Monday Night Football: Jets at Dolphins Prediction and Preview

Doc MosemanCorrespondent IOctober 14, 2011

MIAMI - DECEMBER 19:  Receiver Brandon Marshall #19 of the Miami Dolphins reacts against the Buffalo Bills at Sun Life Stadium on December 19, 2010 in Miami, Florida. The Bills defeated the Dolphins 17-14.  (Photo by Marc Serota/Getty Images)
Marc Serota/Getty Images

Well, it looks like another stinker on Monday Night Football this week, as MNF features its third winless team of the year (not counting Week 1) in the “Dear God hopefully we lose out and get to draft Andrew Luck” Miami Dolphins at a skidding New York Jets team that probably faces a must-win if they hope to get to the Super Bowl that Rex Ryan promised before the season.

When does Ryan cross that line between being entertaining and just be called a blowhard? Even with his team at 2-3 and sitting on a three-game losing streak, Ryan isn’t backing down from his Super Bowl prediction, which he initially made back in February: “Do I think we’ll win it? Yeah, absolutely,” Ryan said earlier this week. 

I guess you have to appreciate his confidence. But there are reports that the Jets are in somewhat of disarray, especially amid the fact they traded No. 3 receiver Derrick Mason this week to Houston. The Jets say it’s just because of production. But Mason reportedly was one of a few players who complained to Ryan about offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer. And the Jets essentially have no one proven behind Santonio Holmes and Plaxico Burress, so that trade is even more of a head scratcher.

By the way, no team has played on MNF more than the Dolphins.

Dolphins at Jets Betting Storylines

The Jets really don’t seem to know who they are. New York is supposed to be a team that relies on a power running game and excellent defense. But the Jets’ running game is No. 31 in the NFL, and at stopping the run New York is No. 26. That defense has given up at least 30 points in each of the past three games, although all three were on the road. Last week, the pass-happy Patriots put up 152 rushing yards and held New York to only 97.

The Patriots had allowed an average of 477.5 yards, the most in the league, and were easily the worst pass defense in the NFL, but Mark Sanchez threw for only 166 yards a week after the Ravens held him to 119. The Jets went three and out against the Patriots defense on seven of their 11 possessions.

New England had forced only eight three-and-outs in the first four games combined. If the Jets somehow lose this game and struggle offensively, Schottenheimer could be a goner. And if Sanchez struggles against Miami’s No. 31 pass defense, look for the media to start to tear into him as well.

The Fins, who look like arguably the worst team in football, were off last week. There were rumors that Head Coach Tony Sparano might get the axe during that break, but apparently he will make it through the season. But then he’s a goner, mark it down. Rumors are the Dolphins want Jon Gruden.

The off week came at a good time because starting QB Chad Henne was lost for the season with an injury. That means former Panther Matt Moore is now the starter, with off-the-street-signee Sage Rosenfels as his backup.  Moore has shown some signs of being capable at times.

In 2009, when he replaced Jake Delhomme as Carolina’s starting quarterback, he led his team to a 4-1 record and produced a 98.5 quarterback rating in the season’s final five games. But Moore also couldn’t beat out a very lousy Jimmy Clausen in Carolina last season (at least after a few games) and was 17-for-26 for 167 yards with no TDs and a pick two weeks ago in Miami’s 26-16 loss to San Diego after Henne went out. Moore, who is 10-13 as a starter all-time, will be the 16th QB to start for Miami since the beginning of 2000, which is the most among NFL teams in that span.

Miami got healthy with the week off, meaning rookie RB Daniel Thomas, a lone bright spot so far, should play this week. He hasn’t played since Sept. 25 but has rushed for 202 yards in his two games and is averaging nearly five yards a carry. Jets All-Pro center Nick Mangold is still a bit banged up but should play for the second week in a row.

Dolphins at Jets Betting Odds and Trends

This line currently has the Jets -7 with the total at 42.5 on NFL odds. About 65 percent of the lean is on the Jets. Miami is 0-3-1 ATS and 0-1-1 on the road.  New York is 1-4 ATS and 1-1 at home.

The Fins haven’t covered in their past seven overall. But they have covered nine of their past 13 as a road dog. Meanwhile, the Jets have covered nine of their past 12 vs. teams with a losing record. The ‘under’ is 8-2 in Miami’s past 10 road games. The ‘over’ is 7-1 in Jets’ past eight vs. teams with a losing record. The underdog has covered in the past five meetings.

Monday Night Football Predictions: Dolphins at Jets Picks

This looks like a very likely Jets win on paper. But the Dolphins have won four of the last five meetings, including three in row on the road.

You may remember the last meeting between these two, a 10-6 Miami win in New York (technically New Jersey) in Week 14 last year. First of all, somehow Miami won with six first downs and 131 total yards, including 30 passing. But perhaps it was more memorable because Jets' strength and conditioning coach Sal Alosi tripped Miami cornerback Nolan Carroll as he ran out of bounds on punt coverage and later admitted that it was intentional. Alosi was later fired. He is now the strength and conditioning coach for Bryant University in Smithfield, R.I. Just some useless knowledge I wanted to share.

Anyways, I would hold off a bit on this line. I just can’t see the Jets losing, but I think this one pushes if it stays at seven. Thus, if it moves to 7.5, take Miami. At 6.5, go with the Jets. Both teams are struggling on offense, so take the ‘under’. 

Doc Moseman is the owner of Doc’s Sports football picks Web site.