Monday, October 12, 2009

Week 5 vs. Jets Prediction

Let me start off this prediction post by addressing a question I received from a reader about tonight's matchup:

Do you think Wake will have the same success with the Jets that he had with the Bills? Although the Jets look like they have improved overall from last year, how strong is the Jets defense against the run?

It would be a miracle if Wake could produce the same huge game two weeks in a row. For starters, Joey Porter will most likely be back in the starting lineup, which will bump Wake back down the depth chart and limit Wake's opportunities to rush the QB. Secondly, Wake won't have the pleasure of facing an injury-ravaged offensive line (which wasn't spectacular to begin with) like he did versus the Bills. And finally, a lot of Miami's pass rush last week came much easier than normal because they got out to such a big lead so early. Essentially, that allowed the outside linebackers to just tee up and rush the QB for most of the game without fear of having to defend against a draw play or other run play since they knew Buffalo would be forced to pass on most plays from there on out.

I just don't see Miami getting out to such a big lead this week, and so the OLBs won't be placed in as many obvious passing downs.

As far as how the Jets fare against the run, Football Outsiders has their rush defense at -6.5% DVOA (remember, negative is good when it comes to defense), which is 15th best in the league. So the Jets have a truly average rush defense so far this year, falling right in the middle of the pack. They can be run on. It's their pass defense, at -30.3% DVOA (4th in NFL) which scares me.

Miami is going to try to win this game on the ground, as per usual, I would expect. But if they fall behind, they are going to have no choice but to pass the ball, and with Henne under center against this defense, that may be extremely difficult.

As for my prediction, I think Miami improved their outlook tremendously last week, but that performance must be taken with a grain of salt when you see that the Bills are so bad (losing to Cleveland 6-3!). On the other hand, I don't think the Jets are as good as they have appeared so far this year. However, I look back to Miami's two games against the Ravens last year and see how completely Rex Ryan's defense shut down Miami's offense, and that forces me to pick the Jets to win this week, (although I like Miami's chances a little better if Cotchery can't play). For the record, I'm 2-2 at picking the Dolphins games this year.

After last week's win, Miami's playoff chances now stand at 4.5%.

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