There’s a lot of history wrapped up with the current events of today’s Jets-Dolphins game at the Meadowlands.
Needless to say, the Jets would like to win this game for many reasons — to pay back the ‘Fins for the 31-27 Monday night loss at Miami three games ago, to improve to 5-3 overall and 2-2 in the AFC East heading into their bye week, to continue to show that they can win and win decisively in the wake of season-ending injuries to two of their Pro Bowl players, Kris Jenkins and Leon Washington, the previous two weeks.
And in the process, the Jets wouldn’t mind winning to add to their history, some of which will be much in evidence today. This game has been designated an AFL Legacy Game by the NFL as part of the league’s recognition of the 50th anniversary of the American Football League. For the Jets, one big part of this game — indeed, this weekend — is the honoring of much-decorated offensive tackle Winston Hill.
Hill is here today after he, his wife Carolyn and 15 teammates took in the walkthrough practice at the Atlantic Health Jets Training Center Saturday morning and then a dinner in Winston’s honor last night.
Today we’ve already seen the "standup" panels that capture No. 75 in action and candidly on the sidelines during his 14-year stay in green and white, during which he was named to play in four AFL All-Star Games and four NFL Pro Bowls. They were up for a pregame runthrough and they’ll be brought out again when Hill is honored by his teammates, family and 78,000 friends in the stands at halftime ceremonies.
Also for this game, the Jets will be in their road Titans of New York uniforms — white jerseys, gold pants, navy blue trim. Some people like the Titans unis, some don’t, and most of us don’t believe in superstition. But it should be noted that in the last five games they’ve worn their predecessors’ garb (four in navy jerseys, last week at Oakland in the white road jerseys), the Jets are 5-0 and have outscored opponents by 184 points to 79, or an average of 37-16 each game.
That would be an acceptable score for today’s contest. But knowing the toughness of the Dolphins’ Wildcat offense and front seven defense, a 17-16 win would be OK, too.
It rained through the night and the morning began overcast, but right now the clouds have lifted and some blue sky is even poking through. The forecast is for clouds and temperatures in the upper 50s for this game. But while it is dry at the Meadowlands, it is also windy, with the flags atop the stadium whipping pretty nicely.
Of course, with the winds clocked at 18 mph from the north two weeks ago, Mark Sanchez struggled in throwing five interceptions to Buffalo. But Sanchez said of that day’s weather: "I don’t think it affected me at all. … There’s no way I can blame it on the weather." Today will be his first home test since the 16-13 overtime loss to the Bills to see if he’s come to grips with the Meadowlands gusts.
Jim Nantz and Phil Simms will be calling the game for CBS, the first Jets game by the Eye Network’s A-team since the 24-7 opening-day win at Houston in Rex Ryan’s first game as head coach.
And the referee is Don Carey, who is the head official at his first Jets game.
We’ll update the inactives for both teams right here as soon as we get them, which should be very soon.
Follow today’s game on newyorkjets.com through our CoveritLive in-game chat, moderated by Eric Allen and Kyle Richardson, and through my in-game tweets, which will appear in the chat and on the Jets’ Twitter page http://twitter.com/nyjets. Afterward, as usual, I’ll have our game story live shortly after the end of the game and a writethrough with quotes later this evening, while EA and Kyle will also file postgame locker room stories, which will take you into Bye Week Monday.
Inactives Update, 11:45 a.m.: The Jets inactives include WR Brad Smith, still not ready to return from his quadriceps pull suffered in the first Miami game, and CB Lito Sheppard, also bothered by a quad. Also on the Jets’ IA list: QB Kevin O’Connell, CBs Ahmad Carroll and Marquice Cole, G Matt Slauson and LB Marques Murrell. Erik Ainge is the third QB for the seventh time this season.
Dwight Lowery will again start for Sheppard at RCB.
Miami’s inactives are led by starting ILB Channing Crowder, who didn’t practice all week due to a shoulder injury and was decared out by the Dolphins on Saturday night. Also IA: RB Kory Sheets, tackles Andrew Gardner and Lydon Murtha, DE Lionel Dotson, WR Patrick Turner and LB Quentin Moses.
Reggie Torbor gets the start for Crowder and rookie WR Brian Hartline will get the starting nod over Ted Ginn Jr., who reeled in that 53-yard touchdown pass from Chad Henne on Oct. 12.
Tags: Jim Nantz, Mark Sanchez, Miami Dolphins, Phil Simms, Rex Ryan, Winston Hill
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