How the New York Jets Can Beat the Miami Dolphins

New York Jets, Sam Darnold

When the New York Jets face the Miami Dolphins on Sunday, they will be competing for second place in the AFC East. The Dolphins have a better record at 4-4, so they’re certainly not world-beaters. The Dolphins have talent scattered throughout their roster, although they have not been performing as of late. Here are the keys to the Jets finding their fourth victory of the season:

It’s Not Joe Montana Back There

The best thing the Jets have going for them in this matchup is the injury to Ryan Tannehill. Brock Osweiler is a conundrum at quarterback. He’s built like a prototypical pocket-passer, but has never found consistent success. Osweiler will also be without Albert Wilson, who was having a very productive season. Danny Amendola has been Danny Amendola, consistent but not a game-breaker. That leaves Brock with Devante Parker and Kenny Stills, who are talented players without sustained success.

Dolphin’s Defense on a Downswing

It was well publicized that the Dolphins started the season 3-0. Well, they’re 1-4 in the last five weeks, in large part because of their defense coming back down to earth. During that span, the Dolphins allowed 27 points or more each week. Their defensive line is strong with Akeem Spence, Cameron Wake, and Robert Quinn. However, they have not played up to their talent level and rely on their depth. Their best defensive back, Xavien Howard, is nursing an ankle injury and has not played as well the last few weeks. Overall, the Dolphins rank 27th in Total Defense, which bodes well for Sam Darnold.

Jets Defense Outplaying Their Stats 

The Jets are ranked 24th in Total Defense, but that doesn’t tell the whole story. According to Pro Football Focus,  the Jets grade at 7th defensively. This is highlighted by 4th ranked pass-coverage play, and an 11th ranked run defense. It’s clear while watching the Jets that they play well for the majority of the game, and suffer against the big play. The Dolphins aren’t currently constructed for big-play potential, ranking 23rd in the NFL in total passing.

Will the Jets Pull It Off?

The Jets are going down to Miami, so they won’t be facing a home-field advantage type of crowd. They lost to the Dolphins on their home turf in an ugly, one-possession game. The Jets want revenge and know that this is a must-win opportunity. The Jets will try to control the clock and dictate the game, leading to a close victory.

New York Yankees Flashback: Moose, Scott, CC, and Johnny’s Dash

New York Yankees, CC Sabathia

The Yankees managed only five hits off Miguel Batista in World Series Game Five on November 1, 2001. Mike Mussina allowed only five as well, but two were singleton homers by Steve Finley and Rod Barajas in the fifth, and the Yanks entered the ninth inning down 2-0. Undaunted, Yankee fans spent the better part of an inning cheering Paul O’Neill, playing his last Yankee Stadium game, win or lose.

Everyone rooting back then remembers that Scott Brosius duplicated Tino Martinez‘s feat from the day before with a two-run, two-out, bottom-of-the-ninth, game-tying homer off Byung-Hyun Kim. Albie Lopez was the eventual loser when Alfonso Soriano singled in Chuck Knoblauch in the 12th, 3-2 Yanks. But in a perhaps forgotten detail, Soriano had made a diving catch of a one-out, bases-loaded, infield-in liner off Reggie Sanders in the 11th to keep the game going.

What took place on November 1, 2009, in Game 4 of the World Series in the City of Brotherly Love was special as well. With the Yanks up 2 to 1 in games, CC Sabathia outpitched Joe Blanton through two outs into the seventh when Chase Utley closed the score to 4-3 with a home run. Joba Chamberlain struck out two in the eighth, only to have Pedro Feliz tie it with a two-strike homer of his own. Unfortunately for the Phils, that’s when Johnny Damon took over. Battling to a two-out single in the ninth, he stole second and continued onto third when the shifted Philly infield failed to cover. Following a hit by pitch, Alex Rodriguez and Jorge Posada doubles plated three off Brad Lidge, and Mariano Rivera saved the 7-4 Yankee win.

Duh! In one of the most obvious Cy Young selections ever, Ron Guidry was awarded the 1978 AL Award on November 1. Boston’s Jim Rice would edge Gator out in the MVP voting. Three decades later, it’s pretty clear that Gator’s 25-3 mark for a World Champion team should have surpassed even Rice’s fine offensive numbers.

“Bullet” Joe Bush (1974) easily earns first mention among Yankee players who have died on November 1, even if he did spend just the 1922-1924 seasons in New York during a career that spanned 1912-1928. The hard-throwing righty posted a 62-38-4 mark while pitching in 115 games (91 starts) for the Yanks, but won 195, lost 183, and saved 20 games overall, pitching more often than not for the A’s and the Red Sox.

New York Giants: Top 3 Underachieving Players In 2018

New York Giants, Nate Solder

The firing of of Jerry Reese and Ben McAdoo was the change the New York Giants needed to get on the track to success…or so we thought. The franchise seems to keep taking two steps forward and then five steps back with their free agent signings and systematic approach toward success.

New general manager Dave Gettleman, made it a priority to address the offensive line last offseason with draft capital and salary cap space. He drafted Will Hernandez in the second round and signed left tackle Nate Solder to a record breaking deal. He also signed Patrick Omameh to play right guard and retained Ereck Flowers in an attempt to extract any value from him at right tackle.

One of the most obvious trends in this list will be that it’s centralized around one specific unit – one that is easily predictable.

The top three underachieving players in 2018:

1.) QB Eli Manning

Despite an elevation in completion percentage and overall yards, Eli Manning has been a shell of his former self. He’s clearly shell-shocked from years of poor offensive line play and big hits. My major concern with Eli is that he seems to deviate from the play-calling and has missed open receivers time and time again. His mental processing seems to be shot due to a constant worry of the pass-rush.

We always knew Manning needed an offensive line to succeed, even the most basic of fan could tell you that. The issue is that Jerry Reese simply couldn’t figure out the formula to putting one together for his franchise quarterback, effectively wasting away his prime years. It’s not Eli’s fault entirely that his team is walking into the BYE week at 1-7, but it’s important to realize that he might be too banged up to continue on as a starter in the league. The Giants would save $17 million in cap-space by cutting him at the end of the season, and the reality of his departure is becoming more apparent with every passing week.

2.) LT Nate Solder

Here comes the offensive line woes.

Gettleman nailed his draft pick with Hernandez at left guard, but my oh my did he whiff in free agency. He allocated $15 million per season to Solder at left tackle, and so far, all we’ve seen is mediocrity.

Now, it’s important to know that Solder is used to Tom Brady’s six-step drop back which allows him to recover on speed rushes to the outside. He’s far better at containing his assignment on the interior than when they try to attack his weak foot (left).

Manning on the other hand drops back anywhere from 8-10 yards, forcing Solder to adjust his game and ultimately expose his weaknesses. This is a major flaw that the offensive line coaches missed on when helping Gettleman address the left tackle position. With Manning likely leaving after this season, it’s possible the new quarterback will not require such a steep drop-back.

3.) RG Patrick Omameh

The Giants dished out a three-year, $15 million deal for Omameh to play right guard. So far, he’s been benched and replaced by reserve lineman John Greco.

Omameh is a former undrafted free agent that played “average” at times with the Jacksonville Jaguars. Clearly, Gettleman thought his coaching staff could extract more value from the guard when there wasn’t any more to gain. He has the body and strength to be dominant but lacks balance and technical prowess.

The Giants managed to grab former Rams guard, Jamon Brown, of the waiver wire this week. It will be interesting to see how they manage him and if he receives a chance on the starting line sooner rather than later.

 

New York Giants: Terrell Owens Blasts Eli Manning, Not Line

New York Giants, Eli Manning

Terrell Owens has played for rival teams, but the former Eagles and Cowboys receiver has some things to say about the New York Giants and their quarterback situation. The take is definitely a bit controversial for Giants fans. Owens went as far as to tell TMZ that Eli Manning isn’t a legend, which almost everyone will disagree with. But he also said some things that are similar to what most fans currently think.

“I mean, if it was anybody else, any other quarterback, he would have already been replaced. So, at this point, give someone else an opportunity,” Owens said, which may or may not be true. Manning hasn’t been bad enough this season to be considered a replacement level quarterback, but at the same time, the Giants passing attack isn’t helping very much to win games.

Owens did defend Odell Beckham Jr., who is still doing everything he can despite the bad play from the quarterback, offensive line, or both depending on how you look at the situation. “Odell can’t perform because the quarterback is not performing. So, they should basically replace the quarterback.”

Something that Owens didn’t mention, however, is the fact that replacing the quarterback isn’t so easy. The Giants will have their shot during the NFL Draft next year, but until then, their options are Kyle Lauletta and Alex Tanney. The rookie, Lauletta, likely won’t get playing time very soon after he was recently arrested for dangerous driving and evading police officers.

But while Owens did have some more outlandish takes such as replacing the quarterback mid-season being a good idea, and Manning not being a legendary player despite winning two Super Bowls, he had one that lines up with what a lot of Giants fans have been saying.

“You have special players that are behind those not so great lines that can make something out of nothing. Eli’s not one of those types of quarterbacks. He needs protection.”

Manning’s lack of mobility has been criticized from the start of the season until now and will continue to be a talking point unless the Giants offensive line has a miracle recovery going into the last stretch. It’s become a big enough talking point that even analysts and fans that don’t follow the Giants specifically are starting to take notice of it.

But for better or worse, the Giants have Manning for the rest of the season. Even if many would prefer to move on as soon as possible.

New York Giants Former 1st Rounder Looking Like A Bust

If you can recall the glorious days of Jeremy Shockey at tight end you likely remember his catching ability and blocking prowess in the run game. The New York Giants have gotten lucky over the years with fill in tight ends – Jake Ballard & Kevin Boss – who have played significant roles in playoff runs that ultimately resulted in Eli Manning’s two Super Bowl victories.

Finding a guy like Jimmy Graham in his prime is hard to do, but the Giants thought they had their guy in Evan Engram in the 2017 NFL Draft. He had speed and catching ability, but he lacked attributes like strength and balance. It was expected that Engram would need time to develop his blocking ability while he carved up defenses with his immense breakaway speed.

Now, I’m a firm believer that tight ends are some of the most expendable players on any given team. Why? Because they’re easy to come by if you allocate late round draft picks to them. Let’s look at a few examples to prove my point.

-George Kittle (San Francisco)

The 49ers drafted Kittle in the 5th round of the 2017 draft. Since his inception in the league, he’s managed 1,099 yards and four touchdowns. He’s a fantastic blocker and can open up the field for his quarterback. Additionally, he has stayed healthy thus far in his career.

-Jack Doyle (Indianapolis) 

The Colts’ starting tight end, Jack Doyle, is a former undrafted free agent that’s now one of the league’s premier TEs. Last season, he recorded 690 yards and four touchdowns. The Colts didn’t even have to allocate any draft capital to grab their starting TE, which only further proves my point.

Taking a look at New York Giants’ Evan Engram:

Now, if we look at Engram’s stats so far in his NFL career, it’s obvious that he’s primarily a receiver. And, it’s also important to realize that he was Eli Manning’s No. 1 target in 2017 after Odell Beckham Jr., Sterling Shepard, and Brandon Marshall succumbed to injury.

Engram has 867 yards and eight touchdowns in his career. While his scoring is his most impressive stat, he lacks the strength and size to open running lanes on the exterior of the offensive line. Additionally, he has been plagued with dropped passes, securing only 55.7% of his attempted catches in 2017 and 65.4% in ’18.

To be fair, his drafting was a classic Jerry Reese move. Taking a skill-player before an offensive lineman or edge rusher. Unless the player has the generational quality of Saquon Barkley, you must pour as much talent into the trenches and/or quarterback if need be.