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Roster of Jets stars vs. a tight Dolphins team

When the New York Jets get introduced before each game, it's as if the stars are coming out.

Alan Faneca? Pro Bowl.

Kris Jenkins? Pro Bowl.

Brett Favre? Desipte all logic ... Pro Bowl.

The Jets have an NFL-high seven Pro Bowl players this season. And that's not all. They have five other players who were designated Pro Bowl alternates.

That is the roster the Dolphins must defeat on Sunday to win the AFC East championship. And how do the Dolphins match up with that star-studded lineup?

Well, if you believe the names on the back of the jerseys are more important than the names on the front of the jerseys, the Dolphins can answer with only two Pro Bowl players of their own -- running back Ronnie Brown and linebacker Joey Porter. Miami also boasts two Pro Bowl alternates in Chad Pennington and Jake Long.

But that's not how the Dolphins really look at it this matchup. They see themselves matching against a roster of stars by coming with a constellation of no-names and hard workers that make up a hard-fighting, hard-working team.

So the Dolphins, in short, are hoping a good team trumps a roster of stars.

"They know if we work hard and we practice well and prepare well, we usually have a chance to play pretty well," Dolphins coach Tony Sparano said Monday. "So this team of no stars just goes out in a workmanlike fashion and prepares very well."

Now as the Biblical David versus Goliath story goes, this match isn't so one-sided on the surface. The Dolphins don't exactly look like a boy facing a nine-foot giant in the Jets. But seriously, on the surface, there should be no reason the more talented Jets should be looking up in the standings at the presumably less-talented Dolphins.

Below the surface there are reasons:

The Dolphins are coached better.

The Dolphins work harder.

The Dolphins come together better. Their fabric is knit closer, tighter. And so the Dolphins comprise a better team.

And isn't that, at the core, what football is? Isn't it a team sport?

[BLOG NOTE: I want to thank you for making Sunday the single-biggest day in the history of Dolphins In Depth. This blog had 26,300 views on Sunday, meaning 48 percent of all the traffic that clicked on Miami Herald blogs Sunday came here. Needless to say, the blog was the most popular at the paper, outpacing the next closest, which had 10,094 views. My most sincere thanks. And realizing this is a HUGE week for Miami fans as well as the team, I will do multiple updates every day throughout this week. So keep coming back.]

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