X-Mas NFL: Jets at Dolphins – Merry Christmas from theSPREAD.com
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Chad Pennington and Laveranues Coles each turned in one of their best performances of the season last week to keep the New York Jets in the playoff hunt. They’re both hoping to get the chance to do it again versus one of their favorite opponents.
The Jets look to beat the Miami Dolphins for the second time this season when the AFC East rivals meet Monday night at Dolphin Stadium.
New York has won three of its last four games, including a 26-13 victory over the Minnesota Vikings last week, to keep its postseason hopes alive.
Though New England’s win over Jacksonville on Sunday ended the Jets’ chances of winning the division, they did gain control of their playoff fate. The Jaguars loss left New York (8-6) in position to make the postseason if it can win its final two games.
“It is big for us to have something to play for,” Jets safety Kerry Rhodes said. “Each game is getting bigger and bigger each week. It is on a national spotlight and it will be good to show the world what we have been doing here and letting them know what we are about.”
Chad Pennington showed the Minnesota Vikings what he was about last Sunday, throwing for a career-high 339 yards to lead the Jets. He completed 74.4 percent (29-for-39) of his passes for his third 300-yard game of the season.
Pennington threw for 175 yards and two TDs in a 20-17 win over the Dolphins on Oct. 15, improving to 5-1 as a starter against them, including four straight wins. He has thrown for 1,085 yards and eight TD passes in those six starts – his most TDs against any opponent – with just one interception.
Coles was on the receiving end of both touchdown passes in the earlier win over Miami and has nine of his 31 career TD receptions versus the Dolphins (6-8). The Jets’ wide receiver caught 12 passes for 144 yards and a touchdown in last week’s win to post his third 1,000-yard season and surpassed 500 career catches.
“He’s been outstanding not just in his production, but all of the other things that he brings to the table,” Jets coach Eric Mangini said.
With 87 receptions this season, Coles is closing in on Al Toon’s team record of 93 set in 1988. He is listed as questionable on this week’s injury report with a back injury, but has an extra day to recuperate for the Jets’ first Christmas Day game in franchise history.
New York has won its last three Monday night appearances and is an impressive 5-2 on the road this season, including three consecutive victories there. The Jets have outscored their opponents 81-37 during that road winning streak and are averaging 370.0 yards in that span.
Those marks will be tested against the Dolphins, who are holding teams to 278.7 yards per game – the third-best mark in the NFL – and 17.4 points. New York has lost three of its last four trips to Miami, but has taken 13 of the last 17 overall matchups.
The Dolphins are trying to recover from a 21-0 shutout loss to the Buffalo Bills last week that ensured they will miss the playoffs for the fifth consecutive season – a franchise first. Miami began the season 1-6, but rebounded with wins in five of its previous six games before Sunday’s defeat.
The Dolphins, who beat New England 21-0 in Week 14, became the first team since the 1977 Bears to get shut out a week after recording one.
“It’s disappointing, but we’re not discouraged about what need to do and what we have to do,” Dolphins coach Nick Saban said Monday. “Everybody is going to get pretty much evaluated on how they manage the circumstance that we’re in.”
Saban said Joey Harrington will remain the team’s starting quarterback despite completing just 5 of 17 passes for 20 yards, two interceptions and a career-low 0.0 passer rating Sunday. The Dolphins’ signal caller has lost both career starts against the Jets, completing 57.5 percent of his passes for 437 yards, three touchdowns and three interceptions.
Miami’s offense may get a boost from running back Ronnie Brown, who said he expects to play in the final two games after being sidelined since Thanksgiving with a broken left hand.
“It’s not a no-risk situation, but it’s pretty minimal,” said Brown, who leads the team with 783 yards and two touchdowns. “I’m not putting myself in too much of a risk. Everything looks good.”
By: Michael Cash – theSpread.com – Email Us
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