Miami Dolphins vs New York Jets Week 5
The Miami Dolphins travel to Rutherford, New Jersey this weekend in their first matchup of the season against the New York Jets. Currently, 2-0 in the division, with statement wins against both the New England Patriots and the Buffalo Bills, a win here would give the Dolphins a strong 3-0 start to their division rivalry games, along with their current head-to-head advantage over the Buffalo Bills.
While Miami currently sits top of the AFC East, they will go into this game without quarterback Tua Tagovailoa. Dolphins fans will be no strangers to the frightening injuries he sustained in the last couple of weeks, with the latter against the Cincinnati Bengals leaving fans genuinely concerned for his welfare.
Tua is out this weekend, and rightly so, giving him time to make a full recovery from a traumatic head injury, amongst other niggles and pains. The all-important factor here is that he does in fact make a full recovery and is cleared to play by all the right credible sources before he takes the field again.
Teddy Taking Over
The Dolphins will miss Tua, without a doubt. He’s had his best start in the NFL since being drafted. He’s completing almost 70% of his passes, the third-highest in the league behind only Matt Stafford and Geno Smith. He finally has the pieces around him to give him a chance to succeed. With the right coaches, a strengthened offensive line, good play calling, and a wealth of talent he can spread the ball around to the playmakers. The Dolphins do however have one of the better backups in the league in Teddy Bridgewater, who has done a job like this before, filling in for Drew Brees while playing for the New Orleans Saints, and winning every game before Brees made his return.
Teddy came in following Tua’s injury last Thursday night against the Bengals, going 14/23 for 193 yards, a touchdown, and an interception. He doesn’t have the accuracy in short-yardage situations where Tua fares so well, but he can read the field well and pick out his targets, allowing the Dolphins to move down the field.
He recognizes that he isn’t Tua. Teddy said this week “I can’t be Tua, I had to learn a lesson when I was in New Orleans. I couldn’t be Drew Brees. So it’s like, as long as I continue to be myself, the guys realize, man, this guy isn’t fake”.
That’s exactly what Miami needs him to do. Teddy needs to go out and play his own game in his own way, not trying to recreate the way Tua runs the offense. Mike McDaniel and the offensive staff will do a great job of putting Teddy and the offense in a position to succeed and ultimately try to guide the Dolphins to an excellent 4-1 start, despite the adversity.
Weapons Continue to Perform
The Miami Dolphins have done a tremendous job of utilizing both Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle so far this year. Both guys currently sit in the top six amongst all wide receivers in receiving yards, with Tyreek Hill firmly planted at number one. Hill has 477 yards and two touchdowns, putting him 69 yards clear of the number two guy in Stefon Diggs of the Buffalo Bills.
The question when the Miami Dolphins traded for Tyreek was whether he would be the same without Patrick Mahomes. So far this season it looks as though the answer to that question is a resounding yes. Tyreek is getting clear deep down the field, getting open on play action, picking up a bunch of yards after the catch and ultimately opening up Jaylen Waddles’ game too.
Waddle has 35 targets to Tyreek Hill’s 43, racking up 381 receiving yards of his own. Waddle isn’t a number two option, it’s more of a 1A and 1B approach for McDaniel’s offense. Both guys get their looks, and together they’re lethal against just about any defense. For Jaylen Waddle to be a top-six receiver while Tyreek Hill leads the league is quite the achievement for Miami, who haven’t seen an electric offense like this for quite some time. The hope this weekend is that Teddy Bridgewater can give the two of them just as much chance at success, for them to go to work against the Jets defense.
Facing New York
Turnovers will be key on Sunday. The Miami Dolphins defense is very capable of forcing turnovers. We know that of them by now and mixing up coverages and forcing Zach Wilson to throw into tight man coverage against Miami’s corners could result in a couple of well-timed turnovers.
The Miami Dolphins have missed Byron Jones at times, who is still recovering from an Achilles injury, following surgery in March. Depth at cornerback has proven a challenge, but rookie Kader Kahou has shown some promise stepping in, and could be a good option for Miami as a slot corner down the road.
The Jets have some shifty wide receiver talent of their own. Garrett Wilson looks like the real deal, and Elijah Moore is excellent after the catch. Breece Hall and Michael Carter form a dynamic backfield, and the rest sits on Zach Wilson’s shoulders.
Wilson made his return last weekend against the Pittsburgh Steelers, completing 50% of his passes for 252 yards, one touchdown, and two interceptions. Wilson has struggled with turnovers, and Miami will look to capitalize.
Miami has the power offensively to pull away from the Jets, but the New York side’s current six interceptions could be a concern. Miami only has forced one interception so far this season, and ideally, that needs to change on Sunday.
The Jets turnover differential sits at -2, while they’re getting interceptions on the defensive side, they’re also giving the ball away too much on offense. Nine total giveaways is tied for the second-worst number across the league, while Miami only has four.
The answer is simple. Protect the football, don’t give it away cheaply, and allow your offensive weapons to be great at what they’re great at. Teddy Bridgewater can keep this team firing until Tua comes back, and a 4-1 record would be a really good start to the season considering the tough schedule Miami faced in the first four weeks. Keeping hold of possession on Sunday will be key, and let’s see the defense add a couple more interceptions to their season’s stat line.
Final Prediction: Miami Dolphins 27 Jets 10