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Michael Taylor 27th Dec 2008 - 11:45

Pennington pens new history

Quarterback Chad Pennington will make history if his Miami Dolphins manage to beat the New York Jets in one of the two televised evening NFL games.

Pennington, who was axed by the Jets in the off-season, has the chance of leading Miami to an 11-5 record and play-off football which would signal one of the most remarkable season-to-season turnarounds in NFL history.

Last year it was fair to say the Dolphins were awful as they managed just one victory in a 1-15 season, this year, if they beat the Jets they will be just the second team in history to improve their record by ten games.

Pennington was the figurehead of vice president Bill Parcells summer revolution in which no fewer than 45 new players were added to the miserable Dolphins roster.

And Pennington has certainly not let his side down, working with new coach Tony Sparano to create a winning mentality and exciting brand of football, while passing on his valuable knowledge to younger roster members.

The introduction of the wild cat formation made early season news as opponents were powerless to cope with the playbook of Sparano, but nobody really expected the success to continue - everybody was wrong!

The Jets themselves have undergone drastic changes, most notably the signing of Brett Favre, and should be considered extremely unlucky if they fail to make the play-offs.

Only a few weeks ago New York looked like serious Super Bowl XLIII contenders, leading the AFC East with an 8-3 record having battered the previously unbeaten Tennessee Titans, however their form has dipped and now, even a win against the Dolphins might not be enough to make the wild card or automatic play-offs.

The loss of form is no coincidence as Favre has struggled to find his rhythm of late and is maybe showing why he retired in the first place at the end of last season.

The crunch game at Giants Stadium should be one of the highlights of the year with both teams giving everything for the win.

The 5/4 about a Miami win looks particularly tempting given the four game winning streak they are riding and the poor form the Jets are suffering, while 20/29 about the Jets looks short for the fading franchise.

On the total points market, the 10/11 about under 42 points may be the most realistic option with Favre below-par and the temperature even colder. The aging quarterbacks may struggle to get going in the freezing temperatures and it could be the running game that becomes most important.

One thing we can be sure of is that, if Pennington plays like he has done all year, the Jets should be expecting some real fireworks.

Miami Dolphins @ New York Jets

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