THE CRYSTAL BALL

If the Dolphins hope to be a factor in the playoffs — or just make the playoffs, period — they better find a way to get things turned around quickly. Can it happen Sunday against the Baltimore Ravens? Here's how we think the game will unfold.

It's very simplistic to suggest that whoever wins the turnover battle will win the game, but that's the way it has been for the Dolphins.

They simply are not good enough on offense, especially now, to have to overcome turnovers, which was painfully evident the last few weeks.

The Dolphins are 5-0 this season when they win the turnover battle; 0-4 when they lost it.

Need more evidence? The Dolphins have won their last 18 games when they've won the turnover battle.

Don't think the Ravens aren't aware of those facts. It's pretty clear right now that playing conservatively on offense and waiting for the Dolphins to self-destruct is the way to go.

Well, maybe this is the week the Dolphins don't kill themselves.

Even though he was erratic against the Jets, Ray Lucas didn't throw an interception in that game.

The two giveaways instead were a couple of fumbles, giving the Dolphins six lost fumbles in the last three games. That's absolutely ridiculous.

And we think it finally stops this week.

The Dolphins aren't going to blow out the Ravens, don't get us wrong. Again, they're not good enough right now — without Jay Fiedler and without Cris Carter — to score a lot of points, but they will take better care of the ball this week.

And we expect that this is the week the defense finally creates some turnovers, after getting only one in the last three games.

The Dolphins have been very good against the run all season, so there's no reason to think Jamal Lewis will put up big numbers.

That will put the pressure on quarterback Jeff Blake, who has been known throughout his career to throw interceptions.

Say a pick each for Sam Madison and Patrick Surtain, and maybe a fumble created by a Jason Taylor sack.

Those turnovers lead to just enough points to make the difference in a low-scoring game.

We warn you, it won't be pretty until Fiedler comes back, but at this point any win will be welcome.

The call: Dolphins 16, Ravens 13.


Dolphins Report Top Stories