Some might think New York Jets cornerback Darrelle Revis might still be feeling the effects of a concussion when he says that Sunday's divisional road game in Miami versus the Dolphins on Sunday is a must win. But you know what? He is right.
Though in a 16-game season, every game can technically be considered a must win, the game Sunday at Sun Life Stadium has extra importance to the Jets because of a number of factors.
At 1-1 and tied for the division lead with the New England Patriots and Buffalo Bills, the Jets have a chance to improve their AFC East record to 2-0 in a game that on paper is no contest. A loss to Miami would put the Jets at 1-2 with home games the next two weeks versus the San Francisco 49ers and Houston Texans, arguably the two best teams in football.
Being beaten by the Dolphins heading into a game with the Niners would get the media and fans into a tizzy, creating more of the circus-like atmosphere Ryan seems to dismiss, but can you imagine if the Jets head into Week 6 at 1-4, which is possible if Gang Green does not take care of business on Sunday?
On paper, the Dolphins look like a perfect matchup for Ryan's defense. Dolphins rookie quarterback Ryan Tannehill should have everything but the kitchen sink thrown at him and the Jets should be able to force a couple of turnovers and provide Mark Sanchez and the Jets offense with some good field position. The returning Revis should make it even harder on the Dolphins receiving corps, a "Who's On First" group that lacks big play capability. Tannehill should spend the majority of the game on the ground or handing the ball to Reggie Bush, who is the Dolphins' only threat.
Offensively, the Phins have been solid against the run this season and abysmal versus the pass, but that is not the way the Jets should attack them on Sunday. Sanchez struggled mightily last week in Pittsburgh, but establishing the run with Shonn Greene early and setting up the play action will give him a better chance to exploit the Dolphins secondary.
And lastly, maybe it is finally the week where the Jets unveil Tim Tebow and the full wildcat package, in the city where offensive coordinator Tony Sparano made it famous. Tebow, returning to his home state in front of a crowd that will most likely see a tens of thousands dressed in green, could use his legs to soften the defense, allowing Sanchez more opportunities in the passing game.
No matter what the offensive strategy ends up being on Sunday, no matter what types of blitzes and formations Ryan's defense sends the Dolphins way, one thing is for sure.
It is a must win.