It’s a must-win Monday night as the New York Jets return home after losing three straight on the road and seeing a shaky rush defense exposed. They not only needed a home game, but they needed a weak opponent, and the schedulemakers finally smiled on Rex Ryan in handing him a prime-time date with winless Miami.
New York was able to establish a running game behind Shonn Greene last week in New England and I expect to see a carryover effect against the Dolphin rush defense. Mark Sanchez has a lot of good qualities at quarterback, but being able to carry a team just isn’t one of them and he needs to be supported by a steady running game and Ryan’s traditionally solid defense.
Which brings us to problem #2 in New York. Ryan’s defense hasn’t been so solid, and they’ve been really soft against the run, as Oakland, Baltimore and New England all gashed them up front during these past three weeks. However there’s a big difference between those three running games and the mediocre attack Miami brings to the Meadowlands tonight. Without a running game, the Fish have no shot at repeating their 2010 upset in this venue a year ago.
Perhaps the only thing that can hold the Jets back is temptation. The temptation to open up the offense and get away from the run, based on the fact that the Dolphin pass defense ranks 30th in the league and corner Vontae Davis is nursing a hamstring injury, though he is going to play. Although even if much-maligned offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer does get away from the run, he probably still gets away with it because Miami just isn’t good enough to do anything about it. It could be a breakout night for Plaxico Burress, and however it actually shakes out, it should be an easy win for Ryan that gets his team back to .500.