For the New York Jets to defeat the AFC East rival Miami Dolphins on Sunday, the task starts and ends with containing star running back Reggie Bush. The Dolphins have had two performances so far in this young season that were almost polar opposites of one another; a 30-10 defeat at the hands of the Houston Texans on opening day and a 35-13 romp of the Oakland Raiders last week. The clear difference was the production of Bush, who rushed for just 69 yards with no touchdowns against the Texans, but who churned out 172 yards and 2 touchdowns on the ground against the Raiders.
Ryan Tannehill, the quarterback whom Miami drafted eighth overall in April, may be a talented and promising prospect, but he is no where near the point where he can be expected to carry an offense against a defense the caliber of Gang Green without plenty of help from his ground game. The Jets must be very disciplined in filling their gaps and not getting caught over-pursuing to limit the potential for Bush’s explosive, game-changing runs. The Jets’ secondary, with the return of Darrelle Revis, alongside Kyle Wilson and Antonio Cromartie; should have the clear advantage over an underwhelming cast of Dolphin receivers, particularly with a rookie quarterback in the game, so if they stop the run, they should be good to stop Miami’s offense.
For the Jets’ offense, Mark Sanchez must play more like the confident, decisive passer he was against Buffalo in Week 1 than the hesitant, skittish, inaccurate pilot of New York’s attack that we saw for much of last week in Pittsburgh. The Dolphins’ defense is not one of the easier units to run on, and Shonn Greene and his 3.1 yards per carry don’t seem to be the recipe for bringing any defense to its knees.
The return of former Dolphin head coach and first-year Jet offensive coordinator Tony Sparano to Sun Life Stadium will be as good a time as any to showcase the creativity and versatility behind Gang Green’s offensive scheming. I’d look for third-year back Joe McKnight and second-year runner Bilal Powell to get a fair number of touches, as well as Tim Tebow out of the Wildcat. If the Jets stop Bush and avoid turnovers on offense and their return units, I expect them to walk out of South Beach with a win.