NEW YORK JETS (3-3) AT MIAMI DOLPHINS (3-2)
SERIES HISTORY: 104th regular-season meeting. Jets lead series, 54-48-1. The Jets nearly got their first shutout since 2010 in the first meeting this season, a 20-6 win at MetLife Stadium on Sept. 24. The Jets have won four of their last five in Miami, but they lost there last year, as Jay Ajayi carved the New York defense up for 111 yards and a touchdown. The Dolphins swept the Jets last season for the first time since 2009.
KEYS TO THE GAME: The Dolphins come into this game riding high after coming back to beat the Falcons in Atlanta. Miami has allowed an average of less than 200 yards passing the past two weeks. The defense is good and is even more dangerous with the additions of middle linebacker Rey Maualuga and strongside linebacker Lawrence Timmons.
Miami lined up in a two- and three-tight end set against the Falcons and was successful running the ball. When Jay Ajayi is running wild, there are few opportunities for quarterback Jay Cutler to make mistakes. Last week, Ajayi had season bests in rushing yards (130) and carries (26). Miami is 6-0 when Ajayi rushes for 100 yards.
New York is one of the surprise teams and the Jets can point to the play of quarterback Josh McCown. After an 0-2 start, the Jets have surprised everyone by winning three of their last four -- and they had a chance to tie the Patriots in the final minute last Sunday.
The Dolphins are averaging a league-worst 12.2 points per game, so McCown won't be asked to shoulder a heavy burden. If McCown keeps looking to wide receiver Robby Anderson and tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins, the Jets could mount enough offense to pull off the win.
MATCHUPS TO WATCH:
--Dolphins C Mike Pouncey vs. Jets DT Steve McLendon. Coach Todd Bowles keeps saying his much-maligned defensive ends will have a better pass rush if the Jets start stopping the run, and that begins in the middle with 280-pound McLendon. If Pouncey is able to play, he might not be 100 percent; he left Miami's win over the Falcons with a concussion.
--Jets QB Josh McCown vs. Miami pass defense. The Dolphins have a pair of young defensive backs in second-year player Xavien Howard and rookie Cordrea Tankerlsey. The pass rush, led by DEs Cameron Wake (3.5 sacks) and Andre Branch (3.0 sacks) and DT Ndamukong Suh (2.0 sacks), must put pressure on McCown and move him off his spot.
PLAYER SPOTLIGHT: Jets TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins. He had a career-high eight catches against the Patriots last week and a controversial fumble into the end zone that cost the Jets a score. He has played very well since coming off suspension four games ago and leads the team with 30 targets the last four weeks. Despite missing two games, he is ninth among tight ends with 23 catches, to go with 152 yards and two touchdowns.
FAST FACTS: Jets QB Josh McCown passed for 354 yards and two touchdowns last week against the Patriots. The last time he faced the Dolphins, McCown completed 18 of 23 for 249 yards and a touchdown. He ranks second in the NFL this season with a 70.1 completion percentage (136 of 194). ... RB Matt Forte still has a little left in the tank after compiling 81 yards from scrimmage last week. He is one of five players in NFL history with 14,000 yards from scrimmage. ... RB Bilal Powell has 199 yards and a touchdown in the past two meetings with Miami. ... LB Demario Davis recorded 12 tackles last time out against Miami. ... S Terence Brooks was terrific in the last meeting with the Dolphins. He had two interceptions and earned AFC Defensive Player of Week honors. ... CB Buster Skrine had an interception, fumble recovery and three passes defended last week against New England. ... Miami QB Jay Cutler passed for two touchdowns last week in a win at Atlanta. In four career meetings against the Jets, he has 1,017 passing yards, eight touchdowns and three interceptions. ... RB Jay Ajayi has 391 rushing yards, fourth most in the AFC. ... WR Jarvis Landry aims for a third straight game with a touchdown reception. ... DE Cameron Wake recorded a sack last week and has 3.5 sacks in the last four games. ... DT Ndamukong Suh has sacks in two straight games.
PREDICTION: These teams are evenly matched. Miami's win over Atlanta was a huge confidence-builder and, although Josh McCown is more trustworthy than Jay Cutler, Jay Ajayi will be the difference.
OUR PICK: Dolphins, 17-14.