Sunday's game at Miami could be billed the "Hard Knocks" Bowl, past and present. Or maybe the Sparano Bowl, in honor of the Dolphins' former coach and current Jets offensive coordinator.
Quick thoughts on the Dolphins:
1. The Dolphins, under new coach Joe Philbin, are 1-1 after a 35-13 thrashing of the Raiders at home. The Dolphins haven't made the playoffs since 2008 (see: Sparano, Chad Pennington and the Wildcat), but they're starting to become a respectable home team. They've won five of their past six at home, following a seven-game losing streak from 2010/2011.
2. They're all about RB Reggie Bush, the second-leading rusher (241 yards) in the league. (By the way, the top rusher is the Bills' C.J. Spiller, who owes a big "thank you" to the Jets for that lofty perch.) Bush lit up the Raiders, rushing for 176 yards and two TDs. In fact, he has topped 100 in eight of his past 11 games. The Dolphins love to run him on outside stretch plays.
3. Ryan Tannehill became the first Dolphins rookie QB since Dan Marino in 1983 to win a start. Tannehill is their 2009 version of Mark Sanchez. Much like the Jets did with Sanchez, the Dolphins are trying to reduce the pressure on him by running the ball. A lot. (Unlike Sanchez, Tannehill didn't eat any hot dogs against the Raiders.) The coaches rolled him out a bunch, cutting down on batted passes at the line. Tannehill has a low release point, resulting in tips. In the opener, he had three interceptions on passes that traveled 10 yards or less, according to ESPN Stats & Information.
4. The Dolphins have perhaps the most pedestrian group of receivers in the league. The No. 1 weapon (and we use the term loosely) is WR Brian Hartline, who has 12 catches on 19 targets -- both team highs. He and Tannehill used a back-shoulder fade against the Raiders, so that's something to watch. Remember, the Dolphins traded Brandon Marshall (that would've been a fun story with Darrelle Revis) and they dumped Chad Johnson on "Hard Knocks."
5. The secondary, minus the recently-traded Vontae Davis, is thin. But the Dolphins have a tough, aggressive front seven. They've yielded only 106 rushing yards in two games. In fact, they've gone a league-best 16 straight games without allowing a 100-yard rusher. The Dolphins held the Raiders to 1-for-12 on third down.
6. Jets-Dolphins games are almost always tight affairs; 11 of the past 13 meetings were decided by eight points or less.