Predicting the outcome

The Dolphins finally got in the win column last week against St. Louis, but if they're going to salvage something out of this 2004 season they need to string a few victories together — and that means beating the Jets at Giants Stadium on Monday night. Can that be done? Here's how we think the game will unfold.

It's very obvious that if the Dolphins play against the Jets the way they did against the Rams, they have a very good chance. But that may have been as good as it's going to get for the Dolphins.

They played by far their best game of the season and will be hard-pressed to duplicate that effort.

But the truth is they don't have to. The Jets did win the earlier meeting, but the Dolphins were in the game the whole way and only lost because they played so poorly on offense.

The Jets, meanwhile, did very little against the Dolphins defense that day but capitalized on Dolphins mistakes.

The Dolphins defense has been very good all season, so there's no reason to think the Jets will move the ball at will on Monday night.

The Dolphins do need to do a little better job on Curtis Martin this time around, and we have the feeling they will.

But by the same token, Chad Pennington figures to have a little more success than he did in September.

Overall, the Jets should be in the same ballpark on the scoreboard against the Dolphins, meaning in the 17-24 range.

The key is the Dolphins have some success on offense.

Unfortunately for Dolphins fans, we just don't see it.

First and foremost, the Dolphins had no answer for John Abraham in the first meeting and we see him having another big day.

Second, Jay Fiedler has had his share of problems with the Jets through the years and we see another tough outing for him.

But most importantly, we have a hard time seeing the Dolphins play-calling being as wide open as it was against the Rams. And we're not talking strictly about gadget plays. We're talking about a general aggressive philosophy.

And the truth is that's just not Dave Wannstedt's style. He much prefers playing it close to the vest and winning with defense.

Sorry, but the Dolphins of this year aren't good enough to do that.

Look for Sammy Morris to have some problems in the running game and for some of the same mistakes to come back and haunt the Dolphins.

The defense will keep it close, but we see another disappointing result for the Dolphins.

The call: Jets 20, Dolphins 13.

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