The New York Jets are slumping after starting the season with two big wins. After a crushing defeat to their most hated rival a week ago, they are a touchdown favorite over the Miami Dolphins in Monday Night Football (some lines have pushed the Jets to a 7.5 point favorite). The week started with the Jets as massive home favorites, with most books putting them as nine point favorites, and others as high as 10 points.
Betters must have been hot on the Dolphins earlier in the week and it has pushed the line down by two points. Fans at home must be thinking the anemic Jets offense couldn’t possibly put up enough points to cover the lofty spread. The Jets’ three game losing streak has come against some of the tougher teams in the NFL, however, and they were all on the road.
This also wouldn’t be the first time the Jets have hit a slump with Ryan as head coach these past three seasons. In his first two years as the Jets head Coach, Rex Ryan saw his share of adversity, and still was able to lead his team to postseason successes.
The Dolphins are 0-4 and are going to be even worse off with the loss of starting quarterback Chad Henne for the season. The passing game hasn’t impressed, but rookie running back Daniel Thomas has had two impressive performances this season. Hampered with a hamstring issue that caused him to miss two of the Dolphins four games this season, Thomas returns healthy for his first ever Monday Night contest, and he will do so against a defense that has allowed the fifth most rushing yards per game.
The Jets defense hasn’t been its usually stout self so far this season, but they have been able to record seven interceptions and force four fumbles on the year. The Jets defense was able to shut down the Baltimore Ravens offense and cause three turnovers in a Week 4 loss on the road. The Ravens have one of the better offenses in football this season, while Miami held an open tryout and competition for quarterback this past week.
The Dolphins will start Matt Moore at quarterback, who finished with 167 yards passing and an interception against the Chargers when Henne was injured in Week 4. Going up against one of the best secondaries isn’t the best way for a quarterback to make his first start with a team. When it is your first start in a year and you are facing a blitz-heavy defense, it’s even worse.
At least Moore has a solid wide receiver in Brandon Marshall… oh wait, Marshall says he plans on being ejected by the second quarter. The Dolphins don’t have much synergy on offense, a new quarterback and a head coach on the chopping block. It appears they are more geared toward drafting Andrew Luck first overall in the 2012 NFL Draft than they are turning the 2011 season around.
In the Dolphins’ last seven games, they have gone 0-6-1 ATS, while the Jets have gone an equally poor 1-5 ATS in their last six. The Jets have been able to beat teams they are supposed to beat however, in their last 12 games against teams with losing records the Jets are 9-3 ATS.
The Dolphins-Jets matchup has an over/under set at 41.5 at most books, with it going as high as 42.5. Most betters are leaning toward the under for this matchup, and we agree. The Dolphins should struggle to move the ball through the air with a new quarterback, and, because they won’t respect Matt Moore, the Jets will focus on stopping the Dolphins running game.
The weather in East Rutherford will likely dip down from the nice warmth the Northeast has felt lately, putting this game more in favor of a Jets offense used to playing in New York winters. Expect the Jets to continue their ground-and-pound mentality on offense as a way of establishing a run, and keeping the opposing defense honest.
The Dolphins will at least have the benefit of playing a veteran quarterback that likely won’t try and force throws against such a talented secondary. Instead of forcing throws, Moore will likely take sacks and scramble when pressured. The most active player for the Dolphins tonight should be punter Brandon Fields, as the Dolphins will try not to lose the field position battle in what should be a defensively charged game.
Final Prediction: Jets 24 – Dolphins 13
Nick Sero is a chief columnist for TheSportsCannon.com, a fantasy football and NFL news based website. TSC offers updated player rankings, strength-of-schedules and player updates. You can follow TSC on Facebook and Twitter for up to the minute news.