Miami Dolphins vs. Pittsburgh Steelers: Who Has the Advantage?
Dolphins vs. Steelers: Who Has the Advantage?
This Week 14 matchup between the Miami Dolphins and the Pittsburgh Steelers is a meeting that can have a big impact on how the AFC playoff picture will turn out. Both the Dolphins (6-6) and the Steelers (5-7) are two of several teams fighting for that final wild card spot in the AFC. Currently, Miami is right behind the Baltimore Ravens, who have the final spot for now with a 6-6 record while Pittsburgh is playing catchup to both teams.
Aside from the playoff ramifications, another thing that will bring much attention to this game is the return of wide receiver Mike Wallace to the Steel City. Wallace left Pittsburgh this past offseason to play in Miami for money the Steelers weren’t willing to shell out. So far, it looks like Pittsburgh made the right decision in letting Wallace go and putting their faith in wide receiver Antonio Brown.
Comparing the two receivers, Brown is by far having a better season than Wallace. Brown is currently second in the NFL in receptions with 85 and has already surpassed the 1,000 mark in receiving. Although Wallace is having a solid season, he’s miles away from Brown’s production for the year.
Overall, this contest looks to be a close one. Both teams’ rankings on offense and defense match up pretty well against each other for the most part which lets us know that this game could go either way. In order to see who has the advantage, however, let’s take a more detailed look at this game.
Clyde A. Speller is an NFL writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @ClydeASpeller, or add him to your network on Google+.
Steelers' Pass Offense vs. Dolphins' Pass Defense
The Dolphins are tied for fifth in the league in sacks with 37, but in the last three games the Steelers have only surrendered one sack. Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger has put up huge numbers in the last four games, including 10 touchdowns to only one interception. Three of those games were against pass defenses that were in the top half of the NFL.
Steelers' Run Offense vs. Dolphins' Run Defense
After suffering a concussion last week, Steelers rookie running back Le’Veon Bell is listed as probable for this week’s game. Bell could get his first career 100-yard rushing game against Miami’s 25th ranked run defense in frigid conditions.
Dolphins' Pass Offense vs. Steelers' Pass Defense
Even with the struggles of cornerback Ike Taylor, the Steelers still have managed to have a pass defense that’s ranked 11th in the NFL. Wallace might get lucky with a long ball with the way Taylor has been playing, but overall, the Dolphins’ 26th ranked pass offense shouldn’t get much against Pittsburgh’s defense.
Dolphins' Run Offense vs. Steelers' Run Defense
Pittsburgh’s run defense isn’t what it was in the past, but it has made a significant improvement from earlier this season. They’ve kept opposing running backs under 100 yards the past four games and should do the same against Miami’s 25th ranked run offense.
Neither teams’ return game has been that great. Pittsburgh did struggle last week in covering returns on kickoffs (even with Mike Tomlin’s help) but should fix that problem this week. Dolphins kicker Caleb Sturgis has missed eight field goals on the season while Steelers kicker Shaun Suisham has been virtually automatic.
Even with last week’s sideline blunder and disappointing loss, Tomlin still has his team pointed in the right direction. With the urgency of needing this win combined with home-field advantage, Tomlin and the rest of Pittsburgh’s coaching staff should have the Steelers well prepared.
Having a warm-weather team enter a game that’s predicted to have 30-degree weather and snow on top of having home-field advantage works in favor for the Steelers. What helps even more is having a hot quarterback under center, a rookie running back who’s improving week after week, and a defense that’s found ways to get pressure on the quarterback.
Prediction: Steelers: 27, Dolphins 13