For both New York and Miami, Sunday's showdown is as close to a must-win as a game in October can be.
If the Jets win, it makes up for the loss three weeks ago at Miami, and evens the Jets up at 2-2 in the division. A loss would put them at 1-3 with the last two divisional games being on the road. It would tie them with the Dolphins in the loss column, and if Buffalo wins this week, the two teams would be tied. It would put any divisional hopes away, and put the Jets behind the eight ball.
The Jets talked in the offseason, they talked before the first game, and they're talking again now. They want Miami. They think they can beat them. Well, at home, they had better. Otherwise, that has to be a punch to the gut, especially heading into a bye week. The Jets have been chomping at the bit to face the Dolphins again, and three weeks seemed like forever. How about two weeks without anybody to take out their frustrations on? Then again, they lost at home to the Bills, so who knows their motivation.
But on the bright side, a win would likely show that the run defense can survive without Kris Jenkins. Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams gashed the Jets with their stud nose tackle; without him could spell trouble. Miami, after all, is the 2nd leading rushing team in the NFL at 170 yards-per-game.
Who is the best rushing team statistically? After back-to-back 300+ yard rushing performances, the Jets are now the NFL's top rushing tea at 184 yards-per-game. While Shonn Greene made a huge impact against the Raiders, the Jets will miss Leon Washington a lot against the Dolphins who are a very good run-stopping team. The Jets ran all over weak run defenses in Oakland and Miami. Let's see how they do against a team that can stop the run, and maybe Mark Sanchez can throw a little bit on a banged up and not particularly strong secondary.
Besides, a win would put them right back with New England. The Jets need to win their games at home, and their games against inferior opponents if they have any hopes of winning their division, and a win would give the Jets a chance and make the game against New England next month huge.
For Miami, it's do or die right now. At 2-4 they need a win now. They can call themselves the best 2-4 team in the NFL, (though Carolina and Seattle refuse to call their seasons over yet either) but wins need to start coming now, or the season will slip away. There is a huge difference between 3-4 (and 3-0 in the division) and 2-5, especially when a road game against the Patriots follows.
This is as close to a must-win as it gets. If they have any hope of making the playoffs this year, they need to at the very least split these two road games against the Jets and Patriots, and they have to think the Jets are the easier of the two opponents. After all, they did beat them just three weeks ago with Kris Jenkins.
Miami just blew a 24-3 lead last week, and they have to be angry. They were mad at the Jets in the first game, and it is clear that the juice is back in this rivalry, so they'll be fired up again. This should be fun.