EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — For all the back and forth between the Jets and the Dolphins, all the talk of "karma," and various translations of "hot sauce," the fact remains the Dolphins can do America a favor right now.
They can shut up Rex Ryan for the rest of the year.
You know the storylines of Dolphins vs. Jets by now the way you know the storylines of Romney vs. Obama. You know they've competed to see who's relevant in recent years and who's remodeled the better roster.
You also know the Jets coach's strategy, from his opening salvo at Dolphins running back Reggie Bush again last week, is to turn New York's attention from a dismal loss to the next game in the Meadowlands.
You can say that's smart coaching, if you're the type who thinks this kind of stuff means anything. The truth is Ryan has been writing headlines with his mouth for four years with the Jets.
He's always loud. He's often funny. He's also 3-4 right now and on the verge of being run out of this season. And if he's run out of this season in October he also is on edge of being run out of New York for good.
So much of Ryan's four years with the Jets have been spent trying to make his team play as well as he makes it sound. It worked for a while as he went to two AFC title games. All he's won since are a lot of news cycles.
Ryan's comments that Bush needs to apologize goes back to September when he said the Jets better bring "hot sauce" in hitting Bush. After the game, Bush said it was "karma'' that Jets cornerback Darrell Revis was hurt.
A lot of people joined Ryan in the chorus last week, from Antonio Cromartie, LaRon Landry and even reserve Aaron Maybin in New York to Dolphins center Mike Pouncey.
The only bit of wisdom came from the guy who's new and loud only with his actions. Joe Philbin knows what kind of a player he wants, as he said in the middle of the spitballs.
"All this other stuff isn't related to the game at one o'clock,'' he said. "So I certainly reminded [the Dolphins players] of that. If [coaches] have to give these bold proclamations that say don't do this — again I don't like coaching in the don't, don't, don't, don't.
"If you have to do that then you've got the wrong guys. It's not going to work."
Sundays are what's relevant. And Sunday is the time to make the statement on the field that the Jets keep making off it.
The Jets' game plan will be the one every team has used against the Dolphins, including themselves in their overtime win at Sun Life Stadium: Walk up a safety to add a defender and stop Bush from running. Make rookie quarterback Ryan Tannehill throw. Even more than Tannehill, make this thin and questionable Dolphins receiving corps beat you down the field.
Of course, what's interesting here is the Dolphins will do the same in some form to the Jets. They'll make Mark Sanchez beat them. They'll make a depleted Jets receiving corps win the day.
So it comes to the quarterbacks Sunday. Or maybe it still comes back to those running the ball, still comes to Bush.
"I ain't going to say what I really want to say about Reggie Bush,'' the Jets' Cromartie said. He added: "Just watch the way [Bush] runs on Sunday. I'm not going to over-talk it or make it a story."
It's already over-talked, already the story inside the neglected story of whether the Jets survive after Sunday. The Dolphins, at 3-3, can lose and not be crushed. But if the Jets fall to 3-5? That's a season-changer. That might just shut up Rex for good.
Rex shouldn't worry too hard about the Dolphins. He better worry about the Jets. They're the ones who really need to put up or shut up Sunday.