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Giants at Dolphins, Week 14: Will Giants' defense show up against Miami?

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How will the Giants' defense fare against the up and down Miami Dolphins?

Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Giants get to wrap up Week 14 when they travel down to Florida to take on the Miami Dolphins on Monday Night Football. The Giants' defense has played well of late. Despite failing to get stops late in games, they have held opposing offenses to few enough points that the offense should have been expected to win.

The Dolphins enjoyed a brief resurgence under interim head coach Dan Campbell, but they are a young team and their performance has been inconsistent.

Let's take a look at how the Giants' defense and Dolphins' offense match up.

Stats At A Glance

Rushing Yards Passing Yards Total Yards Points
Miami Dolphins Offense 95.5 (23rd) 230.7 (22nd) 326.2 (29th) 20.0 (27th)
New York Giants Defense 108.8 (19th) 314.5 (32nd) 423.2 (31st) 24.7 (22nd)

Defensive Line

The offensive line of the Dolphins has been in flux since the bullying scandal of 2013 essentially blew their line up. Results have been mixed due to injuries, but there are two match-ups to watch.

The first is left tackle Brandon Albert against whoever the Giants choose to line up on that side. Defensive ends Jason Pierre-Paul, Robert Ayers, and Damontre Moore all saw extended action against the Jets and the results were impressive, with Ayers and JPP combining for 18 quarterback pressures.Though JPP did most of his work against the right tackle, his first step was tremendous, consistently being the first player on the field to move after the snap.

The second match-up will be against whoever lines up across from right guard Billy Turner. The second-year player has had an up and down season, but his game against the Baltimore Ravens was particularly rough. That could be a match-up to exploit

Football Outsiders ranks the Dolphins' line 25th overall in pass protection, having given up 34 sacks to date.

They are considerably better run blocking (17th overall), and the defensive line will have to work extra hard to keep the linebackers clean. The Dolphins are ranked second in the league when their offensive linemen are able to get to the second level.

Linebackers

How the Giants' linebackers fare has a lot to do with how Devon Kennard fares this week. Kennard is easily the Giants' best linebacker, and quietly one of the better 4-3 linebackers in the NFL. The defense seems to play faster and more smoothly when he has the sticker on his helmet and is making the defensive calls. Kennard missed last week's game with hamstring and foot injuries.

But on the Miami sideline, there is good news and bad news.

The bad news is that running back Lamar Miller has been a weapon for the Dolphins this year. After starting the season with a phenomenal run defense, the Giants have struggled to contain opposing running backs. Miller is averaging 4.9 yards per carry, while also catching 39 passes on the year  -- for reference, Shane Vereen has caught 42. The Giants absolutely need to take Miller out of the equation as a runner; the Dolphins are undefeated when he gets 20 or more carries.

The good news is that the Miami tight ends haven't been much of a factor this year. Dion Sims is still more of a blocker than a receiving threat, and receiving tight end Jordan Cameron -- not to be confused with defensive end Cameron Jordan -- is struggling to develop a rapport with quarterback Ryan Tannehill.

Secondary

Once again, there is good news and bad news for the Giants' secondary when it comes to covering the Miami receivers.

The bad news, is that while Odell Beckham has been busy rewriting both the Giants' and NFL's record books, Jarvis Landry has become a great receiver in his own right for the Dolphins. While he isn't the same kind of athlete as Beckham is, Landry has the same penchant for highlight-reel catches.

The Dolphins tried to bolster their receiving corps with first-round draft pick DeVante Parker. Parker has flashed the tools to be a dangerous "No. 1" wide receiver, with good speed, a big catch radius, body control, and sticky hands. But he has also been criticized for poor route running. Combined with Tannehill's tendency to stare receivers down, that could result in opportunities for the Giants' defense to create turnovers.

Prince Amukarmara and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie should match up well against the Miami receivers, but they shouldn't be underestimated

Final Thoughts

This is a match-up that should favor the Giants' defense. However, injuries and generally inconsistent play make any match-up a risky proposition.

If the Giants can contain Miller and force Tannehill to carry the team, there should be opportunities for turnovers. And if Spags can get the same kind of speed and aggression out of the defense that he did against the Jets, then the defense might have a good showing.

Maybe.