Pittsburgh Steelers (4-1 SU, 4-1 ATS) vs. Miami Dolphins (1-4 SU, 1-4 ATS)
NFL Week 6
Date/Time: Sunday, October 16, 2016 at 1:00PM EST
Where: Hard Rock Stadium
TV: CBS, DTV: 706
by Chad Holloway, Expert Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: PIT -8/MIA +8
Over/Under Total: 47
The Miami Dolphins are floundering, but despite their woes head coach Adam Gase made it clear this week that Ryan Tannehill will remain the starting quarterback for the remainder of the season. You canít blame him as veteran backup Matt Moore certainly isnít the future of the franchise, but it does beg the question Ė whatís in store for the rest of the season?
Chances are much of the same unless the Dolphins can figure out how to right theirs wrongs, of which there are many. For instance, itís hard to win when your offense converts just 28.6% of third-down plays. Also, that offense needs to hold onto the ball more Ė that ran just 41 plays in their loss against the Titans last weekend (compare that to the Patriots who ran 41 players against the Browns in the first half).
Speaking of the Dolphins offense, theyíre ranked an abysmal 29th in the league averaging 303.8 total yards per game (YPG) and 17.6 points per game (PPG). Their passing game is a lowly 24th averaging 231.4 YPG, while their rushing game is even worse averaging 72.4 YPG, which puts them second to last in the league. Clearly they need to improve on all fronts.
With Arian Foster injured (no surprise there, right?), Gase has been employing a four-back committee, and thus far none have shined. To that point, Jay Ajayi is the teamís leading rusher having carried just 31 times for 117 yards and two scores. It just has to get better. If it does, and thatís a big if, itíll force opponents to defend against the run, which in turn will open up the passing game. Itís there that Tannehill needs to get the ball to Jarvis Landry and DeVante Parker on a consistent basis while taking the occasional shot downfield to Kenny Stills.
Defensively, the Fins have fought hard, but because their offense canít stay on the field, they find themselves exhausted come the 4th quarter. If not for the offensive woes, they would be ranked better than 28th in the league allowing an average of 401 total YPG (250.2 passing YPG; 150.8 rushing YPG) and 23.8 PPG.
The Dolphins will have their hands full this weekend as their opponent, the Pittsburgh Steelers, are clearly the better team. Averaging 379 total YPG (302 passing YPG; 77 rushing YPG) and 18.6 PPG, the Steelers enter Week 6 with the 25th-ranked defense. Not much better than the Dolphins, but where they really differentiate themselves is on offense.
The Steelers ďOĒ is fifth in the NFL averaging 386.2 YPG and 27.8 PPG. Averages of 284.2 passing YPG and 102 rushing YPG have their passing and rushing games ranked 3rd and 14th respectively. For comparisonís sake, the Steelers convert on 49.2% of third downs.
Last week, the Steelers fired on all cylinders against the Dolphinsí long-time rival New York Jets. Ben Roethlisberger passed for 380 yards and four touchdowns, while LeíVeon Bell racked up 154 total yards of offense. Furthermore, Antonio Brown and Sammie Coates both had big games through the air with the latter catching six passed for a career-high 139 yards and two touchdowns.
Chad Holloway's Pick to Cover the Point Spread: The Dolphins will have their hands full this weekend, and unless their offense magically morphs into a well-oiled machine, they donít stand a chance. Itís a big line, but Steelers shouldnít have much trouble covering it. I expect itíll be a similar game as last week where things will be close in the first half, but the Steelers will run rough trod in the second half. I mean that quite literally as in LeíVeon Bell will have a big game against the Fins, who are one of the worst at stopping the run.
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