his rating when throwing downfield to other players is 91.9, an alarming differential. Tannehill has shown to be a capable downfield passer, but that only further begs the question, what exactly is going on between him and Wallace? Is Tannehill consistently off-target with his throws? Is Wallace struggling to separate or win downfield? Or is there an intertwining element of the Dolphins passing philosophy that is at work here? This is what I resolved to figure out.

Follow the Fun

Be sure to check out SB Nation's team blogs, Gang Green Nation and The Phinsider, for more analysis and highlights from the game.

Add these fine follows to your Twitter timeline:

@GangGreenNation

@ThePhinsider

@MMehtaNYDN

@finsjesse

Prediction

Five of six SB Nation experts are taking the Jets to earn a home victory against the Dolphins.

Odds

The Jets opened as three-point favorites, but the line has since slimmed to just one point at several sportsbooks, according to Odds Shark.

Next Week

The Jets will stay at home in Week 14 when they host the Oakland Raiders, while the Dolphins will stay on the road with a game against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

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