For the Dolphins, right tackle Jonathan Martin (illness), cornerback Dimitri Patterson (groin), cornerback Jamar Taylor (hamstring) and running back Daniel Thomas (ankle) have all be ruled out and free safety Chris Clemons (knee/hamstring) is listed as “questionable.” The loss of Thomas in the backfield and the potential absence of Clemons in the secondary should be the most concerning for Miami.
As the team’s interception leader, Patterson will continue to be missed at cornerback. But he’ll be sitting out his seventh game of the season, so the Dolphins have had to make do without him more often than not in 2013. Cornerbacks Nolan Carroll and Jimmy Wilson, while more vulnerable than Patterson, have actually been solid in coverage at times this year. Both have graded positively in overall efficiency by Pro Football Focus filling in.
At running back, Thomas had only averaged 3.6 yards per carry during the first 11 games, and the Jets own the undisputed top run defense in football. But Miami could still miss the 235-pound back in short-yardage situations as Lamar Miller is more of a scat back than a power runner, and the 195-pound Marcus Thigpen, who is expected to assume the No. 2 role, won’t be picking up tough yards between the tackles anytime soon.
Clemons has been a bright spot at safety for Miami in 2013 while his partner-in-crime Reshad Jones has been a huge disappointment. Clemons is currently ranked 19th in overall efficiency among all safeties who have played at least 25 percent of their defense’s snaps this season by Pro Football Focus. The 61 yards Clemons has surrendered in coverage is the sixth fewest at the position in the entire NFL, and he would be missed if he’s forced to sit out Sunday’s game.
Left guard Sam Brenner (knee), wide receiver Rishard Matthews (back), linebacker Koa Misi (knee), wide receiver Marlon Moore (hamstring), defensive tackle Jared Odrick (knee), running back Marcus Thigpen (wrist) and cornerback/safety Jimmy Wilson (abdomen) are all listed as “probable” for Miami.
For the Jets, free safety Antonio Allen (illness), cornerback Antonio Cromartie (hip), wide receiver Santonio Holmes (foot/hamstring), wide receiver Jeremy Kerley (elbow) and linebacker Garrett McIntyre (knee) are listed as “questionable.” Each have been significant contributors for New York this season.
Allen has started seven games at safety, totaling 51 tackles. Cromartie typically covers the opposing team’s top receiver and is the only Jet with multiple interceptions in 2013. Holmes and Kerley are quarterback Geno Smith‘s most reliable receivers. And McIntyre has started three games and recorded two sacks.
The Jets struggle in the passing game on both sides of the ball to begin with, so a depleted secondary and receiver corps could be particularly detrimental to their prospects of slowing down quarterback Ryan Tannehill and establishing a consistent passing game offensively on Sunday.
Cromartie has been victimized in coverage often this season to the tune of 666 receiving yards and five touchdowns. But the Jets’ other cornerbacks haven’t fared much better, including rookie Dee Milliner, who could be handed the task of covering the Dolphins’ No. 1 receiver Mike Wallace in Week 13.
Smith has seemingly already hit the rookie wall at quarterback. Without his top two receivers he could become completely inept. Kerley leads the Jets with 347 receiving yards and Holmes is averaging 25.1 yards per catch. Miami may feel free to stack the box in order to clamp down on New York’s formidable rushing attack without Kerley and Holmes in the lineup.
Offensive lineman Willie Colon (calf), defensive lineman Kenrick Ellis (back), wide receiver Stephen Hill (knee), running back Chris Ivory (ankle), offensive lineman Nick Mangold (wrist), cornerback Milliner (wrist), wide receiver Greg Salas (finger), defensive end Muhammad Wilkerson (wrist) and tight end Kellen Winslow (knee) are all expected to play for the Jets.
Cody Strahm is a Miami Dolphins contributor at Rant Sports. Follow him on Twitter @CodyJStrahm.