Miami (8-5) at NY Jets (4-9)
When: Saturday, December 17th 2016
Where: MetLife Stadium, East Rutherford, NJ
Time: 8:25 ET | TV: NFL Network
The Miami Dolphins will try and stay in the playoff hunt without their starting quarterback when they visit the last place New York Jets on Saturday night. Ryan Tannehill is out with an ACL and MCL sprain in his right knee, so Miami will turn things over to veteran Matt Moore in their drive to end an eight-year playoff drought. The 32-year-old Moore will make his first start in five years on Saturday night as Miami begins a stretch of three straight games versus AFC East opponents. Moore led Miami to a game-winning field goal in Sunday’s 26-23 win over Arizona to stay tied with Denver for the final Wild Card spot in the AFC. Miami might look to run the ball more with Jay Ajayi against a Jets team that allowed San Francisco’s Carlos Hyde to run for 193 yards on Sunday. Ajayi ran for 111 yards in Miami’s 27-23 victory over New York on November 6th, but has struggled to get going of late with 154 yards on 50 carries over his last three games. Ajayi recorded back-to-back 200-yard performances with Mike Pouncey in the lineup, but the Pro Bowl center was placed on injured reserve Tuesday with an ailing hip. Wide receiver Jarvis Landry (team-leading 79 receptions) was limited to a season low-tying three receptions for 33 yards against the Jets in Week 9.
The Jets season has been over for weeks, but they’re coming off a spirited comeback victory over San Francisco last week 23-17 in overtime. Bilal Powell exploded for 179 yards and two touchdowns on 34 touches in the win and could receive more carries against Miami’s 30th-ranked rush defense (133.8 yards per game) with veteran running back Matt Forte nursing a knee injury. Quarterback Bryce Petty has found some chemistry with rookie wide receiver Robby Anderson. The pair hooked up on a 26-yard reception to set up the winning touchdown in overtime Sunday. Anderson has converted 23 targets over the last two games into 10 catches for 160 yards and a touchdown. Veteran wide receiver and former Dolphin Brandon Marshall (team-leading 56 catches, 744 yards) matched his season low with three receptions for 33 yards versus San Francisco. The defense has shown signs of dominance, but at other times has been gashed, allowing 27 or more points seven times. They are 19th in overall defense (355.5) and 24th in points allowed (24.9). Like the Dolphins, the Jets will finish up the season with the other three teams in the AFC East.
I can see Ajayi getting 100+ yards in this game, but there’s a lot of pressure on Moore this week and he’s very inexperienced as a starter in a big game. The Jets will force turnovers and eek out an ugly victory in this one for the second straight week.
Pick: Jets +2.5