THE CRYSTAL BALL

The Dolphins are in for another long week of second-guessing and questioning if they can't beat the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday. On the other hand, they can quiet everyone and get themselves back in the thick of things with a victory. Here's our take on how things will unfold in the game.

One would think immediately upon looking at both teams that this has the makings of a very, very, very low-scoring game.

Really, this might a game where 10 points will be enough.

The Dolphins' problems on offense have been well documented and things really don't figure to get much better against a Ravens defense that is among the best in the NFL.

If Ricky Williams can get anything on the ground against a leaky Colts run defense, can we really expect him to do much against Ray Lewis and Co.

It really doesn't look good. Nor you can really expect Brian Griese to light up the Baltimore secondary, which has helped the team rank fourth in the league in pass defense.

Maybe this is the game when the Dolphins finally get a long kickoff or punt return to set up an easy score.

Maybe this is the game when the offensive line, which will have Seth McKinney starting at center, finally puts together a solid game from start to finish.

Hate to say this, but we're thinking no on all counts here.

The good news is that Baltimore really doesn't figure to do a lot of damage, either.

Sure, the Ravens lead the league in rushing behind Jamal Lewis and a huge offensive line, but they will be going against one of the best run defenses in the NFL.

This is a game where Tim Bowens, Larry Chester and Jeff Zgonina are really going to earn their money.

Anthony Wright is starting at quarterback for the Ravens, and anybody who watched him play for Dallas two seasons ago when he last started a game knows he's not much of a passing threat.

But here's where we're concerned, from a Dolphins standpoint.

Zach Thomas is a very important part of the Dolphins run defense and we won't know until Sunday morning whether he'll be able to play.

And even if he is, you know he's not going to be 100 percent. So that, if nothing else, is what is making us think it could be another disappointing day for the Dolphins.

Rest assured, this game should be close and it might come down to a field goal, which might not be great news this season considering Olindo Mare has struggled a bit.

Either way, we see a close, low-scoring game, but we're thinking Thomas' injury makes the difference.

The call: Ravens 13, Dolphins 10.


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