#258 Miami Dolphinsvs.#257 Pittsburgh Steelers
Written by Chuck D
When and Where: Sunday, Oct. 16, Hard Rock Stadium, Miami, Fla. 1:00pm EDT (CBS)
Spread: Pittsburgh -7.5; Total: 47.5
The Pittsburgh Steelers look to continue their winning ways when they head to South Florida to take on the Miami Dolphins. The Steelers beat the Jets on Sunday to move to 4-1 on the season while the Dolphins lost 30-17 to the Titans in Miami to drop to 1-4. The Steelers sit alone at the top of the AFC North, while the ‘Fins are tied with the Jets in the cellar of the AFC East. All-time Pittsburgh leads the series 13-12, but the two squads have not played since 2013, when Miami won 34-28 at Heinz Field.
The lone blemish on Pittsburgh’s record to this point was their 34-3 blowout loss at the hands of cross-state rival, Philadelphia. Other than that they have not only been winning, but winning impressively. Besides their eight-point win over the Bengals, they have beat the Redskins by 22, the Chiefs by 29, and most recently, the Jets by 18. Now they head to Miami to play a Dolphins offense that has looked absolutely awful during the 2016 campaign. The squad lost defensive end Cameron Heyward in the victory. The first-round pick from 2011 had played in 85 straight contests, starting 49 of them, which is fifth among DE’s. That streak will be in jeopardy Sunday in Miami. Darius Heyward-Bey is also questionable while still nursing a shoulder injury he suffered against Kansas City.
Against the Jets, Ben Roethlisberger threw for 380 yards on 34 of 47 passing. Big Ben also found the end zone four times. In the last two games he has thrown for nine scores and no interceptions while piling up 74 points and 869 yards of offense. Le’Veon Bell (pictured) continues to get back into his rhythm since returning to the team. The halfback had 66 yards on 20 carries against New York.
A bad season seems to be getting worse in Miami. Their lone win on the season continues to be an overtime victory at home over the hapless Browns. Against the Titans they played without seven starters, including two on the offensive line. It showed as they were nearly doubled up in the yardage department by Tennessee, 398-200. The Titans had come into the contest as the lowest scoring team in the NFL at 15.5 points per game, but the Fins let them nearly double that, scoring 30.
Quarterback Ryan Tannehill continues to struggle this season. On Sunday he completed just 12-of-18 passes for 191 yards and two interceptions. The home crowd booed the Texas A&M alum and chanted the name of backup Matt Moore. Dolphins head coach Adam Gase gave the QB his vote of confident after the game, staying “You can ask me that 100 times, but Ryan’s going to be our quarterback the rest of the season.” The running game did not look much better with Jay Ajayi leading the way with 42 yards on 13 carries with a score.
The Dolphins are banged up and the Steelers are rolling. That is pretty much all you need to know. The home crowd might propel Miami into making this a competitive game for a half or so, but with the way Pittsburgh is playing, you have to make them the play here, even when giving up a touchdown-plus.
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Chuck Dowling is a 30-something University of Florida J-School alum that lives in his mother’s basement. Just kidding... there are no basements in Florida (the ground is too moist). He has been in the “biz” for his entire adult life and specializes in NCAA football and basketball, as well as soccer, boxing, and MMA. When not writing, Chuck moonlights as a high school athletics radio and internet-television broadcaster.