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Breaking down the Jets-Dolphins [with pick]

I got a phone caller on my Fins Unfiltered show Thursday night who was legitimately angry at me for having picked the Dolphins to go 10-6 last year and having been wrong.

He didn't seem to understand, as many of you don't understand, that was a prediction, not a statement of fact. Making a predictions requires zero skills, only an opinion. And as many of you would argue, that suits me great as I have no skills but plenty of blowhard opinions.

So to celebrate that angry dude's call, to celebrate my lack of skills and blowhard predictions, I'm going to break down Sunday's season-opener and make ... you guessed it, a prediction.

Things to look for between Dolphins and Jets:

Quarterbacks: Much has been made of Brett Favre's arrival in New York, which caused Chad Pennington's departure and godsend acquisition for the Dolphins. The reasons the Jets got Favre is a little curious because they weren't all about football. Sure, Favre has a more live arm than Pennington. Sure he has better career statistics. But this was as much a PR move to sell seat licenses for the new stadium as anything else. To this day Favre doesn't have full grasp of the New York playbook, which will lead coaches to trim the game plan to some essential parts that they've been able to work on and practice the past two weeks. While this will get the Jets through the game, it may not be enough to win the game, considering the Miami defense should adjust to whatever the Jets are doing within the span of a couple of series. The Jets won't have an Act. II on offense because, again, the game plan will be limited for Favre's sake. This applies somewhat to the Dolphins also, but I have been told by a couple of players I've talked to on the phone this week that coaches have a handful of "gotcha" plays for the Jets. The coaches apparently feel the Jets will have to scramble to adjust to those plays and, apparently, once they do, Miami will continue mixing its bread and butter plays with the next "gotcha" play. I've never heard of such an approach before, but obviously Pennington is on board with the plays. Moreover, I think he's more of a thinking man's QB than Favre and so he has a better grasp of the Miami offense than perhaps Favre has of the Jets offense. My concern with Pennington is adjusting to his receivers. He places a high value on knowing and anticipating those guys -- moreso than most QBs because he has to make up for some arm-strength issues. But how did Pennington get to know his receivers when Derek Hagan hasn't been all that impressive lately, Greg Camarillo has come from nowhere to merit playing time, and Ted Ginn Jr.'s conditioning will be tested as he also returns punts and kickoffs? Look for a lot of passes to the TEs and RBs, people. Regardless of this, in the heat, in the stillness of Dolphin Stadium, Pennington's smarts gets a slight advantage over Favre's slingshot arm. This completely goes the other way if it a thunderstorm rolls in and the winds start to swirl. Then Pennington could have problems as he sometimes did in the Meadowlands. ADVANTAGE: DOLPHINS.

Miami Offensive line vs. Jets defensive line: Much has been made of the Miami OL's improvement this preseason. And there is no arguing that the group is better. But I have concerns that this group is not yet cohesive. I have concerns that rookie Donald Thomas, while a fine story, still is a work in progress. I have concerns that Justin Smiley at times this preseason got blown up on a couple of plays and I wonder if that will continue? In total, I have concerns that we're expecting Little, Langer, Evans, Kuechenberg and Crusan and won't get anywhere near that early in the season. I also think the Jets' defensive line has made great strides in picking up Kris Jenkins to occupy two blockers. My point is I think we all know the Dolphins NEED to run the ball effectively to win. I have serious doubts this line has had enough time and is battle tried enough to make that happen. ADVANTAGE: JETS.

Jets offensive line vs. Dolphins defensive line: I have written on several occasions that Bill Parcells believes his DL to be Miami's strength. Gotta agree as it provides a wonderful mix of youthful potential and enthusiasm (read Kendall Langford and Phillip Merling) along with veteran leadership and experience (read Vonnie Holliday and Jason Ferguson). But the Jets counter with pretty much the same formula. I am a HUGE fan of the Alan Faneca addition. Journalists in New York tell me he has become the anchor of that line, the leader of that line, the solidifying force on that line. And Nick Mangold and D'Brickashaw Ferguson are good players also. So basically it is strength against strength. It promises to be a great battle of wills and muscle and technique. ADVANTAGE: EVEN.

Running backs: Let me make this simple. Ricky Williams and Ronnie Brown are better ball possession guys than Thomas Jones and Leon Washington. But Washington brings a dimension neither Williams nor Brown have and that is quickness on the edge. I don't see Ricky and Ronnie breaking off too many 50 yard runs this year. Jones probably won't either, but Washington is very capable. Nonetheless, slower and steady wins here. ADVANTAGE: DOLPHINS.

Wide receivers: Um, Laveranues Coles has killed the Dolphins in recent years, scoring an NFL receiver high 10 TDs on Miami. Jericho Cotchery is the most under-the-radar 1,000-yard receiver in a long time, especially considering the fact he plays in New York. The Miami receivers? Outside of Ted Ginn Jr., they are a huge question mark. And that is being kind to Ginn. This remains, in my opinion, Miami's area of greatest concern. ADVANTAGE: JETS.

Secondaries: I have a theory about Miami's secondary: It wasn't tested for most of 2007. Teams found running on the defense so easy, they just shut it down and ran the ball and killed the clock and tried to stay away from mistakes in the passing game. With the same secondary returning -- with the exception of Chris Crocker -- the Dolphins have stability back there. But I will completely believe in these guys when I see it. They are experienced and confident, but it's been a while since they've been tested and Coles has been a Dolphins killer. The Jets secondary, meanwhile, is under-rated. Darrelle Revis is a star in the making. Kerry Rhodes is the best safety in the AFC East. Eric Smith, to me, is the question mark out there at the other safety spot. The difference is the Jets have legit WRs to attack the Miami secondary. The Dolphins? We'll have to see. ADVANTAGE: JETS.

Linebackers: The Dolphins seem deep that the ILB spot but the OLBs worry me. Is Joey Porter healthy? For this game, post pain-killer? Sure. Beyond that? We'll see. Can Matt Roth keep from getting used in coverage? We'll see. Is Charlie Anderson a legit pass-rush threat in obvious passing situations? We'll see. Question marks, question marks, question marks. The Jets got Calvin Pace when the Dolphins backed away from paying him $22 million in guaranteed money. Regardless of the price, the Dolphins nonetheless thought highly of Pace so you should also. Bryan Thomas is not spectacular on the other side, but he is proven and steady. Inside the Jets are nowhere near as deep as Miami -- with former Miami DE David Bowens actually listed as a backup there. But Eric Barton is steady and David Harris has the potential to be a very good player. ADVANTAGE: EVEN.

Kickers/Returners: Mike Nugent proven. Dan Carpenter unproven. Leon Washington and Justin Miller consistent. Ted Ginn Jr. still inconsistent. ADVANTAGE: JETS.

Coaching: Make no mistake the Dolphins have put together a good staff this year. Know what? Outside of the head coach, they had an good coaching staff last year. And they went 1-15. I will be interested to see how this Miami staff tries to highlight Miami's strengths and masks the weaknesses, particularly on offense. How are they going to run the ball when New York's primary job on defense will be stopping the run? I have great respect and admiration for how Eric Mangini brought to New York the New England idea you can revamp from game to game, showing things you haven't shown all season and discarding things you've shown before to confuse the opponent. Make no mistake, the Jets coaching staff is excellent and now moreso since the addition of Mike Westhoff on special teams. I have no reason to question whether Tony Sparano will be fine Sunday. Parcells believes in him. That's good enough for me, and I suspect, you. But experience at the very top of the coaching staff? That edge is on the other sideline. ADVANTAGE: JETS.

WEATHER: Remember when the Dolphins used to have a legit home field advantage in September because of how hot South Florida still is this time of year? Well it remains hot although the past four seasons the Dolphins are 3-5 at home in September. The forecast for Sunday calls for the temps to be in the low 90s. The problem is there is a 30 percent chance of showers which would cool things off a bit if they hit Dolphin Stadium. If there is no rain, you should begin counting the number of Jets players throwing up and looking winded around the middle of the third quarter. It should be a definite Dolphin advantage given the fact Miami has practiced -- sometimes twice a day -- in the brick oven that is Davie, FL. the past few months. ADVANTAGE: DOLPHINS.

Intangibles: The worry here is that if ,and when, things go poorly on Sunday, will the Dolphins begin to doubt themselves? This team is interesting in that it has a lot of players who have NOT won a lot of games in the NFL lately. The rookies haven't ever won in the NFL and they'll be more concerned with surviving. The vets like Holliday and Will Allen and Vernon Carey and Channing Crowder and Justin Smiley have lately played for losing teams. When it is late and one drive may clinch victory for one team or the other, can the Dolphins remember how to win? You might argue the Jets might not remember, either. Except that doesn't apply to guys like Faneca and Favre and Jenkins and Jones who have all played in Super Bowls. The Dolphins in that difficult hour would have to draw from Ferguson and some of the Dallas guys who won a lot last year. Not too sure that is a good matchup for Miami. ADVANTAGE: JETS.



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Dolphins need to control the clock and contain NY's running game.
This plays into Pennington's ability to dink-dunk with high percentage pass plays. Factor a 90 degree day into this and the running game should be huge in the 4th quarter. Go Dolphins!

Right on, Mando. Jets win this one.

I am finally excited about my Dolphins again. I am not sure what to expect and this first game will tell me a lot about this new YOUNG team.....

I am a homer and so I feel Miami will win by Defense and running the ball effectively.

Miami 17 Jets 3

Dolphins 16, Jets 13.

Goal Line defense prevails for the Phins.

Errata: the great offensive line of Shula dynasty era you refer to included Wayne Moore at the other tackle, not Crusan.

And can you and the rest of the Dolphins press corps teach Head Coach Sparano better speaking skills. He says "that way" in every sentence. That way, that way...he sounds stupid. I don't think he is stupid, but he needs to work on being more articulate.

I have to agree with your pick. While I think the Fins are improved, I don't know how this team will react. They are a work in progress. I expect them to struggle early in the season then get better as season moves on (hopefully).

Teddy Ginn wins this game on a special teams return. Dolphins 24, Jets 16

Well the one thing I read that made the most sense was the fact about your skills. You're right, you have none.

Keep Washington and Coles out of the endzone, keep pressure on Favre, and keep handing the ball to R&R. No 50 yard break aways this year? You're a fool. Dolphins win 17-13.

It obviously doesn't take much to be a journalist in South Florida anymore. Where can I get an application?

jejejej predictions from you are just bull cr@p

Now I know for sure that the Fins are going to win because Armando has predicted them to lose!!!! Now, where is the deed to my house and the phone number to my buddy in Vegas...?

The fins will win 28-23

AndyP and Cote: Is that the best you can do?

And Lenox: I got your application right here, buddy.

fins win 28- 17

Mr. Salguero,

Are you in fact a dolphin fan or jets fan?

Mando...Why you gotta be so pessimistic? Chad will come thgouh and get his revenge. Ricky will run like there's a "Blunt" waiting for him at the end zone, ferguson will show this D-Line what it means to stop the run and the Ted Ginn family will finaly show they were worth being picked in the first round...

Phins 17 Jets 10

All very good and valid points. but i'm gonna go with my optimism here and say dolphins win it 20 - 17

Who knows what is going to happen, but the Dolphins sure looked good against the Jaguars this preseason. I wouldn't want to bet that the Jets are better than Jax. You can say what you want about the preseason, but Jax did not want to lose that game and treated the first half like the regular season. The Dolphins also shut down Larry Johnson. I'm counting on the Dolphins using ball control with R&R. and keeping Favre off the field. This will also wear out the J-E-T-S defense in the heat and Miami wins.

I hope the Dolphins win. But having read the breakdown, I understand Armando's logic.

Hope you are wrong, buddy. But like you said, it's a prediction. We all can have an opinion.

Armando, you can't rank things this way, if Miami's running game is better than NY's but NY's O-Line is better than Miami's, and their DL's are even, then they all cancel each other out. If Miami's QB is better, but there WR are worse, and Jets Qb is worse but receivers are better, they also cancel each other out.

If I use your logic, then they score will be a tie 0-0. Oh, but the Jets might have good field position due to ST returns....oh well, the Miami heat will counter that.

Oh well the Jets have the coaching edge (you can't possibly REALLY believe that)! And the intangibles! They have more guys who won games last year! What about the Miami home field advantage and kicking out of the infield? What about the higher odds of a Jets player being shot in Miami gang drive-bys or getting an STD from a Miami Beach hooker? You missed all those intangibles!

Armando, you can't rank things this way, if Miami's running game is better than NY's but NY's O-Line is better than Miami's, and their DL's are even, then they all cancel each other out. If Miami's QB is better, but there WR are worse, and Jets Qb is worse but receivers are better, they also cancel each other out.

If I use your logic, then they score will be a tie 0-0. Oh, but the Jets might have good field position due to ST returns....oh well, the Miami heat will counter that.

Oh well the Jets have the coaching edge (you can't possibly REALLY believe that)! And the intangibles! They have more guys who won games last year! What about the Miami home field advantage and kicking out of the infield? What about the higher odds of a Jets player being shot in Miami gang drive-bys or getting an STD from a Miami Beach hooker? You missed all those intangibles!

A nice insightful, detail-filled breakdown, especially from someone with such limited skills :)

I'll be watching to see whether or not Pennington can get them to at least fear deep routes. Chad P. doesn't really have to complete a bomb, just get them to think that he could.

If Chad P. makes the Jets' d-backs go bug eyed at the thought of Ginn getting behind them then they can't pack in to bust run plays and jump on short routes.

No matter how accurate or anticipated the throws, it could be a real long day if the Jets feel safe to assume that nothing goes longer than 20-yards in the air.

Armando, you can't rank things this way, if Miami's running game is better than NY's but NY's O-Line is better than Miami's, and their DL's are even, then they all cancel each other out. If Miami's QB is better, but there WR are worse, and Jets Qb is worse but receivers are better, they also cancel each other out.

If I use your logic, then they score will be a tie 0-0. Oh, but the Jets might have good field position due to ST returns....oh well, the Miami heat will counter that.

Oh well the Jets have the coaching edge (you can't possibly REALLY believe that)! And the intangibles! They have more guys who won games last year! What about the Miami home field advantage and kicking out of the infield? What about the higher odds of a Jets player being shot in Miami gang drive-bys or getting an STD from a Miami Beach hooker? You missed all those intangibles!

I apologize for the multiple posts, my browser went crazy, had to restart.

Phins 28- Jets 17. The Phins aren't going to be a powerhouse... they'll win around 6 games this year, but as long as 2 of them come against the Jets, I'm good with that.

Come on D- Make Favre remember why he retired.

Good work Mando.

Hands down, Miami will dominate the Jets both sides of the ball. Miami will win special teams and the running game. Miami will get pressure on Favre (joey porter, Vonnie Holliday, and my boy Yermiah Bell). Its a wrap.

The Jets should be favored, but the matchup is a close one in my view. It could go either way.

There were a few grammatical errors in this article. Thank God it is a blog and not something in the paper! Either way, it is a new season for Miami and that is exciting, I was pretty bad on my predictions last year to all of my friends, I was right once and wrong fifteen times!!!

Maybe this year I will do better.

Dolphins offense clicks more than you think this season !
Fish 24- jets-14
YAY Let's support McCain after that speech, lol.
Obama40,ooo,ooo - McCain-those fake clappers pretending to be moved at RNC.


"What about the higher odds of a Jets player being shot in Miami gang drive-bys or getting an STD from a Miami Beach hooker? You missed all those intangibles!"

Classic that shet was funny!

Nice breakdown Armando!
I agree with alot of the things you wrote but I think the wheather gives the phins a big advantage. If it ends up being rainy and windy they probably run the ball a lot and that works far more for the phins then the propellars....but I agree with another post above and I thing the game will be decided on special teams.....it's either going to be up to Ginn or Washington and I hope its Ginn.

Phins 20 Propellars 10

Go Phins

Hey Mando, I'm going to have to disagree with you. I think Dolphins win this one. Also, I've been meaning to ask you, why do you keep using that old picture for your blog. You look A LOT older now and about 30 pounds heavier, update it.

Could you please send me an application?

Do they pay for relocation?

What is the starting pay rate?


Concerned Reader and Dolphin Fan

Armando, you and I have gone at it on numerous occasions. And, you know I have called you just about every name in the book. But, I must say, that article was funny. You made me laugh. I don't agree with every point, but I must admit you made your points and came to a final score conclusion. You prefaced it well. you ended it well.

I will counter point you later after I have finished reviewing some more tape on the J(Br)et(t)s. I think the score will be somewhat low as typically defenses are ahead of offenses at this stage of season. And unlike you, I think our special teams will be a key contributor... So, my "blowhard" intial analysis points to a 17-10 Miami win!

Adam Schein's upset special of the week- "Ricky Williams Is BACK!!!" "Miami wins 17-14" Gotta go with the optimism on this game, you KNOW Parcells and Sparano aren't going to let their first game of the season be a loss to the Jets. Throw Pennington in the mix, everyone on this team knows this game sets the pace for the rest of the season. Favre had Mangina dummy up the book for him, and Pennington is all over playbook. I wish i could watch but we dont get many Phins games here in Montana so if anyone knows of an online feed of the game, (that stoogetv thing never works for me) It'll be much appreciated! Go Phins!!

Wow some really optimistic fans out there remember people we went 1-15 last year. I'll be ecstatic if we beat the jets but i think we'll be lucky to beat them with favre and their free agent acquisitions. could very easily start 0-4. End of the season the schedule gets much easier maybe we finish 6-10.

Favre will feel the pressure to play well after creating such a circus this offseason. When things don't go well and Favre feels pressured he starts throwing anything and everything up, which usually translates into 2,3, or 4 interceptions a game like he did just 2 short years ago in Green Bay. Lets hope for the phins sake he takes up his old ways and Mr. Pennington can capitalize with his accuracy and leadership on the otherside of the ball.

17-14 Miami

Go phins!

zeninzion, the game is number one on CBS. It is being shown in 65% of the country on CBS. Are you THAT unlucky?

Armando, how is Ginn inconsistent on returns? It wasn't his fault the guys in front of him last year sucked. The guy has returned 4 for TDs even though two were called back and one was in the preseason this year. Very few players even break that many in a career.

Also, Coles is banged up so maybe he won't be such a problem.

Mr Bungle, if he were "consistent" he would return one for a TD every game!

One thing is sure: you can't give the W to the Jets just yet. And that alone is much more than what we had last season.

I believe it's going to be really close and will be decided in the last minutes (or seconds), and that's what scares me as I don't know if the dolphins have the experience to handle that.

Go fins!!!

Hey Tin not even Hester returns one a game

come on now one a game is a little too much to ask for

Not that it would not be nice just unrealistic

Any idea how well Kris Jenkins is faring in NY so far? The mark on him was that he had lost a step and was woefully out of shape. If he's the Kris Jenkins of 2003-2005, he's a monster. If he's the 2006-2007 version, he'll be toast by the middle of the 2nd quarter.

I'd also like to think that our O'line has been tested plenty by Ferguson and the 3-4 scheme they've been going against in practice. Hopefully they'll be able to dominate the line of scrimmage like they did vs Jacksonville and KC. If so, the Jets better look out.

Good one Tinshaker.

Armando, my visceral distaste for the Jets will cloud any objective attempt at an honest prediction, so I’ll give you my biased one. Watching the Miami OL against a very good Jags front seven leads me to believe this may be the best group we’ve seen since our playoff days. There were some players out there for Parcells and company to pursue if they thought Donald Thomas was not up to the task but the kid has held his own. I think we will play well if not dominate on both sides of the ball in the trenches.

Before his lapses in to Ganja land, Ricky Williams could gain 100 yards behind even a mediocre OL. From what I have seen, Ricky is back in form and has Ronnie Brown to spell him. This does not bode well for the Jets because if we can get the running game going and force 8 into the box, then you will see why Camarillo was chosen over Hagan. He will be hitting the seams vacated by the safety and he can catch the ball. Once they are forced to pay attention to him you will see Bess enter the game. Then it will be Bess and Ginn deep.

Matt Roth is the key to the game on defense. I expect a lot of tight end passes behind Roth or swing passes in front of him. If we are forced to pull a safety in to help Roth then Farve will strike deep. If we pull Roth and go with a better cover guy, I look for the Jets to try to get outside on the run.

But I think the Jets are trying to game plan us more than we are them; meaning they will revert to things not normal in their offense to pick on our weakness while we are going in with a simple smash mouth plan. If our plan holds true we will keep Farve off the field and if we can score a few points it will put Farve in gun slinger mode. Once Farve is in gun slinger mode we will pull Roth for the 5th DB negating their advantage. Then it will be up to Farve to beat us and I wouldn’t put it past him but I don’t think he has enough time with his WRs to be as good as he will be later in the season.

Prediction: Miami 24 – Jets 17

Finfan in Orlando, all I can do i shake my head...

Your right Mando - blowhard prediction but i would not expect anything different from you aka Debbie Downer!! The Heat- running game and smarter QB win this game - Fish 28 Jets 17

Chad is a godsend; one man's trash is another man's treasure.


You justified the Pets being better than us at several positions because of experience, yet you gave our DL a wash with their OL. I agree that until they prove something, the Young'uns gotta be ranked below those with experience, but then you have to include this group as well. Fergie, and Vonnie are the only solid veterans we have there. Most of the guys are real raw. I think they will show up, and will make a difference in this game, but before game, they have to be ranked behind the Pets' OL. Despite that difference in opinion, I believe the rust, and lack of conditioning hurts Favre, and I also believe the knowledge Penny brings of the Pets system will be the difference. Fins 17, Pets 9

Uh, JetKilla, we lost SEVEN by three or less.

Never know Tin, Montana is a year or two behind everyone else in the country (Besides the dakota's) We're still watching last seasons games as if being played now! lol, Don't tell me how we finish out the season, i hate a spoiled surprise!

low scoring game..... Dolphin victory

And YOU cover this team WHY?? Have you forgotten the jests won all of 4 games and only beat 3 teams in total? Your drooling over them makes me sick.
I won't make this mistake again, meaning reading you.

let's go jets blow ! phins 28 jets 14

RealDeal I cover this team because it is my job. I have not forgotten the Jets stunk last year. But I also didn't forget they beat Miami twice last year, and the year before.

Meanwhile, I trust you will not make the mistake of reading me again. But what about Hunter and Jets are a farce and Super Duper which you also use as identities on this blog? Are your other personalities also not reading the blog?

i like the fins 37, jets 9 in somewhat of a dissapointing game for the fins, pennys going to be hot for not hangin 40+ on his sorry sack of ex teamates. ohh yeah b favre? knocked out cold by a blitzing joey porter in the 2nd quarter.

-peace in the street, -dcapri

Woody, Miller, Ellis and Coles are all questionable for the game.

Armando, nice play!

Mr Bungle, but I will be there! Well, not THERE, but I'll be watching and will reconvene with you all on Monday morning. Go Phins!

first its amazing anyone would give the fins the edge in QBs unless henne were to be involved with the deep ball threat to open up the run. if penny had that ability he would be in the jets uni not favre. he can still do it all much better than younger players. don't forget he can make his own plays... and has done so for years. we can only hope penny can watch and learn from favre.. might be like taking candy form a baby.. hope he has a great game but never count out favre superior ability.


I know its only a prediction, but you are starting off the season on a bad note. You are not the only one who thinks Miami is going to lose, basically everyone outside of Miami thinks that way. I think you and everyone eles is in for a big surprise. Not many people outside miami know Langford and merling or roth moving to another position and playing VERY GOOD BALL or Y. Bell being 100 percent (Finally. Crowder is in his contract year, that spells GREAT YEAR. The fins will go 6-10 this year sounds bad, but the jets will also be 6-10.

And correct me if am worng, but everytime I see Farve on TV talking, he sounds like he has no clue on whats going on. I bet you anything he regreats going to NY, cause the pressure is on, and at 39 years old he is NO miracle maker.The jets are trying to buy a championship but lets face it, they are probably the 3rd best team in the AFC alone )Pats, bills, Jets. Lets not forget they went 4-12 last year. Farve probably gives them 2 more victory, as much as chad will give the fins.

This is a no brainer to me Fins 24-13 over the jets!! To much R&R this week for a defence thats just not that good.


Y. Bell is as good as Rhodes; if not better when (on the field) lolololol.

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