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Three Keys

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Three Keys | John Congemi Previews Dolphins at Jets

1) Red zone offense

Over the course of the season, the Dolphins offense has improved in a lot of areas, but maybe the biggest leap has been in the red zone. Early in the season, Miami's offensive issues were apparent, especially up front in the offensive line and executing in the scoring zone. They were dead last in the league in that area but have made a drastic improvement as the season has progressed, now ranking third in the NFL. It's an important category to be more efficient in and the play of quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick has made an impact. Being more efficient running the football out of the wildcat, or when Fitzpatrick scrambles to keep plays alive, has helped creating hesitation on the defensive side of the ball. Also using the size and leaping ability of Mike Gesicki and DeVante Parker applied more pressure to the outside of the defense and created an advantage because of their overall catch radius.

2) Keep plugging away

Everyone knows that the schedule shows promise over the next three weeks with matchups against teams (NYJ, NYG, and Cinn) that have struggled as much or more than the Dolphins have this season. The New York Jets are up first and they have the distinction of losing to both winless teams (Miami at 0-7 and Cincinnati at 0-11) this season, and I'm sure that former Dolphins head coach Adam Gase doesn't want to lose to his former employer twice in one season. I would expect the Dolphins to play with the same type of energy and execution they've been able to establish over the last month and a half. This coaching staff has set a standard of expectation and it seems the players have adopted the same mind set. Play for 60 minutes and don't beat yourself by committing turnovers or penalties that allow teams to take advantage of your mistakes. If they can keep it simple, execute with efficiency early, it just might give the Jets time to implode on their own.

3) Frustrate Darnold

The Jets had won three games in a row before stumbling on the road against the winless Bengals. Quarterback Sam Darnold has had a roller coaster of a season, throwing a combined six touchdowns in victories versus Oakland and Washington, but struggling last week against Cincinnati and in his first loss against Miami. To be fair, Darnold hasn't had a lot of help in the running game or with the constant rotation and inconsistent play of the Jets offensive line. If the Dolphins defense can confuse Darnold much like they did late in their first meeting, Miami's front seven might come away with a sack or two to provide some field position for their offense. Getting the Jets off-schedule, especially early in the game, might be enough to lead Darnold to rely on his strong arm and force a few throws into coverage.

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