NEW YORK (CBSMiami) – The good news for the Miami Dolphins this weekend is the New York Jets will start turnover prone quarterback Geno Smith on Sunday. The bad news is that Miami, who has trouble running the football across the street, will be facing one of the toughest front seven’s in the entire NFL.
Smith’s struggles have been well-documented this season. In his rookie season, Smith has completed 55.2 percent of his passes for 2,227 yards, eight touchdowns and 18 interceptions. Smith has also fumbled the ball four times in 2013.
The Jets’ offense has struggled to get any consistency, mainly due to Smith’s turnover problems. But Smith isn’t getting any help from the skill positions either.
The team’s leading receiver is Jeremy Kerley, who has 28 catches for 505 yards this season. Santonio Holmes has been a shell of his former self since coming to New York and has 13 catches for 326 yards and one touchdown this season. Finally, receiver Stephen Hill, a high draft pick, hasn’t caught a pass in three games.
Overall, according to the New York Daily News, the Jets’ receivers have combined for 1,224 yards and four touchdowns. Detroit Lions star receiver Calvin Johnson has 66 catches for 1,198 yards and 11 touchdowns this season.
Still, it’s a testament to the defensive prowess of the Jets that the team is still in the playoff hunt at 5-6.
The Jets’ defensive strength is the front seven, especially along the defensive line. The Jets’ line is led by massive defensive ends Muhammad Wilkerson and rookie Sheldon Richardson. Throw in nose tackle Kenrick Ellis and the Jets trot out 955 pounds of defensive stoppers on the three man line.
The Jets also can bring linebacker Quinton Coples along the line to add another quick 6’6” 290 pound linebacker who can put his hand in the dirt and rush the passer.
But, the Jets do have one defensive weakness, the secondary. Despite the presence of Antonio Cromartie, rookie first-round pick Dee Milliner, and former top pick Kyle Wilson; New York has been vulnerable to the deep ball.
The Jets added Ed Reed to the mix, but at his age and speed; he’s more of a name than the difference maker he once was in the secondary. Overall, the Jets allow 250.3 passing yards per game along with 20 passing touchdowns to just six interceptions. Opposing quarterbacks are posting a 93.0 quarterback rating against New York.
Given Miami’s struggles running the football and protecting the quarterback; if Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill has time to throw the ball, he could have a big day against the Jets.
The winner of Sunday’s game between the Jets and Dolphins will run their record to .500 and still be in the thick of the playoff hunt. The loser will be 5-7 and likely on the outside looking in as the playoffs near.