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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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He's winning, Tpuke not so much Eh?

Troll's are repetitive Eh? And like to agree with themselves.

Homers ae retarted ,clueless and useless Eh?

@5:10PM
That isn't how you spell retarded, genius.

Troll's are repetitive Eh? And like to agree with themselves.

Posted by: Darkoak | December 07, 2013 at 05:08 PM


And dumb idiots like to feed the trolls and stick their thumbs up cow holes.

* should have been @5:18

In any case I don't see a 5 game winning streak. I'd love to say that I do but that's a lot to ask for..you just never know in this league. I respectfully disagree.

Ape Tamer is a simple minded? EH?

*Ape Tamer is a simple minded troll? EH?

Like ignoring trolls on here has ever worked? Fine if you want to be passive and let them shoot off their vile mouths. Fine congratulate yourself for that nobility but don't be critical of those of us that would rather expose them for their poor takes and give it right back to them.

Vernon and Cam give Big Ben a " WAKE UP CALL "!

those of us that would rather expose them for their poor takes and give it right back to them.

Posted by: TruthhurTs | December 07, 2013 at 05:53 PM

Only an absolute idiot can't see how blatantly they expose themselves. They come back because dimwits like Darkoak keep feeding them.

I can see Cam responding with a big game tomorrow kind of like a competitive thing with O. Vernon. Those guys should feed off each other. But they aren't the only ones there are more than a couple guys along the DL that can create pressure and hopefully that's what we are seeing is the DL beginning to dominate in pass rush. That is "the" strength of the team and makes the dbs even better.

Don't think I've seen a single fresh comment here in over 2 years. I guess there is only so much to be said. Score points, prevent turnovers, win the field position battle...blah blah blah

looks like it will be dry in the game sunday. just cold and not real bad at 32 degrees

Helluva game going on, #3 Auburn #5 Mizzou. Auburn scores again, Auburn 38 Mizzou 34, still 3rd qtr.

Neither team has defense to stop Fla St,and Fla St has better defense than both. Looks like Fla St as 2013 National Champions.

go mu!!!!!!

sam right now ohio st would play fsu

dusty Auburn has 450yds rushing, 30 secs left in 4th qtr.

yes sam, hope osu loses tonight any sec team can beat fsu

May as well crown FSU National Champs right now. Ohio St doesn't have the offensive power t overwhelm FSU's defense. Nor do they have enough defense to shutdown Jameis Winston.

mu answers

disagree sam fsu beat nobody all year either team could beat them

There no such word as DEFENSE built into this Auburn/Mizzou game. But you have to love the fast-paced non-stop action. WOW!

Damn, seen more plus 40yds or more plays in this single game, than I've seen the Dolphins have all year. Lmao!

its on turf, speed is killing both d's

Dusty, Jameis Winston is best qb in the nation. Plus FSU has perrenially been known for great defense.

Enough said.

winston is good, def can be beat

Dusty, FSU probably dresses Dion Sanders for the National Championship game. :)

deion couldnt cover u now

Only an absolute idiot can't see how blatantly they expose themselves. They come back because dimwits like Darkoak keep feeding them.
Posted by: LightPine | December 07, 2013 at 06:02 PM

And dunces like you come back and feed me. You can't help yourself obviously, the ASPD and all.


deion couldnt cover u now

Posted by: dusty bottoms | December 07, 2013 at 07:29 PM

:)

JOHNNY FOOTBALL'S ALREADY A HAS BEEN

JOHNNY FOOTBALL SOLD HIS AUTOGRAPH WHILE IT HAD VALUE

You guys remember the scandal right?

WOW, that may have been this game's 1st 3 and out. Congrats to Auburn.

game over sam

Auburn adds the exclamation point. Scores another td after failed 4th down try by Mizzou. Auburn 59 Mizzou 42.

Also need remember, Auburn fell behind by 10pts early in the game.

Dusty, after this game Auburn probably surpasses Ohio St at #2. Announcers now talking about it.

Auburn/FSU Natinal Title?

3 STRAIGHT GAMES Auburn has made the Nation go:

"WOW!"

3 STRAIGHT GAMES the AUBURN TIGERS have made the Nation go:

"WOW!"

Hi everyone! Where's the Circle-jerk Club tonight?

Hi everyone! Where's the Circle-jerk Club tonight?
Posted by: M is for Moron | December 07, 2013 at 09:18 PM

It's called having a life, you wouldn't relate.

I see no reason why we won't beat the Steelers. They are fading. We are rising. We unnecessarily lost enough games for one season. I see a 3-1 finish.

Hi everyone! Where's the Circle-jerk Club tonight?
Posted by: M is for Moron | December 07, 2013 at 09:18 PM

It's called having a life, you wouldn't relate.

Posted by: Darkoak | December 07, 2013 at 09:37 PM

So if you responded what can we deduce from that?

Darkoak what do you do for a living?

LightPine,

Wussup f@ggot!

Darkoak has shame, so he doesn't respond.

Woodshed, maybe you can go give him a hug? Or more?

Dolphins win if the refs don't give the Steelers a freeby like before. That game really sucked when they gave Pitt the end zone fumble back. I'll not forget that one.

Darkoak has shame, so he doesn't respond.
Woodshed, maybe you can go give him a hug? Or more?
Posted by: LightPine | December 07, 2013 at 09:52 PM

Darkoak has a life that's why he doesn't respond. Chuuuuuuuummmmmmmm..........p.

Darkoak has shame, so he doesn't respond.
Woodshed, maybe you can go give him a hug? Or more?
Posted by: LightPine | December 07, 2013 at 09:52 PM

Darkoak has a life that's why he doesn't respond. Chuuuuuuuummmmmmmm..........p.

Posted by: Darkoak | December 07, 2013 at 10:20 PM

But you did respond, and evaded the question. Shame? Go ahead and make something up if helps.

UCF will beat Auburn in the Sugar Bowl. You heard it here 1st.

Ohio St is playing Fla St

Darkoak, what color is your pubic hair?

It's called having a life, you wouldn't relate.
Posted by: Darkoak | December 07, 2013 at 09:37 PM


That's why you're here, too? Fu$kwad.

Dark oak might be mentally retarded.

Do not be shocked when Auburn LEAPFROGS Ohio St. in next week's final polls. I'm expecting a FSU/Auburn National Championship.

All Auburn needs is for ONLY 20 SPORTSWITERS to change their votes. 59pts against the #6 team(Mizzou) in the nation can EASILY do jut that.

Especially with Michigan St giving the Buckeyes all they can handle right now. It's Buckeyes 17 Spartans 17 as I post.

College football is for dolts that drink cheap beer and have no culture or refinement.

38-0 FSU over Duke. Quickly turning into a typical day at the woodshed, when Great meets Also ran.

Would rather Michigan St win so there is no debate. Looks like OSU is taking control though.

I'll have a Bud Lite and some nachos (chips with canned cheezwhiz).

FSU wr Kelvin Benjamin

6'4 235lbs 49 receptions 925yds 19.2ypc 12tds

Walter amp projects him 2-3rd Would make a huge target for Tannehill and looks like the 2nd coming of Atwan Boldin. Who was also a FSU wr.

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