THE CRYSTAL BALL

The Dolphins will try to change their luck against the New York Giants Sunday afternoon at the Meadowlands, but it certainly won't be easy. We offer our assessment of how we think things will go.

The Dolphins and Giants both are coming off bye weeks, which renders any advantage the Dolphins might have had in that department mute.

Like Miami, the Giants come in with a 2-1 record. And like the Dolphins before the Buffalo game, the Giants enter with some big question marks surrounding a defense that was supposed to be very good.

The Giants are ranked 32nd in total defense and passing defense this season, a figure that is shocking considering New York's history.

Exploiting that defense will be needed for the Dolphins because the New York offense is as balanced and explosive as any in the league.

The Dolphins certainly figure to give Ricky Williams the ball quite often again, and it's quite possible he will get the 28 carries he needs to set a new NFL record for a three-game stretch.

In the passing game, this might be the game the Dolphins need Jay Fiedler to have a big day.

We would look for Randy McMichael to have his number called early and often in this one.

On the flip side, covering Jeremy Shockey figures to be the Dolphins' biggest problem.

History tells us the Dolphins are in trouble here because they've lost their last three against the Giants, never scoring more than 14 points in the process.

Despite the fact both defenses have underachieves early in the season, we don't expect a high-scoring game.

A Dolphins win would be huge in establishing the Dolphins as a major force, but we see it working out the other day.

It should be close, but we'll give the Giants the edge with the home field. The call: Giants 23, Dolphins 20.


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