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New York Jets: Gatekeeper To Dolphins Playoff Berth

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EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - DECEMBER 01: Quinton Coples #98 of the New York Jets in action against the Miami Dolphins during their game at MetLife Stadium on December 1, 2013 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)

Quinton Coples #98 of the New York Jets (Credit, Al Bello/Getty Images)

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By Abraham Gutierrez

After going into Buffalo and laying a goose egg, the (8-7) Dolphins got some much-needed help from an unlikely source, as the Patriots routed the (8-7) Ravens to the tune of 41-7, to keep Miami’s playoff hopes alive.

With one game remaining on the 2013 NFL calendar, the Fins welcome longtime AFC East rivals, the New York Jets for a season finale not for the faint of heart. Miami will have a shot at clinching the sixth and final AFC Wild Card spot in one of the following two ways in Week 17:

  1. Miami Dolphins defeat New York Jets, plus a Baltimore Ravens loss at the Cincinnati Bengals. 
  2. Dolphins defeat Jets, coupled with a San Diego Chargers win over Kansas City Chiefs, would give Miami the nod by virtue of a two-way tiebreaker with San Diego based on head-to-head win.

However, if Miami is unable to defeat Gang Green on Sunday, neither scenario would be possible. Therefore, the first order of business for Joe Philbin this week is avoiding a letdown game at the hands of Rex Ryan and the Jets.

This will be the second meeting between these bitter foes, as the Dolphins drew first blood in Week 13. Behind dominant performances on both sides of the football, the Dolphins went into MetLife Stadium and stunned the Jets by a final score of 23-3.

Needless to say, the Jets would be thrilled to avenge that loss by ending Miami’s playoff hopes in front of the home crowd. Opening kickoff is scheduled for Sunday afternoon at 1 p.m. EST live on CBS-4 (Miami).

New York Jets on Offense

Much like in their first meeting, other than running the football, the Jets offense struggles in every facet of the game.

Heading into this season finale, Jets offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg’s unit ranks sixth in the league in rushing (133.6), 27th in total yards (314.4) and 30th on both points per game (18) and passing yards per game (180.8).

While Mornhinweg’s scheme is built around a traditional West Coast offense, his lack of personnel has made it impossible for this team to become multi-dimensional. Instead, the Jets are one of the worst offensive teams in the league, and according to reports, Rex Ryan will be fired after this game.

New York Jets on Defense

In his fourth season with the Jets, defensive coordinator Dennis Thurman’s squad ranks third in rushing yards allowed (88), 11th in total yards surrendered (337.5), 21st in points (25.3) and 23rd at defending the pass (249.5).

In their first meeting this season, Ryan Tannehill’s offensive attack simply proved to be too much for the Jets resistance. The Dolphins recorded 25 first downs to the Jets 10, along with 453 total yards to New York’s anemic 177.

The time of possession battle also belonged to the Fish, as they held on to the ball for 38 minutes and 52 seconds, while the Jets only controlled it for just over 21 minutes.

But having all that said, the two biggest disparities in this game came down to Miami’s ability to convert one third down after another (7-for-16 versus 2-for-12) and winning the always-important, turnover battle (3-to-1).

Jets vs. Dolphins Head-to-Head

Although Miami comes in trailing the Jets 46-49-1 in the overall series, the Dolphins come in looking for their third straight win over Gang Green and the eighth victory in their last 11 meetings.

The last time these teams met dates back to Dec. 1, 2013 in East Rutherford, N.J. Miami prevailed by a final score of 23-3 on the strength of its defense and an offensive outburst from Tannehill (28/43, 331 yards, 2 TDs, 1 INT, 94.2 QBR) and wide receivers, Brian Hartline (9/15, 127 yards, TD) and Mike Wallace (7/9, 82 yards, TD).

For more Dolphins news and updates, visit Dolphins Central.

Abe Gutierrez is a criminal justice admin whose love for sports led him to become a writer and editor. His expertise makes him a valued addition to Examiner.com and its partners. His work can be found on Examiner.com. .

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