Dolphins vs. Jets: How do they match up in Week 15?

Jay Ajayi #23 of the Miami Dolphins rushes for a touchdown in the first quarter as Marcus Gilchrist #21 of the New York Jets looks on at the Hard Rock Stadium on November 6, 2016 in Miami Gardens, Florida. (Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images)

Jay Ajayi #23 of the Miami Dolphins rushes for a touchdown in the first quarter as Marcus Gilchrist #21 of the New York Jets looks on at the Hard Rock Stadium on Nov. 6, 2016 in Miami Gardens, Florida. (Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images)

How do the Miami Dolphins (8-5) and New York Jets (4-9) match up for Saturday night’s game at MetLife Stadium in the Meadowlands?

When the Dolphins have the ball…

Miami pass offense (27th in NFL) vs. New York pass defense (22nd)

Obviously, the loss of Ryan Tannehill will have a negative effect on the Dolphins passing game. Though backup QB Matt Moore shouldn’t be too much of a liability, head coach Adam Gase will likely call a more conservative game with the 32-year-old under center. With the right play-calling, though, the Dolphins can move the ball against a Jets pass defense that has allowed an average of 253 yards a game. The Jets, however, have held three of their last five opponents to under 200 yards passing — including in Week 9 against Tannehill and the Dolphins — suggesting that Miami could struggle to get much going through the air, especially if the weather is bad. Edge: New York

Miami rush offense (12th) vs. New York rush defense (17th)

Tannehill’s absence will almost certainly place more of the burden on Jay Ajayi and the running game — and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. The Dolphins are 3-5 this season when they throw more than they run, and they are 5-0 when they attempt more runs. It’s reasonable to assume that Miami will be in the latter category on Saturday night against a middle-of-the-pack Jets rush defense. New York has allowed over 100 yards rushing each of the last two weeks and in four of their last five contests. Miami, meanwhile, hasn’t topped the 100-yard mark rushing in the past four weeks, but a more serious commitment to the ground game should bode well for their chances. Edge: Miami


When the Jets have the ball…

New York pass offense (26th) vs Miami pass defense (10th)

The Jets passing game has been unreliable for a majority of the season, and even the patchwork Miami secondary should be able to take advantage. The Dolphins rank sixth in the NFL with 13 interceptions, while the Jets QBs are worst in the league with 19 INTs thrown. Bryce Petty is capable of piecing together a respectable performance, having thrown for 574 yards in two starts and two relief performances, but his two touchdowns, four picks and 65.6 QB rating are less than stellar. Coming off a win over the 49ers in which Petty threw the ball 35 times, you’d think Miami’s defense will be able to force Petty into mistakes. Edge: Miami

New York rush offense (10th) vs Miami rush defense (30th)

Against the Niners, the Jets ran the ball 40 times for 188 yards and two touchdowns, their best rushing performance of the season. New York has eclipsed the 100-yard mark on the ground five times in their last seven games, including a 155-yard outing against the rough and tough Ravens. But with lead back Matt Forte (792 yards, seven TDs) questionable with a torn meniscus, Bilal Powell (456 yards, three TDs) could be left to tote the rock. And he should be able to find holes against Miami’s porous run defense, which has allowed over 100 yards on the ground to each of their last four opponents, including 175 yards last week to David Johnson and the Cardinals. Miami’s struggles in this category have been a consistent theme all season long and should continue Saturday night. Edge: New York


Special teams

Andrew Franks connected on his lone field-goal attempt and three PATs last week, continuing a reliable (if underutilized) season in which he has connected on 78 percent of his kicks. Jets kicker Nick Folk has missed two extra points, but holds a slight advantage over Franks, hitting at a field-goal rate of 87.5 percent. Punter Matt Darr, though, is what separates the two sides. His average of 44.9 yards per kick is better than Lac Edwards’ 40.1 yards per punt for the Jets. Darr also has been great the last two months at helping the Fins set up their defense by playing the field-position game. Edge: Miami

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