Why does it seem to me that every game since the Jets started the season someone in the media or on the team says that the Jets next game is a must win?
I don't get it. Unless the season has been extended without my knowledge, and I can't imagine anyone doing that to me, there's still no more than 16 games and with a record of 4-3 why is this game in particular a must win?
Sure I get it. The Jets will be vying more likely than not for a wild card berth as we get closer to the last 1/3rd of the season. The Miami Dolphins have already beaten them once in Miami on a national media circus known as Monday Night Football. They lost that game by allowing the Dolphins to score three touchdowns in the fourth quarter with the winning score coming with eight seconds left on the clock.
The Jets inability to deal with Miami's "Wildcat" formations has been duly noted and mouths have not been able to shut off since then. I also don't have to remind any Jets fans out there that it was these same Dolphins that put the nail in the Jets playoff coffin in the last game of last season at the Meadowlands.
That game not only gave the Dolphins the division, but also knocked the New England Patriots out of the playoffs.
Nothing is quite like revenge when it comes to motivating a team, and the Jets certainly have revenge on their minds. I expect them to come out of the gate like wild Indians on both sides of the ball during the first quarter. The question is can they maintain that type of intensity for an entire 60 minutes or come back from a deficit that may happen once again?
I really see this if anything as a must win for the Dolphins. They are 2-4 and another defeat would put them in a position where they would to have to win their remaining nine games to finish the season with the same record as they achieved last year.
The Dolphins, who rank No. 2 in rushing offense, believe Chad Henne doesn't have to win games for them, he just can't lose any. Last week's come-from-behind win by the New Orleans Saints again in the fourth quarter gives the Dolphins some real concerns that must be answered this week.
Of course, Mark Sanchez is no Drew Brees, so this week will be interesting indeed.
For the Jets to win, they must at least slow down the Miami running game with Ricky Williams and Ronnie Brown doing the damage. Although nursing an injury, Jets Linebacker and defensive leader Bart Scott is expected to play. The loss of Kris Jenkins looms large today, unlike last week against the Raiders.
The Jets front three will have to step up and have a big game. If the defense can keep the rushing yardage to 100 yards or less and cause a couple of take away turnovers that will lead the Jets to victory.
On the other hand if the Dolphins run wild again the Jets offense may have to play matching touchdowns to stay in the game. They fell short against this team in Miami three weeks ago, and that loss, more than any other, hurt the most.
Prediction: An old Klingon expression, "Revenge is a dish best served cold".
I believe the Jets will control their emotions and put a serious hurting on the Dolphins. Another 250 yard rushing day, a couple of key turnovers by the enthusiastic Jets defense and Miami will fall too far behind early, and they won't be able to go to the passing game to pull this one out.
Jets 31 Dolphins 17.