Reporting Tim Kephart
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NEW YORK (CBSMiami.com) – The Miami Dolphins and New York Jets are in full-fledged desperation mode as the two teams meet Monday night at the new Meadowlands Stadium.
The Dolphins come into the game winless on the 2011 season and coming off a bye week after the team lost its starting quarterback, Chad Henne, for the season.
The Jets are not doing much better. The Jets have just two victories in a season in which they were supposed to challenge for the AFC East championship.
The Dolphins’ problems are on both offense and defense. The offense is averaging just 17 points per game, which is ranked third from the bottom in the entire NFL. The defense isn’t any better, allowing 26 points per game, good for 27th in the league.
The Fins are not helping themselves in the turnover game as well. Miami is currently -5 in takeaway/giveaway or worst in the National Football League. Plus, the schedule isn’t doing the Fins any favors.
Miami plays the Jets, Giants, and Chiefs in the coming weeks with a home game against the Denver Broncos sandwiched in the middle. The Fins have a realistic shot at beating the Broncos, Chiefs, and possibly the Redskins. Past that, there’s not a lot of hope on the Fins’ schedule.
On the flip side, the New York Jets can right the ship and turn their attention to the wildcard race with a victory over the fledgling Dolphins. New York’s main problem can directly be tied to the running game.
In 2011, the Jets haven’t been able to run the ball or stop the run. The Jets have run for more than 100 yards just twice out of five games. On defense, the Jets have four out of five opponents to run for at least 112 yards.
The Jets’ worst performance came against the Oakland Raiders. The Raiders made mincemeat of the Jets’ once-vaunted defense. Oakland ran for 234 yards in a 34-24 victory over the Jets.
The Jets’ leading rusher is Shonn Greene, but he’s averaging just 48 yards per game on the season. LaDainian Tomlinson is second on the team in rushing, but is only pushing out 14 yards per game on the ground.
Part of the problems for the Jets is along the offensive line. The Jets have been without their anchor; center Nick Mangold, for the last week. Mangold is officially listed as questionable for Monday night’s matchup with the Dolphins.
If Mangold can’t go, then rookie Colin Baxter will replace him in the starting lineup. Baxter’s assignment will be to try and clear out massive Fins nose tackle Paul Soliai, who is only 6’4” and weighs 355 pounds.
It will be worth watching if Mangold can’t go if the Jets can protect Mark Sanchez. The Dolphins don’t have another rusher besides Cameron Wake, but the Jets’ line problems could open the door for the aging Jason Taylor or one of the countless defensive linemen to cut through the line and hit Sanchez.
The game is set for an 8:30 kickoff and can be seen on ESPN.