Miami Dolphins vs. Pittsburgh Steelers
Date and Time: Sunday, January 8, 2017, 1:05 p.m. ET
Location: Heinz Field, Pittsburgh, PA
Wild Card NFL Odds at BookMaker.eu: Steelers -10, 47
Dolphins vs. Steelers TV Coverage: CBS
There isn’t a more surprising team in the playoffs than that of the Dolphins. This team got out to a poor 1-4 straight up and against the spread start, but after taking down the Steelers, rattled off six straight wins to propel itself back into the Wild Card race. From there, it won three of five and got some help from other teams late to head back to the playoffs for the first time since 2009.
While it likely would have rather gone on the road to face Houston, it’s staring this challenge head on. Adam Gase must be up for Coach of the Year honors, but while the offense has taken some major strides in the right direction, the defense has been nothing short of a dumpster fire all season. That’s where the dilemma in this one falls. Le’Veon Bell is going to eat against the league’s No. 30 ranked rush defense. Once that happens, Big Ben is gonna have him some fun as well.
With absolutely nothing to gain by going all out against the Browns last week, Pittsburgh sleep walked through the first half and trailed 14-7. It then proceeded to tie it up twice before sending the game to overtime where it eventually won. None of Roethlisberger, Bell or Antonio Brown lined up for a single snap in the game. That means one less week of wear and tear on the body. They’ll be ready for this rematch.
The Steelers won six of their eight played home games, and covered at a 4-3-1 clip in those contests. The two defeats came against the Patriots in a game Big Ben was forced to sit out of and against Dallas who snatched the win from the jaws of defeat with a late game winning touchdown drive. Pittsburgh hasn’t won a playoff home game since 2011. Then again, they’ve only hosted one since. Heinz Field is gonna be bonkers for this one!
Player to Watch
Matt Moore – Tannehill was competent enough in the first meeting to force the Steelers to account for Miami’s passing game by completing 24 of 32 pass attempts for 252 yards. In his three starts since Tannehill went down with a major knee sprain, Moore has proved to be more than capable in throwing for 674 yards and a 8:3 TD/INT ratio. If unable to take advantage of the Steelers weak link on defense, Ajayi will have an extremely tough time trying to repeat his last effort against a Pittsburgh defense that will no doubt line up eight in the box and dare Miami to beat it over the top.
Dolphins vs. Steelers Free Picks
As tempting as it may be to back Pittsburgh minus the points on the NFL odds at BookMaker.eu, don’t do it! The Steelers have been nothing short of mediocre form a betting standpoint this season, and are now giving 10 points to a team that has the makeup to hang in this one all the way through. Ajayi is going to get his and allow for Moore to pick apart the home team’s secondary. The Steelers defense has major issues in its secondary. I think Joe Flacco just converted another third and long against it.
Kidding aside, Miami is playing the role of the disrespected rushing dog and is getting 10 points. The Fins have played with a quiet confidence all season long, and I don’t foresee it dissipating with the season on the line. Miami’s covered four of its last five on the road, while the Steelers have failed to cover each of their last five playoff games. Make it six straight after this one!
Dolphins vs. Steelers ATS Pick: Dolphins +10 at BookMaker.eu
Dolphins vs. Steelers Score Prediction: Steelers 26 – Dolphins 20