Friday, October 01, 2004

Week 4: New York Jets at Miami Dolphins (10/3/04)

Sunday afternoon at the Pro has all the makings of the second colossal South Florida mismatch in a matter of days. By most accounts, John Kerry won a monumental victory over George W. Bush at University of Miami’s Convocation Center on Thursday evening. Late Sunday afternoon has all the makings of an even more colossal rout by the hated Jets.

I really want to give the Dolphins one more chance by picking them to defeat the Jets on Sunday. Unfortunately, it’s hard for me to make a compelling case in favor of Miami. Right off, I’ll say that I pick the Jets to improve to 3-0, while Miami falls to 0-4. Some fans point to the fact that Jay Fiedler has won his last three regular season tilts with the Jets. However, for all those clamoring for Jay, remember what happened in Week 1 versus Tennessee. Fiedler’s performance was no better than that of Feeley in the second half and Weeks 2 and 3. Regardless of who plays the position, the QB is going to have little time to make decisions. Fiedler gives us a slight edge with his scrambling ability, but no enough to dissuade a fierce Jets defensive attack.

I picked Miami the last two weeks in large part because of the inexperience of QBs Ben Roethlisberger and Carson Palmer. I felt that our defense could force them into making inopportune mistakes. We can’t expect for Chad Pennington to give us those same openings. Pennington is among the league’s best Quarterbacks. In addition, he has a great running back in Curtis Martin and a lethal playmaking WR in Santana Moss. The Tennessee, Cincinnati, and Pittsburgh offenses were all mediocre at best. I’m not sure how the defense can put a stop to the Jets’ balanced attack. Miami’s defense will have to put pressure on Pennington, even if it means the Jets breaking a big play. We’ve lost by giving young Quarterbacks free reign to make plays. The defense has to play for broke and actively pursue big defensive plays.

The decision to start Fiedler is good in the short term, but bad for the long-term development of the Dolphins. This is one reason why Coach Moustache has to go. His desire to save his job is a hindrance to the team’s future. We can’t build for the future if we have Wannstedt and Spielman desperately fighting to same their respective asses. I don’t see how Fiedler helps this team win that many more games. He could win us an extra game or two, but there is not going to be a discernable difference from Feeley. Coach Wannstedt knows that a loss to New York on Sunday could spell an immediate end to his tenure. If Miami loses, its record will be 0-4. It’s safe to assume that Miami will not beat New England next week in Foxboro. The Week 6 game against Buffalo could be the last as coach for Wanny. Back to my main point. This team desperately needs a win and obviously Wannstedt still has some confidence in Fiedler. He understands that this team will fall apart if it can’t beat the Jets this week.

This season didn’t have to turn out the way it has. In each of our first three games, even one first quarter touchdown could have carried us to victory. It’s been agonizing to watch. Literally, one big play before the 4th Quarter and we could be 2-1 or 3-0. However, that won’t be enough versus the Jets. Ten points won’t be enough. Sadly, I’m looking forward to a very ugly afternoon at the Pro. Early reports speculate that more than 20,000 Jets fans will be in attendance. The chants of J-E-T-S will began bright and early at 9:00. It will get worse as the Jets rack up TD after TD. My prediction is not very bright for the Dolphins. The Jets will win this game by double-digits.

Week 4 Prediction: New York Jets 20, Miami Dolphins 9


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