A BIG DIVISION GAME

It's too early in the season to call any game a "must-win" game, but Sunday night's visit to Giants Stadium comes pretty close as far as the Dolphins are concerned.

The Dolphins come into the game having lost two in a row after committing 10 turnovers against Buffalo and Green Bay, and they have seen their lead in the AFC East cut to a half-game.

A victory over the New York Jets on Sunday would all but eliminate the Jets, a team that's been a thorn in the Dolphins' side for the last few years.

It's a good omen for the Dolphins that there has been a sweep in the series each of the last six years.

"Guys know what a big game this is," said Coach Dave Wannstedt. "We are in first place at the halfway point. We have to win Sunday night to keep it that way. That's the bottom line. Nothing else that is said or written really means anything."

What follows is a glance at the Dolphins-Jets matchup.

WHO: Miami Dolphins (5-3) vs. New York Jets (3-5)

WHEN: Sunday, 8:30 p.m. ET

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

TV: ESPN (Mike Patrick, play-by-play; Joe Theismann, analysis; Paul Maguire, color; Suzy Kolber, sidelines)

LINE: Jets by 3

NFL RANKINGS: Dolphins 15th in NFL in total offense, 7th in rushing offense, 21st in passing offense, tied for 12th in total defense, 7th in rushing defense, 21st in passing defense

Jets 23rd in NFL in total offense, 27th in rushing offense, 16th in passing offense, 31st in total defense, 31st in rushing defense, tied for 23rd in passing defense

COACHES: Dolphins, Dave Wannstedt (3rd year with team); Jets, Herman Edwards (2nd year)

SERIES RECORD: New York leads 37-36-1 (Miami leads 1-0 in playoffs)

LAST FIVE MEETINGS: 2002 at Miami, Dolphins 30, Jets 3

2001 at Miami, Jets 24, Dolphins 0

2000 at New York, Jets 21, Dolphins 17

2000 at Miami, Jets 20, Dolphins 3

2000 at New York, Jets 40, Dolphins 37 (OT)

INJURIES: Dolphins — QB Jay Fiedler (thumb) is out; T Mark Dixon (ankle) and QB Ray Lucas (shoulder) are questionable; RB Robert Edwards (knee), S Trent Gamble (groin), WR James McKnight (oblique) and TE Randy McMichael (finger) are probable.

Jets — LB Khary Campbell (foot) is questionable.


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