In a revenge win over the Ravens last week, the Steelers took the AFC North division title just a couple of months after losing to them. Now they face another team that beat them earlier in the year, in a game that the odds are highly favoring Pittsburgh for. The Steelers host the Miami Dolphins in an AFC wild card game this Sunday at Heinz Field. Check out Sports Interaction’s Wild Card playoff odds here.
Pittsburgh Steelers (11-5) vs. Miami Dolphins (10-6)
Point spread:Steelers -10
Date: Sunday, January 8, 2017
Location: Heinz Field, Pittsburgh
It’s been eight years since the Dolphins have made an appearance in the postseason, and they’ve done it now under first-year head coach Adam Gase. Gase told press on Monday that Ryan Tannehill may not play the Wild Card game, after missing the last three games with a sprained knee. Backup QB Matt Moore, who has spent 9 years in the league, has never played in a playoff game. “I’m going to make the call on it,” Gase said. “If I don’t feel comfortable, Matt will stay the starting quarterback.”
The Dolphins had a rough start this season, going 1-4 out the gates, but turned things around with an impressive nine straight wins to make it at 1-6 season and secure them a Wild Card spot. They were second in the AFC East after the powerhouse Patriots. The Patriots had a 35-14 win over the Dolphins in week 17, leaving Miami with a loss headed into the playoffs.
Before his injury, QB Ryan Tannehill led his team with 2995 yards, 19 TDs and 12 picks. Running back Jay Ajayi put some great numbers on the board for his team with 1272 yards and eight scores, and receiever Jarvis Landry led with 1136 yards and four sores.
The Steelers are in a good position in the AFC since the conference is plagued with injured QBs. This puts Pittsburgh, along with the Chiefs, as potentially the biggest threats to the top-seeded Patriots.
At the start of the season, things were looking iffy for the Steelers, as they started out into a 4-5 record, but, like the Dolphins, had a win streak of seven games to claim the AFC North title. They also have all their star power healthy and ready to play together for the first time ever. Fans will be treated to the triple threat of Roethlisberger, Le’Veon Bell and Antonio Brown on the field. Bell was out of the last two playoffs with knee troubles, and Antonio Brown was concussed when they lost to the Broncos last year.
As for numbers, Roethlisberger put up 29 touchdowns and 13 picks this season, and star running back Le’Veon Bell had 1268 yards and seven scores. Antonio Brown led the team in receiving with 1284 yards and 12 touchdowns on 106 receptions.
Coach Mike Tomlin sat all three players last week, and defended his choice to the media, saying:
“I feel good about that. One of the reasons why we took the approach we took this week. We’ve been without Le’Veon Bell the last two years of the playoffs. We went to Denver last year without Antonio Brown. We’ve been to Super Bowls and so forth without Maurkice Pouncey. It’s good to have them.”
Steelers vs. Dolphins Prediction
The Steelers are good at home and have some big guns at the ready for this game, so expect them to come away with a win here, but for the Dolphins to cover that spread. Dolphins +10