The Jets seek to do something Sunday they haven’t done since their head coach Rex Ryan was hired in 2009 -- sweep the Dolphins during the course of a season.
In fact, the Jets are 3-4 against the Dolphins under Ryan, including just one win in three home games. There’s no rhyme or reason for why the Jets seem to struggle against Miami. Making matters worse, the Dolphins haven’t made the playoffs since Ryan came to New York and including this year’s 3-3 start to the season, they’re a lowly 23-31 since 2009.
“[A sweep] would give us quite an accomplishment. We’re going to get the very best Miami has. They’re going to be well rested coming off the bye. They’ve won two games in a row. They have to be feeling good about themselves without question,” Ryan said. “In fact this last game was anybody’s game. We were fortunate enough to win that game. This is a going to be a big game without question.”
The Jets are arguably the biggest opponent the Dolphins face all year, although the same can’t be said here in New York. In the land of the Jets, last week’s opponent in New England is clearly their biggest rival. But to the Dolphins, there is no one they’d rather beat than the Jets.
“That is the big rivalry down there. That’s like the Patriots are to us right now. It’s just big,” safety Yeremiah Bell told Metro. Bell spent his previous eight years in the league in Miami before signing with New York this spring. “They want to beat the Jets. I think it’s because there [are] so many people from this area who live down there now. You see it at the games, a lot of Jets green there and a lot of Jets fans everywhere. So you know you want to beat the Jets.”
Bell said no one told him about the rivalry between the Dolphins and the Jets, it’s just something he learned when he joined the organization.
It is a point that fullback Lex Hilliard backs up. Now the Jets’ starting fullback, Hilliard was drafted by the Dolphins in 2008 and played there through last year. He said the rivalry is so deep it impacted his grooming rituals.
“My barber down there was a Jets fan and used to tell me that he wasn’t sure he wanted to cut my hair during Jets week,” Hilliard said. “I don’t think he was joking either.”
So what did Hilliard do?
“I told him I wasn’t sure I wanted him to either,” Hilliard said with a laugh, rubbing the top of his head.
Follow Jets beat writer Kristian Dyer on Twitter @KristianRDyer.