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.
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Here's the truth: this isn't a good team. The bounces went the #NYJ's way to start the season, and got our hopes up with a good record.— Gang Green Nation (@GangGreenNation) November 24, 2013
Let's see. Wake just lost the team lead in sacks. Dolphins are facing Jets, who are starting Geno. Yeah, Wake might be set for a great day.— Kevin Nogle (@thephinsider) November 27, 2013
Amazed how many players don't understand former teammates in media are paid to give honest analysis & opinion... even if it is critical— Manish Mehta (@MMehtaNYDN) November 26, 2013
To me, this is a best-case scenario for Dolphins/Incognito. Allows all the facts to come out before permanent decisions are made.— Jesse Agler (@finsjesse) November 29, 2013
Five of six SB Nation experts are taking the Jets to earn a home victory against the Dolphins.
The Jets opened as three-point favorites, but the line has since slimmed to just one point at several sportsbooks, according to Odds Shark.