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Keys to the game: Miami Dolphins at Steelers

This week's game at the Steelers and next week's hosting of the New England Patriots will likely be the last time the Dolphins are underdogs this season. In other words, they should beat the Jets and Bills but the next two games will be the difference between a .500 record or something better.

At least that's what the odds will say.

What do the matchups say?

Consider Sunday's match versus Pittsburgh:

When the Dolphins pass the football: Ryan Tannehill is on something of a roll (predicted by Salguero) with back-to-back 300-yard games. Tannehill must realize this game is an emotional one for receiver Mike Wallace, who played four seasons in Pittsburgh, so he must find his deep threat early in the game in order to establish him and keep him focused. Wallace doesn’t play well when he’s not involved early. The Steelers will likely shadow Wallace with cornerback Ike Taylor, their best coverage man. The Steelers this week have said they will try to take away tight end Charles Clay from the Miami offense and that makes sense because Clay has become a comfortable outlet for Tannehill when he’s pressured. Clay has come up with career best in catches (53) receiving yards (581) and TDs (4). The Steelers have not been able to manufacture a lot of pass pressure this season as Lamar Woodley has been injured much of the season. ADVANTAGE: Dolphins.

When the Dolphins run the football: Last week was a confidence builder for the Dolphins because they ran the ball effectively and often against the New York Jets, who are the NFL’s best run defense statistically. Well, why not dial up the same formula this week against a mediocre (ranked 18th in the NFL) Pittsburgh run defense? Lamar Miller seems comfortable with getting more carries in the absence of Daniel Thomas. And while Marcus Thigpen and Mike Gillislee didn’t exactly impress as change-of-pace backs last week, they also held onto the ball, which is important in wintry climes. Right guard John Jerry’s status came into focus on Friday when he was listed as probable for the game. He will start at right guard. Rookie Sam Brenner will continue to serve as the backup at both left and right guard. ADVANTAGE: Dolphins.

When the Steelers run the football: Le’Veon Bell totaled 136 yards from scrimmage last week against Baltimore (73 rushing, 63 receiving) and the Steelers want to build off that performance by continuing to feed the rookie. The lack of chemistry due to injuries and lineup changes along the offense front has hampered Pittsburgh’s run game this season. Indeed, it’s been a long time since the Steelers were a classic running team. The Dolphins continue to look up at much of the league in the run defense rankings. They’re 25th in the NFL in the category, but they are coming off a solid performance in which the Jets managed only 99 rushing yards. Of course, the Jets averaged 4.5 yards per carry but they had to abandon the run because the Dolphins had such a wide lead. Running the football and stopping the run is not what either of these two teams do best. ADVANTAGE: Even.

When the Steelers pass the football: Ben Roethlisberger is elite. He can carry a team for a period of time and that’s exactly what he did in the month of November when his great play lifted the Steelers to a 3-1 record for the month. Roethlisberger extends plays with his size, scrambling and movement in the pocket and that means defensive backs must hold their coverage longer. When the Steelers throw, Antonio Brown is the deep threat and the team’s best weapon with 85 catches for 1,103 yards. But in the red zone, Roethlisberger looks for tight end Heath Miller and slot receiver Jerricho Cotchery, who has a career-best eight TD receptions this year. The Steelers offensive line is a mess with injuries at tackle, suggesting the Dolphins can get pressure on Roethlisberger. ADVANTAGE: Pittsburgh.

Special teams: One can safely assume Pittsburgh coach Mike Tomlin won’t be on the white part of the sideline this week after being fined $100,000 for being on the field and the white against Baltimore last week. Word of advice to Dolphins returner Marcus Thigpen if Tomlin strays again: Run into him. It would likely lead to the awarding of a touchdown. The Steelers seem slow on their punt and kick coverage teams. ADVANTAGE: Even.

Coaching: Despite his faux pas last week at Baltimore, Tomlin is a quality coach and a proven motivator. His defensive coordinator, Dick LeBeau, is doing good work at hiding the weaknesses in his aging, slow defense. The problem in Pittsburgh is the uncertain chemistry between Roethlisberger and offensive coordinator Todd Haley. The Miami coaching staff got the better of the Jets last week simply by avoiding mistakes such as abandoning the run (Mike Sherman did not) and daring the Jets to do something on offense they cannot do, which is throw the football. So the staff is on something of a streak. Sort of. From a motivational standpoint, however, Tomlin has few equals. ADVANTAGE: Pittsburgh.

Comments

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I like the match up of our defense versus Big Ben. The DL should be able to get pressure with just 4 guys. Injuries have decimated the OL for Pitt and the Phins DL is getting to the QB a lot. I also like the fact our corners have only given up 1..I'll say it again only 1 TD all season to WR's.

I don't believe Tomlin is all that Mando...he has few equals?? It hasn't kept him from underachieving or the team from regressing from their typical playoff bound year. Every year that team has gotten a little worse since Cowher.

Truth you are rigt on,since Cowher retired the Steelers have regressed every year.

PIT 27 - 17 MIA

JMHO

PIT 17 - 27 MIA

Phins by more than a TD again this week.

JMHO

Yes I agree that Tomlin is not all that, as matter fact he is so desperate to help his team he sticks his foot out to trip Jones, No he is a desperate man because the talent is no longer there.Big Ben is there best player if we lose it will because of him, I would blitz him too especially with the banged up line. One question though Armando what happened to the run defense? We use to be stout basically same guys except for Wheeler and Ellerbe

You know in this league in this day I would much rather be stout in the pass vs the run. The #9 ranking vs. the pass is not too bad at all. BUT...what's even more awesome than that is the Defense is ranked #9 in the NFL at points allowed too. That's a pretty good defense no 2 ways about it. They have given up 23 TD's this year...the Seahawks 17 and the 49ers 21. The Phins are also tied for 2nd in the league in INT's. Seems like they keeping good company this year.

21 - 20 Dolphins!

I SAY IT.S TIME FOR A SWEEP! WE CAN DO IT BY BEATING PITTSBURGH TODAY.THAT WILL FIRE OUR GUY,S UP FOR THE PATRIOTS(WHO WE SHOULD OF BEAT LAST TIME0
THEN IT,TS TIME FOR THE PLAYOFFS!
REALISTICALLY WE MIGHT WIN THE FIRST ROUND,BUT I DON,T KNOW ABOUT THE BRONCO,S OR KANSAS CITYlET,S HOPE IT,S THE PATRIOTS AGAIN!
NEXT YEAR WE SHOULD GO AFTER AN ESTABLISHED RINNER(SHOULD NEVER HAD GOT RID OF BUSH) GET RID OF IRELAND THIS TIME...PLEASE!!!! GOOD LUCK AND GO PHINS

I think Kris actually convinced himself Richie's work ethic sucked because he held a few oline meetings at a strip club.

Come on Kris, admit it man! hahaha And how can you continually come up with these opinions when you have no clue what is going on in the locker room? It's like you are guessing and hoping something sticks.

Need I repost the multiple Incognito posts from Kris about how he extorted money and all of the other things HE NEVER DID but Kris bought as truth because the media told him so OR he made up his mind without ALL of the facts? Come on Kris! hahaha

Posted by: Phins78 | December 06, 2013 at 08:38 PM

Previous Dolphin teams would find a way to loose this game. Lets see if this team turned a corner and is ready to pull away from middle of the pack teams. Can T-Hill throw Deep ACCURATELY ? If he can, we get those 10 points more per game. If he can't, then it will be another Carolina type game. This game is all about
T-Hill. I'll be watching.

STEELERS WIN THIS ONE 27 TO 17!!!

The Dolphins need to be more than one score up on the Steelers, thereby denying Rapistberger the opportunity to win it at the end. Hartline is faster than people like Dan Dierdorf give him credit for, and I like Wallace to rise to the occasion and burn the old guys in the Steeler secondary for two scores. I look for the insertion of the speed package of Wake, Vernon and Jordan to exert pressure, and I look for Odrick, who played his college ball in PA to have a statement game.

STEELERS all day long BIG BEN will have a three td game STEELERS 27 FORESKINS 17!!!

Steve Ross wll have to fork over big money to J Martin.

Big Lawsuit, really what law schook did you graduate from.

29 ,tomorrow.70 % chae of coke.
steelers in a rout.
Pitt.-45
barbies -3
What was the Broncos' 1 missing piece?
It's the QB STUPID! EH?

Well how silly of the Phins...they simply needed to go and pick a P. Manning off the elite QB tree. Who knew it was that easy? Darn Ireland hadn't thought of that I'm sure. Someone should hire that guy ASAP with genius takes like that.


Maybe Ape Tamer's just a stupid! EH?

Ape Tamer doesnt know how to read an entire post before trying to belittle posters... He got called out on it yesterday but didnt man up and say he was in the wrong.. So no need to pay attention him..

Dead blog today:)

I believe 100% that we beat Pitt by a more then a TD this weekend! I also believe that we take that momentum home against the Patsies from a win at home. After that we will be running the table. Ravens lose Dolphins win!!! First round of playoffs here we come!!

OL,, you forgot the OL,,,advantage Pittsburgh. Pitt is a very dangerous football team. Cant compare them to the Jets, no way. Interesting game,,if the Dolphins can control the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball, then maybe they might sneak out with a W.
Dolphins are going to have to play like junk yard dogs when NE hits town. They can be beat,,,I never see uncle Joe as a motivator. In the NFL players should be able to motivate themselves,,,,how much money to they make?
Buffalo looks like the trap game,,,,Dolphins players like to "lay down" in time for Buffalo. Dolphins have to run the table to secure a playoff spot ,,,,just to lose the first rd of playoff games, its their MO.

Philbin is a better coach than Mike Tomlin.

Ben hasnt been elite for some time now...idiot. He is also a raper and a liar. So one can see why Armando is so fond of such a human POS.

HEY MORONS! You are suppose to EMPTY!the water bed first before you try and move it.
Stupid barbie fans Eh?

You people read Armando stuff and take it to heart? Look, the guy is jaded and he is clueless on all things Dolphins. He has proven that time and time again. Just ignore his non-sense, scroll down and start making comments.

It is sad when gorillas and other primates have severe mental disorders and hallucinate.

I do not know if these brain anomalies occur in other animals such a deer, clams, spiders, giraffes, and lobsters but they certainly do among gorillas and other primates.

armondo = jet fan.he even mentioned it here before.what id like to know is how the herald can give the dolphin beat writing to him when he is not even close to biased besides his sexual preference.shame on you fish wrapper herald

seems most of you are very optimistic.dont be shocked when they go 1-3 in this stretch.not a hater, i just know my beloved phins.they are not elite or even good,just average to below average for roughly two decades.they will never go home with the prom queen,all they can pull is the fat friend.

Will Tannehill ever complete a long pass? Even by accident?

Bill Cowher was the best HC of his era. Both he and Big Ben are HOFers.

I heard jaws is really a hoola hoop salesman.

We haven't beaten them up there in over 20 years.

They are long over due for a whipping.

For tomorrow the Phins will Rise...

And its only the biggest game of the season, lol

no i run an escort sevice.you didnt know?all you had to do was ask your mom and sister and they would have told you

WHO REMEMBERS FORMER DOLPHINS TIGHT END GREG BATY?????

I heard your escort service is all midgets.

Steelers should not be able to cover Wallace AND Clay AND Hartline AND Mathews ... even Miller can receive WCO style. If Tannehill can get it together, we could really stun Pittsburgh.

I heard u once packed 30 of your midget hookers in a limo.

I'd rather the Dolphins lose out, get a high draft choice(Johnny Manziel), and get rid of Ireland, than to win any more games. This is NOT a playoff team and if they ever do squeak into the playoffs they'll get clobered 62-7. That wont help anything.

Come on ........... Did anybody really expect a truly objective opinion grading Philbin vrs Tomlin ? Armando has a clear bias against Philbin.

I was listening to Rich Gannon and Scott Pioli on NFL radio the other day and they could not say enough good things about Joe Philbin and the job he is doing.

Tomlin inherited a super bowl roster. Philbin a Parcels/ Mueller mess.

Philbin is a horrible excuse for a HC. Even Sparano was better.

I was listening to Rich Gannon and Scott Pioli on NFL radio the other day and they could not say enough good things about Joe Philbin and the job he is doing.
----------------------------------------

Philbin is extremely well regarded around the league.

Isn't it funny that a lot of folks here would love to see someone like Pioli come in as GM only to find he doesn't share their opinion on Philbin at ALL?

But, hey, these nitwits aren't interested in the facts or reality. They know better because, you know, they watch football on TV with their fat butts planted on a couch and that makes them EXPERTS.

Probably the worst blog I've ever stumbled across. Curious if it's this juvenile everyday?

Texan,

It is really bad today. That is why I have not posted anything. The blog has its moments. It is descent on game day. There is too much to do in S. Florida, most of us are out doing things.

Most of the bloggers today are between 12-14 years of age or just complete losers.

See you, I am off to the beach. Love S. Florida, 82 degrees in December.

Dear Mike Sherman,

Time to breakout the PLAYOFF GAME PLAN

YOURS TRULY, DOLFANS EVERYWHERE.

The optimism around the team is gratifying. That means the team is playing well. With the talent on this team we are going to rise up and be a contender it's just a matter of when not if.

It's a mind boggling shame we have people that consider themselves fans of the team and wish the worst things for the team like losing and firing/cutting FO/Coaches and players. Changes in the off season can wait until then...there's still 4 games to go and a lot WILL happen by the end of the season. We will have more information and answers.


I'd rather the Dolphins lose out, get a high draft choice(Johnny Manziel), and get rid of Ireland, than to win any more games. This is NOT a playoff team and if they ever do squeak into the playoffs they'll get clobered 62-7. That wont help anything.

Posted by: Tony Nathan | December 07, 2013 at 02:35 PM


I have GREAT COMPASSION for your line of thinking, also being a LONG SUFFERING DOLFAN. I truly do. However, for over a decade now, DO OVERS have faired us even worse.

Take a look at the pieces on our roster. Defensely, we ever get 100% healthy(Patterson). Offensively, the oline becomes rock steady(run ad pass). I believe we have the pieces to make a AFC Championship run.

Cheifs are probably AFC's 2nd best team and it beginning to look like they PEAKED far to early in the season. What, they've lost 2-3 games in a row now?

A victory over the Pats, 3rd best in AFC, should go a longs ways towards being a GREAT confidence builder should we meet them again.

Then, any team other than Broncos, Chiefs, Pats, we have EQUAL footing talent wise. Remember, we already beat Andrew Luck(Colts)and now he and his oline is probably playing their worst ball of the season.

Bottomline, we have some nice pieces, enough to possibly make an AFC championship run. But, there is where it probably ends.

However, I by miracle the Broncos get knocked out in the playoffs, AFC super bowl representative is truly UP FOR GRABS! So why not us?

It can all begin by ripping our way into 2013's playoffs, on a 5 GAME WINSTREAK RUN. The Giants have 2 SB RINGS to prove it can be so.

Posted by: TruthhurTs | December 07, 2013 at 03:44 PM

I still have great compassion for these type fans. For they only "FOLLOW SCRIPT" written over an entire decade of being IRRELEVANT.

Sometimes, even as fans, we become so conditioned to losing. When hearing the team has a shot, even that "TruthhurT's".

A very famous man once prayed:

"Father forgive them, for they KNOW NOT what they do."

Every team that will be in AFC's playoffs, has warts, even Denver on the defensive side of the ball. Just that Denver's offense is most often able to cover them.

Outside of the Broncs, a fully healthy Dolphins team with oline playing rock steady, can be as good as any team underneath Denver.I even like our chances to make the SB, if we don't draw Denver before the AFC Championship game.

But, of course this is all predicated on entering the playoffs on a 5 game winstreak roll. We have chance to become the AFC's version of those NY G'men SB rolls.

WE WILL SPLIT NEXT 2 GAMES TO GET TO 7-7 NEXT SUNDAY

Not sure if we beat Pit or NE

GAMETIME TEMP = 30 DEG REALFEEL = 22 DEG
-Accuweather.com

Losing to win in the future hasn't really proved to work out all that well for a long list of teams that are consistent cellar dwellers. Half measures like Mando pointed out a while back haven't worked out too well in the NFL either. I'd rather give Philbin/Ireland another year or two to see how this pans out. We all know the issues/problems with the team. Let's see if they can be fixed.

I don't see us winning the next 5 in a row. I can see us winning 3 of the next 4 one way or another and get in the playoffs as the 6th seed. I wouldn't predict a winner of that game until we see who that would be.

There are only 4 games left, not 5.


There are only 4 games left, not 5.

Posted by: Four | December 07, 2013 at 04:34 PM

We won last week, win the FINAL FOUR games, well you do the math.

1 + 4 = ?(5)

playoffs Eh?
Yeah, 2018 Eh?
STUPID barbie fans Eh?


There are only 4 games left, not 5.

Posted by: Four | December 07, 2013 at 04:34 PM

Posted by: Sam I Am | December 07, 2013 at 04:40 PM


Equals a 5 GAME WINSTREAK, RIGHT?

I don't see us winning the next 5 in a row.

Posted by: TruthhurTs | December 07, 2013 at 04:30 PM

This was the comment I responded to.

No SB win in 42 years......YIKES!!

Homers Are STUPID Eh?

Homers Are STUPID Eh?
Posted by: Ape Tamer | December 07, 2013 at 05:03 PM

Dullfin homers DEFINITELY!!

Word out of J'ville is that they are going to franhise Chad Henne.
WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOW ! Eh?

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