By Abraham Gutierrez

Bitter rivals sitting in the same boat collide in Week 13 of the 2013 NFL schedule, as the Miami Dolphins and New York Jets meet with huge playoff implications on the line in the American Football Conference.

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Desperate to stay in the hunt with mirroring 5-6 records, head coaches Joe Philbin and Rex Ryan find themselves just mere percentage points out of the sixth and final Wild Card spot.

Opening kickoff for this pivotal AFC East clash is scheduled for Sunday afternoon at 1:05 p.m. from MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey, live on CBS4 (Miami).

And although both clubs will approach this game as a “must-win,” there’s no question that Miami needs it more.

BALTIMORE, MD - NOVEMBER 24: Quinton Coples #98 and Damon Harrison #94 of the New York Jets  sit on the bench during the closing moments of the Jets 19-3 loss to the Baltimore Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium on November 24, 2013 in Baltimore, Maryland.  (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)

Quinton Coples #98 and Damon Harrison #94 of the New York Jets sit on the bench during the closing moments of the Jets 19-3 loss to the Baltimore Ravens (Credit, Rob Carr/Getty Images)

Not only do the Jets possess a better divisional record (2-2) than the Dolphins (0-2), but Gang Green’s schedule is much more favorable going forward. New York closes out the year with two games at MetLife Stadium and two away:

  • Miami Dolphins at NY Jets 
  • Oakland Raiders at NY Jets
  • NY Jets at Carolina Panthers 
  • Cleveland Browns at NY Jets 
  • NY Jets at Miami Dolphins (Week 17)

Miami finishes the season with three road games and two home games, but the level of competition is what makes sneaking into the postseason a tough proposition. The Dolphins remaining games include:

  • Miami Dolphins at NY Jets 
  • Miami Dolphins at Pittsburgh Steelers 
  • New England Patriots at Miami Dolphins 
  • Miami Dolphins at Buffalo Bills 
  • NY Jets at Miami Dolphins (Week 17)

New York Jets on Offense

Since the arrival of Rex Ryan to the Big Apple, this team hasn’t deviated or been shy about its “Ground-and-Pound” intent. In fact, the Jets offense is among the worst in the league in every major statistical category except in rushing yards per game.

Currently, this offense ranks penultimate in the NFL in points per game (16.9) and passing yards per game (188.3), 27th in total yards (315.3), and as stated above, their strength lies in their running game, which is eighth best with 127 yards per contest.

First-year offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg, the Jets third OC in as many seasons, has done a heck of a job given his limited arsenal.

The mere fact that this team is even in playoff conversations is a testament to Mornhinweg’s ability to make something out of nothing.

Their offense is predicated around a rookie quarterback who has the 29th worst quarterback rating in football, 10 receivers out of which not one ranks in the NFL’s top 50 in catches, running backs who perform outside of the top 25 rankings, a rookie full back and a first-year guard.

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New York Jets on Defense

Much like the “GNP” notion, Ryan has also brought with him another mind-set to East Rutherford: Hard nose, smash-mouth, defensive football.

In fact, this is where Dennis Thurman and this team, not only hangs its hat, but is also the main reason why they remain in the hunt for a playoff berth.

Statistically, their defensive strengths lie in their No.1 ranking in rushing yards allowed (72.6) and eighth place effort in total yards surrendered (322.9) per game.

However, as good as the Jets are in those areas, they are equally as bad in the other two major categories, which is where Ryan Tannehill and Miami will need to exploit in order to come away with the “W.”

The Jets defensive vulnerabilities can be found when defending the pass, where they give up 250.3 yards per game (NFL Rank: 23rd), and they also have a tendency to allow teams to post crooked numbers on the board at a 26.1 weekly average (NFL Rank 25th).

Key Offensive Players

  • (QB) Geno Smith: 175/317, 2227 yards, 8 TDs, 18 INTs, 37 sacks, 62.1 QBR 
  • (RB) Bilal Powell: 125 carries, 482 yards, 3.9 avg., TD 
  • (RB) Chris Ivory: 116 carries, 502 yards, 4.3 avg., 2 TDs 
  • (WR) Jeremy Kerley: 28 catches, 347 yards, 2 TDs 
  • (WR) Stephen Hill: 23 catches, 340 yards, TD 
  • (TE) Kellen Winslow: 20 catches, 220 yards, 2 TDs

Key Defensive Players

  • (LB) David Harris: 85 tackles (48 solo), 2.0 sacks, forced fumble 
  • (LB) DeMario Davis: 79 tackles (43 solo), sack 
  • (SS) Dawan Landry: 59 tackles (35 solo), sack 
  • (DE) Sheldon Richardson: 59 tackles (32 solo), 3.0 sacks, forced fumble 
  • (DE) Muhammad Wilkerson: 46 tackles (32 solo), 10.0 sacks, 2 forced fumbles 
  • (LB) Calvin Pace: 39 tackles (24 solo), 7.0 sacks, 2 forced fumbles

Dolphins vs. Jets Head-to-Head

This will mark the 96th meeting between these longtime rivals. Despite the fact that Miami comes in trailing New York 45-49-1 in the all-time series, the Dolphins are 6-3 over their last nine meetings.

The last time they squared off was October 28 at MetLife Stadium last season. Miami cruised to a 30-9 victory on the strength of a 20-0 run before the break.

For more Dolphins news and updates, visit Dolphins Central.

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