In the first NFL regular-season game to be played overseas, the surging New York Giants—featuring a curmudgeonly old coach, a quarterback with a Napoleon complex, and a defense waiting be exposed at any moment—face off against the winless, hopeless Dolphins.
You’re welcome, England.
This game is far from a marquee matchup, but the locale makes it special. As part of the league's campaign to drive foreign traffic to NFL Shop, the Fins and Giants get to play international guinea pigs.
Call it fertility testing for NFL Manifest Destiny.
And sure, it’s not the best football we have to offer—but at least Joey Harrington isn’t involved.
The Giants are one of the hottest teams in the NFL. Their defense, a dog early in the year, has become a force to be reckoned with. Eli Manning has gone from bust to still-not-as-good-as-Peyton-but-he’ll-do.
The formula has worked great for the past five games, and this week should be no different.
The Dolphins aren't expected to put up much of a fight, especially with the season-ending injury to Ronnie Brown (a moment of silence for my Fantasy team, please).
Brown was having a breakout season, an accomplishment made all the more remarkable by the struggles of his teammates. The quarterback play in Miami has been dismal, and the defense has been a joke.
Rumor has it the Fins signed Joey Porter in the offseason, but no one has really seen him yet.
Hopefully, British fans will look to the Giants and not the Dolphins as an example of true American football. Heaven forbid six-year-old London kids start throwing ugly interceptions in their sandlot football games while trying to be like Cleo Lemon.
The NFL’s globalization plan could have worked so much better if the Dolphins weren’t so inept. I’m sure league marketing execs were ecstatic when the schedule came out, with the prospect of a prime pairing between Manning and Trent Green.
Instead they’ll get Lemon throwing screen passes to Jesse Chatman against a marauding Giants pass rush.
Nevertheless, England is getting real football. While chances are pretty good the score will be 28-0 by halftime, there's always the possibility of a close game. And for a real taste of NFL parity, wouldn’t it be ironic if the Dolphins actually won?
I’m pretty sure Cam Cameron is basing his game plan on that premise.
England’s favorite sport, the other football, has yet to take root in America because MLS isn't the best soccer played by the best soccer players. Europeans know what that's like—they dealt with NFL Europe for years.
A thrilling finish on Sunday would be good for world that needs to see football as the great sport it really is. A blowout will be fun for awhile, but nothing beats a close one.
Here’s hoping the Dolphins make it interesting.
Prediction: Giants 35, Dolphins 24
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