It’s time to reveal my prediction for Sunday’s game between the Miami Dolphins and Pittsburgh Steelers. I’ve included picks from experts in the media as well, and I encourage each reader to post their prediction for the game in the comments section.
USA Today: 5-of-7 picked Steelers
ESPN: 12-of-13 picked Steelers
CBS Sports: 6-of-8 picked Steelers
Fox Sports: 4-of-4 picked Steelers
The Dolphins are 6-6 through 12 games in 2013. Included in that .500 mark has been a three-game winning streak, a four-game losing streak, and alternating wins and losses over the last five weeks. No wonder the Dolphins are an overwhelming underdog on the road in Pittsburgh; they just might be the most inconsistent team in the entire NFL.
There is no way to predict which Miami team shows up on Sunday afternoon or how the weather, which is projected to feature freezing temperatures and snow, will affect the play of a squad that calls beautiful South Florida home. But just looking at the matchup on paper, it’s hard not to like the Dolphins’ chances.
With Ben Roethlisberger under center the Steelers are a capable team, but they don’t excel in the areas Miami struggles with. Mike Tomlin‘s club doesn’t run the ball, stop the run or rush the passer particularly well, and those are all ways to beat the Dolphins, who have difficulty stopping the run, running on stout front sevens and protecting quarterback Ryan Tannehill. Throw in Pittsburgh likely being without two starters on an already banged up offensive line, and the Dolphins are certainly qualified to pull of an upset at Heinz Field.
I see the Dolphins’ defensive line dominating in the trenches and bending but not breaking in the secondary. I see Lamar Miller and the running game continuing to aid Tannehill with balance offensively and the second-year passer making just enough throws to beat the Steelers by a touchdown. It should be an entertaining game with the outcome possibly in doubt until the clock hits zeroes. But at the end of the day, the Dolphins improve to 7-6 and remain a favorite to claim the AFC‘s second wild-card spot.
THE PICK: Miami 24, Pittsburgh 17
Cody Strahm is a Miami Dolphins contributor for Rant Sports. Follow him on Twitter @CodyJStrahm.