THE CRYSTAL BALL

The Dolphins need to play considerably better Sunday night if they hope to get back on the winning track, and that includes everybody from Ray Lucas on down. Can they do it? Here's how we think the game is going to unfold.

Based on the Dolphins' recent history against the Jets, it does not bode well for the Dolphins.

Lucas, quite frankly, hasn't played well since taking over for Jay Fiedler at quarterback and the offensive line hasn't blocked well, either, and there have been turnovers. You combine all those factors, and it's easy to see why the Dolphins have been so dreadful offensively in their last two weeks.

Against the Jets, they face one of the worst defenses in the league and that should make a difference for the Dolphins.

Teams are averaging 5.1 yards per rushing attempt against the Jets, but New York probably will be cheating up on the Dolphins to contain Ricky Williams.

Williams burned the Jets badly when the teams met in July, and it's imperative that he has another big game. The return of Mark Dixon on the offensive line will make a big difference and the feeling is that Williams will have his best game in several weeks.

Lucas executed the game plan well early in the Green Bay game before the Dolphins fell behind because of fumbles and before Lucas was drilled into the ground when Dixon's replacement, Marcus Spriggs, missed a block.

Those things can't happen.

On the flip side, the Jets will look to throw the ball short all night, something that's given the Dolphins problems at times.

The Jets haven't run the ball particularly well this season, and don't figure to do it against the Dolphins.

There is a tremendous sense of urgency for both teams in this game, with the Dolphins needing to stop their slide and the Jets needing a win to stay in playoff contention.

This should be a low-scoring game where the Dolphins and Jets both play close to the vest.

It's going to come down to a field goal, and that's where the Dolphins have their biggest edge, with Olindo Mare over John Hall.

It won't be easy, but it says here the slide ends.

The call: Dolphins 16, Jets 13.


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