The Miami Dolphins aim to keep their playoff hopes alive Sunday when they visit the New York Jets for the first of two games against their AFC East rivals in December. Both teams are 5-6 and in need of a win to keep pace with 6-6 Baltimore for the sixth and final AFC playoff spot.
"If we lose another game, then we're out of the playoffs," center Mike Pouncey said Tuesday.
Pouncey will be back after missing two games due to a gallbladder illness, but fellow OLs Jonathan Martin and Richie Incognito remain out, with Martin on leave from the team and Incognito still serving a suspension for his role in the team's bullying scandal.
When the Dolphins have the ball: New York's strength on defense lies against the run (they lead the league allowing 2.9 yards per rush), so expect the Dolphins to try some deep passes to WR Mike Wallace early. He and Ryan Tannehill teamed up for a pair of 50-yard connections against Carolina last week, though Tannehill's passes were slightly underthrown both times.
With RB Daniel Thomas out with an ankle injury, rookie Mike Gillislee will be active for the first time all season, sharing backup duties with Marcus Thigpen. The Dolphins are near the bottom of the NFL in rush yards, though they average a middle-of-the-road 4.1 yards per carry.
New York's pass defense has taken a step back after the Jets traded CB Darrelle Revis over the offseason, but the recent addition of S Ed Reed and possible return of CB Antonio Cromartie from injury could help against Miami's depleted offense. LB Calvin Pace and DE Muhammad Wilkerson have combined for 17 sacks on the season.
When the Jets have the ball: New York will start rookie QB Geno Smith, whose 2013 has had plenty of ups and downs. He is only completing 55% of his passes and has 18 interceptions against 8 touchdowns, but he has also engineered 4 game-winning drives this season.
New York has missed RB Shonn Greene (who left via free agency this summer), but Chris Ivory and Bilal Powell have performed well in his place. New York is eighth in the league in rush yards, though that has not been enough to compensate for their meager passing attack.
The Dolphins were able to hold Carolina to one of its lowest point totals of the year last week, but could not hold up in the final minutes when they needed to make a stand. Smith will not be as tough to contain as Carolina QB Cam Newton, though.
Who has the edge? Though the Dolphins are on the road, they have been a far less mistake-prone team than the Jets this season (who are second in the NFL with 24 turnovers), and that could be the difference Sunday.
The Pick: Dolphins 24-Jets 16
Details: Miami Dolphins (5-6) at New York Jets (5-6)
TV: CBS, 1:00pm ET, Marv Albert, Rich Gannon
Line: Jets by 2
Previously: Dolphins won 30-9 in Week 8 of 2012