THE CRYSTAL BALL

The Dolphins have had their problems at Pro Player Stadium this season and they will try to get things back on the right track against the Colts on Sunday afternoon. But it won't be easy against a Colts team that looks like a legitimate contender for the Super Bowl. Here's how we think the game will unfold.

This is a huge game for the Dolphins for several years, one of which is the quarterback position.

Everyone agreed Brian Griese was very impressive against the Chargers on Monday night, but it also must be pointed out that San Diego is a struggling, rebuilding team.

This will provide a much better gauge of where Griese is, and another strong performance could cement his hold on the starting quarterback job.

More importantly, the Dolphins will get another indication of where they stand in the AFC battle.

The Chiefs clearly look like the best team in the conference right now, but after that you have the Colts, Titans and Patriots all in the mix, and the Dolphins certainly belong there — if their offense can get in gear.

It hasn't been there so far this season, and maybe Griese's presence in the lineup can make the difference.

We see him getting the job done against the Colts, enough to get the Dolphins a victory.

It certainly would help if Ricky Williams could get a big day going on the ground, and it's certainly doable against a Colts defense that has been soft against the run.

But you just know that Indy, just like everybody else, will do everything it can to make sure that Williams isn't the one who beats them.

That's where Griese will have to step up.

On the other side of the ball, Edgerrin James is expected back in the lineup after missing a couple of games with a back injury. But the way the Dolphins have played run defense, it won't matter.

Actually, the Dolphins have been playing great defense all around for over a month, and we don't see any reason for that to game.

The Dolphins won't shut out the Colts because Peyton Manning and Marvin Harrison are simply too good, but they should be able to control them fairly effectively.

Don't be surprised if it turns into a game similar to last year's matchup at the RCA Dome, when the Dolphins built a big halftime lead and then held on for a 21-13 victory.

The dirt infield is gone at Pro Player Stadium, which is good news if the game comes down to a field goal, but we think the Dolphins won't need late heroics from Olindo Mare.

The call: Dolphins 23, Colts 16.


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