NEW YORK—The consensus is that this will be an easy one for the Dolphins, and it should be considering the Jets are arguably the worst team in the NFL.
Still, there are no guarantees. If Miami’s going to avoid an embarrassing upset and pick up a victory it can’t afford to squander, here are five players who have to play well:
1. RB Jay Ajayi
The Dolphins are counting on Ajayi taking on a big workload this season, and the aftereffects of getting 28 carries last weekend had him sitting out of practice two days to recover. He’s got to show durability, and there’s no reason he shouldn’t dominate a Jets defense that allowed 370 rushing yards in its first two games.
2. DT Davon Godchaux
With starter Jordan Phillips likely out because of an ankle injury, this is an opportunity for Godchaux to make his case. He had the job most of training camp before Phillips jumped ahead of him late, and a strong performance against the Jets would make it difficult for the coaches to put him back on second string.
3. TE Julius Thomas
Thomas had three catches for 26 yards last week, and the Dolphins likely envisioned a little more impact when they traded for him last offseason. As Miami tries to improve in the red zone after failing to score touchdowns on all three trips last game, Thomas is someone who knows how to be the go-to guy in that part of the field. Whether he can physically do it is something he has to prove.
4. LB Mike Hull
The Dolphins played Hull and Kiko Alonso the entire game last weekend. The linebackers as a whole have their hands full with Jets running back Matt Forte, who leads their team with 127 total yards from scrimmage. Hull has to keep his feet and stay with him as a runner and receiver.
5. WR DeVante Parker
People want more. Parker made some exceptional plays against the Chargers on his way to 85 yards on four catches, and the next step is to do it consistently. That task is more difficult now that he’s dealing with an ankle injury. If Parker continues his progress, he’s headed toward becoming the matchup nightmare the Dolphins envisioned when they drafted him No. 14 overall.
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