Dolphins vs. Jets: Drawing Up a Game Plan for Miami

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Dolphins vs. Jets: Drawing Up a Game Plan for Miami
Joel Auerbach/Getty Images

Who would have guessed the Miami Dolphins would be well-positioned for a playoff run seven weeks into the season?

With a 3-3 record and four very winnable games ahead on the schedule, the Dolphins have a legitimate shot to make a push for the postseason.

The Dolphins can't afford to fall to 0-2 in the division with another loss to the Jets if they want to have a shot at playing games in January, though. They must come prepared with a game plan that takes advantage of the Jets' weaknesses.

Here's what the Dolphins should do to notch a win over the Jets.

 

Attack the Linebackers with Running Backs, Tight Ends

The Jets linebackers have been one of the biggest weaknesses for the team this season.

We have seen them burned repeatedly on runs to the outside.

But that's not all—they've also been exposed in coverage on running backs and tight ends.

The Dolphins need to draw some plays into the game plan that will allow them to get these matchups frequently.

The Patriots were able to effectively target this weakness, with tight ends Aaron Hernandez and Rob Gronkowski combining for 11 receptions, 132 and two touchdowns. Running backs Shane Vereen and Danny Woodhead combined for another five receptions and 39 yards.

Plays like these are exactly what the Dolphins need against the Jets, and the ability of Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill to complete passes under pressure makes this matchup even more fruitful. Tannehill knows he has reliable checkdown options in running backs Reggie Bush and Lamar Miller.

Bush has been a big-play threat in the passing game for years. He has 17 receptions for 140 yards this season. Miller has yet to catch a pass in the NFL. This would be a good game to get both backs involved in the passing game.

 

Pressure on Mark Sanchez

Jim Rogash/Getty Images
No matter how you slice it, Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez is one of the league's least accurate passers when under pressure. It's been that way since his rookie season, and according to ProFootballFocus.com he has ranked dead last in accuracy percentage under pressure in each of the past two seasons ("accuracy" used to describe completions plus drops/aimed pass attempts).

This season, Sanchez's accuracy percentage under pressure is 50.9. The only one with a worse accuracy percentage under pressure is Panthers quarterback Cam Newton.

So how do the Dolphins get pressure?

Obviously, it starts with Cameron Wake, who is putting together one heck of a season for himself. Of any and all 4-3 defensive ends, Wake has the most sacks and hits, the second-most quarterback hurries and has the highest pass-rush grade, according to ProFootballFocus.com

It shouldn't be terribly difficult against an offensive line that ranks 23rd in pass-blocking efficiency, according to PFF. They have allowed just eight sacks, but 14 hits and 44 pressures have made life difficult for Sanchez.

The Dolphins got pressure on Mark Sanchez on 21 of his 47 drop-backs in the previous meeting, but that was one of the rare occasions when Sanchez played better under pressure than when he wasn't pressured. He may not be so fortunate if the Dolphins are able to get consistent pressure on him again.

 

Erik Frenz is the AFC East lead blogger for Bleacher Report. Be sure to follow Erik on Twitter and "like" the AFC East blog on Facebook to keep up with all the updates. Unless specified otherwise, all quotes are obtained firsthand. 

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