This week's Monday Night Football matchup is between two teams who have made being inconsistent a consistent theme this season. Even with a loss last week, the New York Giants are still in the hunt for a postseason run thanks to a subpar NFC East division, but they need a win over the Miami Dolphins to get there. The Dolphins might be coming off a win over the Ravens, but it wasn't a very pretty win and could have easily ended with a different outcome.
The Giants stayed in the game through four quarters, taking the Jets to overtime, and settled for the team's third straight loss. Division leadership is low on the totem poll of concerns, with much larger issues coming to a head -- like questions surrounding head coach Tom Coughlin's future with the team.
Leading by 10 heading into the fourth quarter in Week 13, the Giants' defense allowed the Jets to fight their way back into the game and eventually get the win. Blame has been pointed at Coughlin for making the decision to go for it on fourth down over taking the shot at a field goal. The head coach had faith in his players, even though they failed to covert. Still, with high-profile talent like Eli Manning and Odell Beckham Jr., there's confusion on what the Giants' offense is doing right now.
The Dolphins are hoping that wearing throwback jerseys to celebrate the team's 50th anniversary season will help them come away with a win. This is the first time the team has worn a "throwback" uniform at home, having only once worn white throwbacks in 2003 against the Cowboys on Thanksgiving Day.
Just two weeks ago, Dolphins' quarterback Ryan Tannehill was second in the league in production with 33 passes for 351 yards and two touchdowns. In Week 13, he only recorded 86 passing yards, including only 5 yards for wideout Jarvis Landry, who had a career-high game just one week prior. Landry wasn't quiet about his frustrations either, creating a little drama on the sideline during the game.
The team's young players were able to see the field a bit more against the Ravens and while the present might be bleak, the future is at least bright. Miami has 31 players at or under the age of 25 on the roster and some of the success they had against Baltimore was in large part to those players.
The Miami defense was able to limit the Ravens and keep the Dolphins in the game; they could do the same against the Giants, but will need to rely on the offense to find the end zone for the win.
The Giants have won the last four of five meetings with the Dolphins, and lead the overall series 5-2. The last time these two teams met in Florida was in 1996 when the Giants won 17-7. Quarterback Dave Brown threw for 169 yards and a touchdown in the outing.
To say the Giants have a hard time finishing games this season would be a pretty big understatement. If each of this season's games ended 75 seconds earlier, the team would be 9-3 instead of 5-7. The last time Eli Manning faced the Dolphins, back in 2011, he threw for 349 yards and two touchdowns, but he had receiver Victor Cruz downfield to account for nearly a third of those yards.
Last week, Miami quarterback Ryan Tannehill went 9-for-19 passing and just 86 yards and made more than a few questionable decisions in the pocket. The offensive line was able to give him some more time in the pocket and only allowed one sack on the day -- a dramatic improvement from earlier this season. With the way Tannehill played against the Ravens, the Dolphins will rely more of their run game, which has finally gotten some attention lately.
Running back Lamar Miller was second in the league last week in rushing with 113 yards. That was Miller's second 113-yard game this season -- his first was followed by a 175-yard performance. In addition to Miller's 680 yards on the ground this season, he's also recorded 346 receiving yards with a total of seven combined touchdowns.
Who to Watch
Wideout Odell Beckham Jr. has continued to succeed for the Giants, coming in second for receiving yards in Week 13 with 149 and a touchdown. With 1,154 receiving yards this season -- fourth among receivers -- and 10 touchdowns, his success is vital to the Giants offense maintaining momentum. He's made it clear "losing sucks," and will be doing all he can to ensure a win over Miami to get his team back on track.
For Miami, Lamar Miller showed that with an increase in touches, he can add to the offense's production. Under offensive coordinator Bill Lazor, the run game was obsolete and ineffective, but since Lazor was let go, the Dolphins emphasized their commitment to the run last week with positive results. Miller showed he can bear the load, and will be a big contributor through the remainder of the season.
How to Watch
When: 8:30 p.m. ET
Where: Sun Life Stadium, Miami
Announcers: Mike Tirico, Jon Gruden, Lisa Salters
The Giants and Dolphins are even favorites and the over/under is 46.5, according to OddsShark.com.
The experts at CBS Sports are hedging their bets on Eli Manning and the Giants walking away with the win, with only two choosing the Dolphins. It's the same story at ESPN, where the margin is 9-4 in favor of the Giants. Here at SB Nation, our experts are evenly split between Miami and New York in Week 14.
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