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Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
The Huddle
September 18, 2005
Season Ticket
Sun 1 PM Sun 1 PM Sun 1 PM Sun 4 PM Sun 8:30 PM
BUF at TBB NE at CAR Sun 4 PM MIA at NYJ Mon 9 PM
JAC at IND* PIT at HOU* STL at ARI *Update Times ET

Prediction: Miami 14, New York Jets 20

The Nick Saban era in Miami started out well with a monster 34-10 win over the visiting Broncos. Speaking of visiting teams that were thrashed, the Jets are home now after being dismantled by the Chiefs, 7-27. Hard to guess which one went to the playoffs and which one was the second worst team in the entire league. Playing in New York, these two trends should correct themselves to something we more easily recognize. The Jets swept Miami last season 9-17 and later 41-14 in the game played in New York.

Miami Dolphins (1-0)
1 34-10 DEN 10 Nov 13 NE
2 Sep 18 @NYJ 11 Nov 20 @CLE
3 Sep 25 CAR 12 Nov 27 @OAK
4 Open Bye 13 Dec 4 BUF
5 Oct 9 @BUF 14 Dec 11 @SDC
6 Oct 16 @TBB 15 Dec 18 NYJ
7 Oct 23 KCC 16 Dec 24 TEN
8 Oct 30 @NOR 17 Jan 1 @NE
9 Nov 6 ATL . . SAT
MIA Projections Rush Catch Pass
QB Gus Frerotte 0 0 230,1
RB Ronnie Brown 70,1 10 0
TE Randy McMichael 0 40 0
WR Chris Chambers 0 90,1 0
WR Marty Booker 0 60 0
WR David Boston 0 20 0
PK Olindo Mare 0 FG 2 XP -
Pregame Notes: And that's why they play the game. The Dolphins pulled off a major upset over the visiting Broncos last week featuring a defense that looked sharp and an offense quite unlike any seen in Miami for a long time. There was passing, lots of it and two plays that went 60 yards or more. It may only be a week and now that there is game film out there, that production may be harder to replicate but for a franchise that suffered through a horrible 2004, it was a great way to kick off a new era.

Quarterback: While there were questions up until the final few days of preseason about which quarterback would start, the selection of Gus Frerotte appears to be the right one. Easily. Gus threw for 272 yards and two touchdowns against one interception. Gone is the old power running offense and instead, a scheme that effectively mixed four different wideouts over 260 yards of production. Imported from Minnesota by OC Scott Linehan, the Fins looked just like the Vikings were supposed to look. Maybe the scheme was not imported. It was just stolen with nothing left behind in Minnesota.

Running Backs: The debut of Ronnie Brown was nothing dramatic, his 22 carries for 57 yards hardly locks down the rookie of the year award but his first game wasn't all bad and he did catch one pass as well. The Dolphins later mixed in Travis Minor (5-17) and Sammy Morris (2-14, 1 TD) in a game that got quickly out of hand in the fourth quarter. With games against these Jets, the Panthers and then the Bills, it will be a challenging way to start a career for Brown.

Wide Receivers: The new offense may have given a monster game to Marty Booker (5-104, 1 TD) but realize that although Chris Chambers had only 40 yards on his five receptions, he was targeted 14 times compared to only six times for Booker who broke a 60 yard play to get his numbers. The small Wes Welker continues to impress from the slot, taking in four catches for 60 yards. David Boston only had one catch for eight yards, but in what has to be considered a victory, he left the game with no injuries.

This could be an exciting crew this season with a scheme that will use wideouts well and a quarterback who can get the job done. Given that the Dolphins will likely trail in many games, these players should continue to have fantasy value all season long.

Tight Ends: Randy McMichael had six catches for 55 yards and one score. He was one of the very few offensive weapons last year and even though he may not take such a primary role this season, he's obviously a big part of the passing scheme.

In two games against the Jets last year, the only player of note was McMichael who had 5-51 and 7-87, 1 TD

Match Against the Defense: Comparing this offense to the Jets defense is harder to do since the only Jets we have seen so far this season are quite different than 2004. That game has to be considered an aberration and besides, the KC offensive line and Priest Holmes/Larry Johnson are a tad better than Ronnie Brown and the young O-line in Miami. Expect a better week from Brown but not by much. The Jets will be at home licking their wounds after the pounding by the Chiefs and will be plenty up for this game.

Look for a continued use of the wideouts that will see Chambers catching more of those passes and Booker not breaking off another 60 yard catch and run. The Jets pass defense has been one of the better ones in the league historically and one game away is not enough to respect the Jets any less.

New York Jets (0-1)
1 7-27 @KCC 10 Nov 13 @CAR
2 Sep 18 MIA 11 Nov 20 @DEN
3 Sep 25 JAC 12 Nov 27 NOR
4 Oct 2 @BAL 13 Dec 4 @NE
5 Oct 9 TBB 14 Dec 11 OAK
6 Oct 16 @BUF 15 Dec 18 @MIA
7 Oct 24 @ATL 16 Dec 26 NE
8 Open Bye 17 Jan 1 BUF
9 Nov 6 SDC . . MON
NYJ Projections Rush Catch Pass
QB Chad Pennington 0 0 210,1
RB Curtis Martin 100,1 20 0
RB Derrick Blaylock 20 0 0
TE Chris Baker 0 30 0
WR Laveranues Coles 0 70,1 0
WR Justin McCareins 0 40 0
WR Wayne Chrebet 0 30 0
PK Mike Nugent 2 FG 2 XP -

Pregame Notes: Maybe it was just a bad dream? The Jets started out their 2005 season by getting slapped silly by the Chiefs who ran at will against them and what once was the league worst defense held Pennington and the rest to only one touchdown in the entire game. This week answers if that game really means anything or it was just one of those poor preparation issues.

Quarterback: After looking sharp in the preseason, Chad Pennington failed to score against the Chiefs, throwing 21 of 34 passes for 264 yards, five fumbles with two lost and an interception. He was later relieved by Jay Fiedler who hit tight end Chris Baker with the shutout saving score. Pennington seemed confused and out of sorts much of the time. Chalk that up to a surprisingly god effort by the Chiefs defense sporting looks that Pennington was unprepared to see.

If history serves, Pennington can bounce back this week since he had 189 yards and three scores against the Dolphins in week eight last year. Then again, history did not indicate that the Jets would allow the Chiefs to run through them like a roach coach burrito chased down with outdated beer.

Running Backs: After leading the NFL in rushing yardage in 2004, Curtis Martin only managed 57 yards on 20 carries against a defense that had been an open door to all runners last year. He added 20 more yards on three catches and ended up roughly half what should reasonably have been expected.

Martin should certainly improve this week. He topped 110 yards in each of the games against the Dolphins last season and scored in both. The game got out of hand early enough last week that Derrick Blaylock never had even one carry. This week should give a more realistic idea of how much the Jets intend using Blaylock this season.

Wide Receivers: The return of Laveranues Coles looked a lot better in the preseason. Coles only managed 66 yards on six catches last week and yet that was better than any other receiver. Justin McCareins (3-39) and Wayne Chrebet (3-33) didn't produce any more than they did last season in the old offense. This week should be another down one for this crew as Pennington settles into the new scheme of OC Mike Heimerdinger and they face the Fins who never allowed a Jet receiver more than 56 yards in either game last season.

Tight Ends: So much for trading a first round pick for Doug Jolley. Though he did have two catches for 18 yards, that was dwarfed by Chris Baker who ended with seven catches for 124 yards and the lone Jet score. Much of that came late in the game during trashtime, but it's a sign of who the main tight end is regardless. Baker has made that trade last summer seem like a monumental waste.

Match Against the Defense: This is relatively an entirely new team that the Jets will be facing this season and correlating it to the past is much less revealing. It is safe to assume that Martin has to get on track in order for Pennington to then have time and room to throw. The Dolphins on the road should be much less of a surprise now that the Broncos have given the NFL a lesson in oversight.

Expect a solid game here from Martin and Pennington to take a more controlled approach this week that should produce moderate numbers. The defense should be much improved for the Jets and with that, a game of an entirely different flavor than last season. The Dolphins still have CB Sam Madison who will match up on McCareins, so he likely has the worst matchup.