There's a ton of pressure on Mark Sanchez and the Jets to defeat the arch rival Dolphins
One game they looked like the 2007 New England Patriots, blowing out the Buffalo Bills 48-28; the other they looked completely inept against a Pittsburgh Steelers team without safety Troy Polamalu and linebacker James Harrison.
It's been that kind of run for the past year and two games for the New York Jets, who will face a potential must-win opportunity on Sunday when they visit their arch-rival Miami Dolphins, who ended their playoff hopes last season in a 19-17 season finale at Sun Life Stadium.
Now, in 2012, both teams enter this matchup in South Beach at 1-1, as the Dolphins pounded the hapless Oakland Raiders one week after getting hammered themselves by the healthy Houston Texans. In the blowout over Oakland, the Dolphins attack was led by the continued emergence of Reggie Bush, who once again showed flashes of his USC days, racking up 172 yards on 26 carries (6.6 avg) and two touchdowns.
The Jets will try to bounce back from a frustrating 27-10 defeat at the hands of the Steelers. At first they looked to continue their momentum on offense from the Buffalo game, jumping out to a 10-6 lead led by a drive ended by a Mark Sanchez touchdown pass to Santonio Holmes.
Then from the second quarter on, the Jets were shutout and shutdown, unable to complete passes, catch passes, pass protect or run the football. The defense, with a concussed CB Darrelle Revis absent, was unable to stop Ben Roethlisberger, whether it was when it came to sacking him, keeping him from extending plays, or defending his passes, one including a bomb to Mike Wallace for a touchdown.
New York will need this game badly, even Revis admitted it was. The road ahead the next month or so will not get any easier, so the Jets cannot afford to start the season 1-2.
The next two weeks, Gang Green will be at home, but will have to take on two of the best teams in the NFL, the San Francisco 49ers and Houston Texans, who both provide a ton of pressure with their dangerous defensive units.
Before the bye, the Jets will take on Andrew Luck and the Colts and Tom Brady and the Patriots in Foxboro, which will certainly be difficult even with all the problems New England has right now. Afterwards they will draw some softer opponents in Seattle, St. Louis, Arizona, Jacksonville, Tennessee and Buffalo to end the year, as well as the Dolphins, Pats and San Diego Chargers.
The Jets have to have this one, especially since the cries for Tim Tebow to take the starting QB job will inevitably increase in size, as idiotic as they may be. It has already started in Bristol, CT led by the infamous Tebow-lover Skip Bayless
It all lies on the arm of Mark Sanchez and the defense; both need to play much better than they did in Pittsburgh. Sanchez only converted 37 percent of his passes, and the defense allowed eight third-down conversions.
The key to beating Miami is being able to contain Bush, thus daring rookie QB Ryan Tannehill to throw the ball and make mistakes. Also, the Jets' offensive line must continue to play well, particularly RT Austin Howard against the beast Cameron Wake. If the O-line does its job, then Sanchez should have no trouble tearing the Dolphins' mediocre secondary apart.
New York Jets 26
Miami Dolphins 17