This week Ryan Fitzpatrick and his Miami Dolphins square up against Sam Darnold and his New York Jets for the first of Miami’s two weeks in away uniforms at the Meadowlands. This will be the second meeting between the two teams this season, as the Dolphins won game one in week nine, 26-18, Miam’s first win of the season.
Both teams playing similarly as of late
Miami has won three out of its last five games, and one out of its last two road games in that stretch. The Jets have also won three out of their last five games, but are coming off a loss to the Cincinnati Bengals, while the Dolphins’ last game was a win against the Philadelphia Eagles. New York has now surrendered the first win of the season to both Miami and Cincinnati.
Fitzpatrick: better season stats than Darnold
The quarterback battle between Fitzpatrick and Darnold should be a good one. The two are neck and neck with each other this season, both quarterbacks have 13 touchdowns on the year behind just over 2,000 passing yards each. Fitzpatrick has 2,266 to Darnold’s. Fitzpatrick does have one more interception on the season (11) than Darnold (10).
Jets’ Le’Veon Bell a game-time decision
Most of the game will likely come through the air in this one, with the Dolphins’ rush game still filled with question marks and Jets’ starting running back Le’Veon Bell questionable for the game with an illness and likely a game-time decision.
“We’re preparing for him (Bell) to play. He’s a good player at full strength. He’s a very good player at 80-percent. Obviously he’s one of the best backs in the league. Really good vision, good run instincts, very patient, can find the space and he can hit it,” Miami head coach Brian Flores said. “He does a good job in the pass game, does a good job with protection. At any point, he can break a long run, so we’re preparing for him to play, and we’re preparing for him to be at full strength. It’s a tough test.”
However, Bell playing might actually be good for the Dolphins. Bell has never reached the 70-yard rushing threshold in the regular season when playing Miami as a member of New York or as a member of the Pittsburgh Steelers.
RB carousel in Miami continues
For the Dolphins, rookie Patrick Laird will get the start in the backfield after Kalen Ballage being placed on injured reserve with what is feared as a torn Achilles. Laird becomes the fourth starting RB for Miami this season. The Dolphins also claimed RB Zach Zenner off of waivers this week for the game, who is one of four players added to Miami’s roster this week.
“It’s definitely stressful, but it’s just part of the game. The majority of players in the NFL, this will happen to them at some point (switching teams midseason). There’s probably – I don’t know what the percentage is, but I would estimate it’s a low percentage, of individuals who start their careers somewhere and end their career (somewhere else),” Zenner said.
Parker making a name as a top NFL receiver
Additionally, Miami’s top receiver, DeVante Parker, will be looking to keep up the hot streak he’s been on. He has moved into a tie for 10th place in the NFL in receiving TDs this season, going for three of his six on the season in his last five games. He has also put up 511 yards, of his 854 yards to date on the season, in those games as well. The 854 yards is a career high in a single season for Parker. The 854 receiving yards, on 53 receptions, is almost 300 more yards than the Jets’ leading receiver, Jamison Crowder. Crowder has 588 yards on the season, as well as 57 receptions and three touchdowns.
Waiver claims continue for Miami
The Dolphins’ WR woes continue as well after four of their season starters have landed on IR. The most recent addition to Miami’s roster is Mack Hollins, who just last week, played against the Dolphins in the Eagles’ loss.
“You guys know (I have) a background in scouting, so I watch a lot of – I watch everybody. The guys we brought in, I watched them all and we feel good about them. Mack Hollins for instance, he’s a tough, physical wide receiver, (and) plays in the kicking game.We like him,” Flores said. “He’s a guy that obviously, we just saw him. I watch all this stuff, so anyone we feel like can help us get better, that we feel like has some developmental potential, we’ll look into it. We don’t make every move we could possibly make, but the ones that we think feel like will help us, we try to make,” Flores said.
The rematch between Miami and New York will begin at 1 p.m. on Sunday.