In yet another important divisional clash, the Miami Dolphins travel to MetLife Stadium to take on the New York Jets (1pm ET, Sunday).
Currently both NFL teams are still within striking distance of first place in the AFC East despite having pretty inconsistent season stats to this point. Even with the inconsistency though, both the Dolphins and Jets can be grateful that the New England Patriots have also struggled this season. To that point, the AFC East really is anybody’s game and with the division up for grabs, this match-up could have pivotal implications.
Most Important Head-to-Head Positional Battle
Running back: (MIA) Reggie Bush vs. (NYJ) Shonn Greene
Prior to the 2006 season, the defending Heisman Trophy winner out of USC, Reggie Bush was drafted by the New Orleans Saints.
Bush’s best season with the Saints came in his sophomore campaign in 2007. Despite only playing in 12 games, Bush recorded his career best numbers with the Saints in rushing yards (581) and rushing attempts (157). He scored four touchdowns on the ground but also had a career high seven fumbles, three of which he lost.
In six seasons with New Orleans, Bush never lived up to his potential. He amassed just a total of 2,090 yards in 524 carries giving him an average of about four yards a carry. He scored just 17 rushing touchdowns and another 12 passing touchdowns. In his final season with the team, Bush managed to play in just eight games and found his role diminished as he was replaced in both the running and passing game by former San Diego Charger, Darren Sproles.
With Sproles taking charge of the running game in New Orleans, Bush needed a new home. He ended up finding that home with the Dolphins and in ways no one could have predicted, truly benefited from a change of scenery.
Bush posted career best numbers in just about every rushing category in his first season with Miami. He finished by playing 15 games, scoring six touchdowns, having 216 rushing attempts and most importantly, his first 1,000+ yard season. When everybody expected Bush had just become a bust, he proved them wrong and put together a year that had him earn the starting job and a nice chunk of change within the Dolphins’ organization.
- Reggie Bush 2012 Stats: 6 GP, 98 ATT, 434 YDS, 3 TD
- New York Jets Rushing Defense: 30th (147.7 yards)
Opposing Bush is the four year player out of Iowa in Shonn Greene. The Jets running back began his career in 2009 and performed well as part of a two-man backfield. Once belonging solely to Ladanian Tomlinson, Greene began to see his carries increase as LT’s career began to hit its twilight. In his second season with the team, Greene jumped from a modest 540 rushing yards to his second highest career mark of 766. He saw more attempts per game and had the opportunity to receive more goal line and high importance carries.
In 2011, with the starting job now his, Greene had a breakout season. He played in 16 games for the first time in his career and increased his carry load by nearly 100 attempts. He had a career high six touchdowns and rushed for a career best 1,054 yards. Although he didn’t catch any passes for touchdowns, Greene also had an increased role in the passing game as he was targeted 41 times for 30 total receptions.
- Shonn Greene 2012 Stats: 7 GP, 124 ATT, 432 YDS, 5 TD
- Miami Dolphins Rushing Defense: 3rd (78.2 yards)
Advantage: Bush and the Dolphins have the advantage in both rushing offense and in protecting the run.
Two Teams, Three Quarterbacks: (NYJ) Mark Sanchez vs. (NYJ) Tim Tebow vs. (MIA) Ryan Tannehill
With all of the hype on Andrew Luck in Indianapolis and Robert Griffin III in Washington, the third highest quarterback drafted in Ryan Tannehill seems to be forgotten about. It is unfortunate because even though Tannehill may not be lighting it up the way the other two rookie stud are, he is quietly having a pretty good rookie season.
- Ryan Tannehill 2012 Stats: 6 games played, 59.6 completion percentage, 1,454 passing yards, four touchdowns, six interceptions, 76.5 rating
- New York Jets Passing Defense: 9th (215.1 yards)
For as solid as Tannehill has been, he has really done so without much help and without many weapons. His favorite target is tight end Anthony Fasano, who has caught 22 passes for 176 yards and two touchdowns.
New York QB Mark Sanchez for that matter, has largely been in the same boat as with top wide receiver Santonio Holmes out for the season, this Jets’ offense has struggled to find some consistency.
Now in his fourth season with the team, Sanchez performed well in each of first three seasons in the league. He improved each year and really broke out with incredible numbers in 2011. He completed 56.7 percent of his passes that year as well as throwing for 3,474 yards and 26 touchdowns. He did have 18 interceptions however and had a QB rating as a result, of 78.2.
In 2012, with the threat of Tim Tebow as his ready and able replacement, Sanchez has had his ups and downs. He has performed abysmally at times but in other instances has done well, throwing for over 200 yards.
The problem for Sanchez however has been that he is wildly inconsistent on the season. He hasn’t been able to string two good games together and as a result, fans have begun clamoring for Tebow.
- Mark Sanchez 2012 Stats: 7 GP, 53.2 completion percentage, 1,453 yards, nine touchdowns, seven interceptions
- Tim Tebow 2012 Stats: two-of-three completions for 32 yards
- Miami Dolphins Pass Defense: 28th (284.8 yards)
Advantage: Despite the inconsistency and tension at quarterback, the edge goes to the Jets. Against the Dolphins, they should be poised to get both of their quarterbacks involved as against this defense is an ideal time to use the wildcat.
Miami Dolphins at New York Jets Picks & Tips Advice
The Jets have are 1-point favorites according to the sportsbooks’ spread and do have the overall head-to-head against the Dolphins. That said, Miami has shown more spurts of promise this year and if Tannehill can play well against the defense, Bush can do the rest. Take Miami to beat the spread and get the win, so our betting picks verdict is:
- Bet On Miami Dolphins +1pt on the spread @ odds of +110 with Bovada or +105 with BetOnline Sportsbook. Non-USA residents should bet with Bet365.