It's wheels up for the Meadowlands tomorrow as the Dolphins are in search of a season sweep of their AFC East rival. Avenging last year's loss at the buzzer in New York would pull Miami into a deadlock in the all-time Dolphins-Jets tilt at 55 wins apiece.
Friday Injury Report
Running back Salvon Ahmed and offensive guard Solomon Kindley are OUT.
Quarterback Tua Tagovailoa and wide receiver Jakeem Grant are QUESTIONABLE.
Quarterback Sam Darnold will start for the Jets on Sunday.
Linebacker Patrick Onwuasor is OUT.
Offensive tackles George Fant and Chuma Edoga are DOUBTFUL.
Linebacker Blake Cashman and offensive guard Alex Lewis are QUESTIONABLE.
For the rest of the Dolphins-Jets Week 12 injury report, click here.
Dolphins Head Coach Brian Flores addressed Tagovailoa being listed as questionable on the injury report.
"Any time you have an injury to any body part – foot, hand, shoulder – any hindrance is a hinderance is a hindrance," Flores said. "We just try to work through it and treat it. That's what Tua is doing just like any other player."
There's a chance the Dolphins could get reinforcements at running back in the absence of Ahmed. Miami's leading rusher, Myles Gaskin with 387 yards, is eligible to return from injured reserve.
"Myles was out there today," Flores said. "Same thing with Tua and Jakeem. We've got to watch the film, see what it looks like and then we'll make a decision."
Miami will be getting back the fourth-leading run defender among interior defensive linemen according of ESPN's Run Stop Win Rate (42 percent) in Christian Wilkins.
"Everyone's excited to have him back," Flores said. "He's full of energy. He brings the juice and energy every day."
"(Christian) brings a lot of energy," Dolphins safety Eric Rowe said. "He's obviously a key piece of our defense and on the d-line. Without him, it hurts because you definitely don't want to lose your good players; but we're always glad now that we got him back."
That energy was evident by Wilkins' Friday press conference. He teased of a hobby he picked up in his down time, which he promised he will unveil once he gets better at; but also how much of a challenge it was to miss the two games.
"The only symptom I got was 'lack-of-football-it is,'" Wilkins joked. "That was tough missing two games. I've never had to miss a game for anything in my football career. That was unfortunate for me, but now I'm more excited to be back than ever. I'm just happy to be back with the guys."
The time off was time well-spent, however. Wilkins did some reflecting when he wasn't preparing for the games in order to stay mentally sharp.
"Even though I knew I wasn't going to play or anything, or with the potential of not being able to play, I still studied," Wilkins said. "I still studied and tried to prepare each week like I was playing, just to stay sharp. Then just like I said, I just had more time to think about the game and about the great opportunity I have to play the game every day."
Jets Getting Healthy on Offense
Sam Darnold returns to the lineup after he missed the last three games with a shoulder injury. On the season, Darnold is completing 58.6 percent of his passes for an average of 5.5 yards per attempt with three touchdowns and six interceptions.
"We were prepared for both (quarterbacks)," Rowe said. "It doesn't really change our mindset because both QBs are – they're both talented... We all know his potential. Now that we know who's playing, it does give us a better game plan of some sort, but we were ready for both."
The Jets offense has additional reinforcements which were not available when they made the trip to South Florida back in Week 6. Rookies Mekhi Becton and Denzel Mims will also play in the rematch. Becton has surrendered just 12 pressures on 222 pass-blocking snaps this season while Mims is averaging 16.5 yards per reception through the first four games of his NFL career.
Dolphins rookie safety Brandon Jones played against Mims all four years when he was at Texas while Mims played at Baylor. Jones sees a playmaker in the Jets rookie wide receiver.
"He's just an overall playmaker," Dolphins safety Brandon Jones said of Mims. "He has a lot of speed, very good body control and he just makes plays."
Daily Improvement Bearing Out in the Big Picture
The goal every year when descending on training camp is to end the season a better football team than the one that arrived in August. Under Flores, the Dolphins have made incremental improvements in the month-by-month record each of his first two seasons.
Last year, after the 0-7 start, the Dolphins went 2-2 in November and finished the final month of the season 3-2. This year, after a 1-2 start in September, Miami went 2-1 in October, and have a chance to improve to 4-1 in November with a win Sunday against the Jets.
Though improvement is always on his mind, thinking back to last season never is for Flores.
"Last year was last year," Flores said. "We just take things one day at a time and try to just make improvements. I think we've seen some of that over the course of the year. What happened last week or two weeks ago or in the first 10 games of the season, that doesn't matter either. We've just got to try to get better on a daily basis."