Miami Dolphins vs. New York Jets Prediction, Storylines: Can Miami climb back in the playoff race?

What is our prediction for the Miami Dolphins vs. New York Jets in Week 11 as QB Joe Flacco makes his first start for New York in 2021?

The Miami Dolphins (3-7) and New York Jets (2-7) meet Sunday for the 112th time. It seems like 40 of the last 50 or so have been a battle for third place in the AFC East. They’re back in a familiar place in 2021, with both teams wondering what went so wrong in their offseason planning. The Dolphins, winners of two straight, are finally starting to look like the team many expected before the season. But the Jets have little reason for optimism. They’ll play their fourth different quarterback of the year Sunday, Joe Flacco, who returned to New York via trade last month. What is the prediction for this Dolphins-Jets matchup in Week 11?

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Miami Dolphins vs. New York Jets storylines

If you don’t live in South Florida or the New York Metropolitan area, there are only two ways to legally watch this game: Buy the NFL Sunday Ticket or go somewhere that has it. Here’s what the vast majority of America will miss.

Are the Dolphins … kinda good?

Or at least not unspeakably bad? They’ve moved on from the very bottom tier of the NFL Power Rankings with a 12-point shock win over the Baltimore Ravens in Week 10. They’ve now beaten two teams currently in the AFC playoff field (Patriots).

However, they also have three lopsided losses — against the Bills, Colts, and Buccaneers — but have been in every other game. And their next four opponents — Jets, Panthers, Giants, and then Jets again — are a combined 13 games under .500.

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But Miami is still 23rd in ELO and 27th in both point differential (minus-75) and DVOA (Football Outsiders’ efficiency metric). Thus, schedule alone won’t be enough to get them back in the playoff race. FiveThirtyEight gives Miami just a 4% chance of reaching the playoffs, but those odds would nearly double with a win.

Why are the New York Jets starting Joe Flacco?

Robert Saleh’s explanation on Wednesday to start Flacco regarding “experience” doesn’t really add up. Flacco’s most recent experience against the Dolphins was a disaster. Rather, there are two reasons that make some small degree of sense.

The first is that general manager Joe Douglas is worried that he might lose his job if the Dolphins sweep the Jets and pulled rank to get his preferred quarterback on the field.

Then, there’s the possibility that the Jets are concerned that if Mike White goes out and plays great against Miami, it’ll be harder to turn back to Zach Wilson whenever the rookie’s knee is healthy enough to play.

Neither rationale is great, but at least it’s a rationale. Our view is the Jets shouldn’t play anyone over the age of 30 the rest of this lost season. It’s Better to have a complete file on every player than try to win a game that will be the difference between 4-13 and 5-12 (if that).

Can Tua Tagovailoa finish the season (strong)?

Tua Tagovailoa has started just six of the Dolphins’ 10 games this year due to injuries. But the broken finger on his throwing hand is healthy enough for him to go this week. In truth, it was probably good enough to start against the Ravens, as Tagovailoa looked more than competent when he came in off the bench.

Tua is playing for his job these next seven weeks. When he’s been on the field, he’s been okay but not nearly good enough to lock down the starting job in 2022. Tagovailoa is 17th in QBR and 22nd in CPOE+EPA. Put another way: He’s been a Tier 3 quarterback on a team that hoped he’d be a Tier 1. Time’s running short on the Tua experiment.

Dolphins vs. Jets betting line and game prediction

The Dolphins aren’t good, but they’re definitely better than the Jets. The Jets hope Flacco can give them a spark — maybe he can. But we’re going with the fundamentals on this game and lay the 3.5 points.

Dolphins vs. Jets Prediction: Dolphins 21, Jets 13

Adam Beasley is the NFL Director for Pro Football Network. You can read all of Adam’s work here and give him a follow on Twitter @AdamHBeasley.

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