READY FOR THE JETS

It's that time again. Time for the Dolphins to face their biggest rivals and see if they can finally find a way to beat the New York Jets.<P>The Dolphins have lost six in a row against the Jets, but none of the loss was as painful as the one they suffered in their last visit to Giants Stadium.

It probably was the game of the year in the NFL, but it was a game would just as soon forget. Everyone knows by now how the Dolphins blew a 30-7 fourth-quarter lead, took another 37-30 lead, only to watch the Jets tie it again to send into overtime, where Marcus Coleman's second interception of Jay Fiedler in the extra session set up the game-winning field goal.

Coach Dave Wannstedt won't need to do anything to motivate his players this week. Getting some revenge against the Jets is motivation enough.

What follows is a quick look at Sunday's game against the New York Jets

WHO: Miami Dolphins (3-1) vs. New York Jets (2-2)

WHERE: Giants Stadium; East Rutherford, N.J.

KICKOFF TIME: 4:15 p.m. ET

TELEVISION: CBS (Bryant Gumbel, play-by-play; Phil Simms, color; Armen Keteyian, sidelines)

LINE: Miami by 3

COACHES: New York Jets, Herman Edwards (1st year); Miami, Dave Wannstedt (2nd year in Miami, 8th year in NFL)

SERIES RECORD: The series is tied 35-35-1 (Miami won the only playoff meeting)

LAST MEETING: 2000 at Miami; Jets 20, Dolphins 3

INJURIES: Dolphins — T Todd Wade (knee) is out; S Trent Gamble (shoulder) is doubtful; DT Jermaine Haley (back), FB Rob Konrad (ankle) are questionable; G Mark Dixon (back), TE Hunter Goodwin (knee), DT Ernest Grant (ankle), LB Derrick Rodgers (shoulder) are probable.

Jets — WR/KR Santana Moss (knee) is out; WR/KR Laveranues Coles (knee), SS Nick Ferguson (foot), RB/KR Chad Morton (ankle) are questionable.

THREE MATCHUPS TO WATCH:

Dolphins secondary vs. Jets wide receiver Wayne Chrebet: Chrebet has hurt the Dolphins over the past few years with crossing patterns, and that was part of the reason Miami spent its first-round pick on cornerback Jamar Fletcher. He is one guy the Dolphins have to watch in the passing game.

Dolphins quarterback Jay Fiedler vs. Jets cornerback Marcus Coleman: The offense keyed the Jets' amazing comeback at Giants Stadium last year, but it was Coleman who set up the game-winning field goal with his third interception of the game. Fiedler won't hesitate to throw in his direction, but he needs to be more careful.

The Dolphins special teams vs. Jets special teams coach Mike Westhoff: Westhoff's special teams units have gotten off to a mediocre start in New York, but the longtime Dolphins assistant might have some tricks up his sleeve for this game.

WHEN THE DOLPHINS HAVE THE BALL: The Dolphins are coming off their best rushing performance of the season, which bodes well against a Jets defense that couldn't stop either the Colts or 49ers ground games. The Jets defensive line suffered a big blow in the summer when nose tackle Jason Ferguson was lost with a shoulder injury, and his departure has left a gaping hole in the middle of the New York defensive line. So it figures that the Dolphins are going to be giving the Jets a heavy dose of Lamar Smith on Sunday. Even if the Jets find a way to stop the Dolphins running game, Jay Fiedler proved in the 40-37 loss last year he could beat New York with his passing. But he has to be more aware of Coleman, who wound up with three picks that night. And the Dolphins also need to pass-protect against a solid group of pass rushers that includes defensive end John Abraham and linebacker Mo Lewis. But the key here is Lamar Smith running the ball.

WHEN THE JETS HAVE THE BALL: The new Jets coaching staff installed the West Coast offense this season, but they forget one important detail. It takes great receivers to make it work — and the Jets clearly don't have great receivers. Wayne Chrebet has burned the Dolphins many times in the past, but he's only major threat New York at the position. The Jets were counting heavily on University of Miami rookie Santana Moss, but he's been on the shelf all season with a knee injury and isn't expected back for at least another month. The Jets do have a top-notch in running back Curtis Martin, but the Dolphins traditionally have done a good job against him. Crossing patterns are what really hurt the Dolphins in last year's Monday night game, so you can assume they will devise a plan to counter that attack. Besides, the Dolphins have upgraded their cornerback depth since last year with the additions of free agent Terry Cousin and rookie Jamar Fletcher. Getting pressure on Vinny Testaverde would help. He is the only NFL quarterback not to throw an interception this season, but he has prone to put it up for grabs throughout his career.

BOTTOM LINE:

The Dolphins clearly look like the better team this season, and they could make a major statement by clearing this hurdle. And, make no mistake, beating the Jets has become a clear hurdle. Somehow, you almost get the feeling New York will come up with something new to derail the Dolphins. Maybe this is the game when the jinx finally ends. And could there be a better to end into the bye week than with a victory over the Jets.


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