The Miami Dolphins were originally scheduled to play against the Denver Broncos but due to positive coronavirus tests forcing the NFL to shuffle around schedules for eight teams, Miami will now welcome winless division-foe New York to town on Sunday.
Miami Favored for First Time Since 2018
The Dolphins open as a 9.5-point favorite against the Jets, the first time Miami has been favored to win a game since week 16 in 2018. New York recently released starting running back Le’Veon Bell and are starting backup quarterback Joe Flacco this week. Those two offensive woes, to go along with inexperience in the secondary, is part of the reason Miami is favored by more than a touchdown.
“Le’Veon Bell is a great player. He (has) had a lot of production in this league – run, pass and just a dynamic player,” Miami head coach Brian Flores said. “For us, our preparation doesn’t change. Obviously he won’t be there, but our preparation doesn’t change.”
Ryan Fitzpatrick, Myles Gaskin Lead Charge in San Francisco
Miami on the other hand is coming off a tremendous upset against the San Francisco 49ers on the road. The Dolphins came out on fire, marching down the field and scoring on their first two drives and never looked back. Quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick had his best game of the season and led the Dolphins to a 43-17 blowout victory.
Jets’ Secondary Took Massive Hits in 2020 Offseason
It’s hard to pinpoint where exactly a position battle will be held without any star power with New York. The Jets traded their best defender, safety Jamal Adams, to the Seahawks after months of tension. Their next best defender, linebacker C.J. Mosley then opted out of the season due to COVID-19 concerns.
So that leaves Jets’ defensive tackle Quinnen Williams, who will be shouldering much of the load for a desperate New York team. Williams is in just his second season and after being the No. 3 overall pick in last year’s draft. At this time, he is one of the only Jets defenders showing any solid potential.
Quinnen Williams Leading Secondary
Through five games so far Williams has two sacks, just half a sack less than all of last season, 19 tackles and three tackles for loss. Williams had four in the 13 games he played in 2019, and now moving over to nose tackle, has provided him with more opportunities for TFLs and to stop runs up the middle even more.
Myles Gaskin Out-Performing Matt Breida, Jordan Howard
Dolphins running back Myles Gaskin has been a bright spot for the Miami offense this season, while outperforming two big free agent additions in RB’s Matt Breida and Jordan Howard. Gaskin leads his group in both receiving and rushing yards, but with only one touchdown so far. However, it did come last week when Miami’s game plan was to make goal-line back Howard inactive, allowing Gaskin to score from one yard out. We’ll have to keep an eye out if this is a trend going forward.
Gaskin is stronger than he looks while also being quick enough to move through blockers and break tackles. He had a big run for 21 yards in the fourth quarter that really helped keep Miami moving down the field and the clock running against the 49ers. But even though Gaskin has led the way for an improved Dolphins run game, Flores still wants to find ways to improve.
“So run game, play-action, run defense, pass defense, kickoff, kickoff return, punt, coaching; all of it can improve, so that’s what we’re trying to do on a daily basis,” Flores said. “It starts in meetings. It starts in meetings and then you take it to walkthrough and then you go out there and practice and you try to improve and get better.”
Gaskin’s On-Field Usage Should Continue to Remain High
Gaskin hasn’t played under 60-percent of snaps on offense all season and will definitely see his fair share of action throughout Sunday’s game.
He should have a strong day despite the presence of Williams. It’s too much on Williams to ask him to be the complete leader of the Jets’ secondary, while also asking him to be 100-percent efficient with stopping the run. Not to mention he’ll be popping in on other assignments for defensive players as well.
This gives Gaskin a good chance for his second touchdown of the season against a Jets defense that allows 128 rushing yards per game and the second most rushing touchdowns in the league (nine) so far.
Miami will have an easier day without the threat of Bell and could even turn to Gaskin as the game continues to run out the clock as much as possible with a game that could get out of reach quickly. New York allows 32 points per game and can’t get anywhere close to matching that on the offensive side of the ball.