MON NIGHT PREVIEW: DOLPHINS @ STEELERS (WK 8)!

CAN MIAMI FINALLY GRAB THAT ELUSIVE FIRST WIN AS 2 T.D. UNDERDOGS?

VEGAS POINT SPREAD:  PITTSBURGH STEELERS (-14) vs. MIAMI DOLPHINS ~  TOTAL: (43 or 43 1/2)

Two teams facing off for Monday Night Football with a combined TWO wins so far. This could be the worst MNF Matchup we’ve seen in many years, but hey as long as they play a game between two teams and Vegas sets a Betting Odds number. people will watch it, regardless how bad it may be. It’s kinda sad to see how far these two once elite clubs have fallen, as just a few years ago (2017) these two met in the Wild Card game, won by Pitt (30-12).

The month of September will go down as one of the worst overall months by any NFL team, EVER! The Dolphins didn’t just lose all 4 games, but they were outscored 163-26. They looked like an (0-16) team that would never play a close game. But although they did lose both October games so far, they have not just competed hard, but could’ve easily won both games. They lost to the Redskins (17-16), missing a last second two point conversion that would’ve grabbed win #1. Then last week the scoreboard shows they lost by 10 points to the Bills, but in reality they actually only lost by 3 points, as they allowed a strange on side kick return for a TD to make final score loss by 10 and not 3. They trailed in all the first halves so far until last week at Buffalo, where they went into Halftime ahead of the Bills (14-9). So clearly they have in now way just thrown in the towel. The Dolphins biggest problem is they’ve only scored 63 points all season, with only 20 second half points scored. They have allowed 99 first half points and 113 second half points. Miami has not won a game in over 300 days. 

The Steelers of course also haven’t been too good this season, as they’ve been forced to play 3 QB’s already. Strange we have a game where two teams have a combined two wins, yet have started a combined 5 QB’s already. The Steelers will have young QB Mason Randolph back as the starter, and they hope he can’t get into a solid rhythm and avoid any further injuries. He’s been very good (63-94-646-7 TD’s/2 Int’s), but the Steelers run game so far has just been awful. They average only 77 rush yards per game and lead RB Connor has a season high of only 60 rush yards thus far. To make things worse for the struggling Pitt Offense is that Connor is actually the teams pass catch leader (26) so far, one more then stud WR Juju Shuster-Smith (25). Last year with Antonio Brown as the #1 threat, Smith had eight (100 yard) passing games. This year so far he has NONE. His high total yards game this season is only 84, so he is still in search of that first 100 yard game going into this Monday night affair with the Fins.

The Dolphins Offense will be severely tested as they face a Steelers Defense that has not allowed any opponent to gain 350 total yards yet. The Steelboys are 5th in the league with (20) sacks and 2nd in the NFL in takeaways with (15). The Dolphins are dead last rushing the ball (66 yards per game), so they need QB Fitzpatrick to sling it all over and hope he rekindles some of his past FITZMAGIC success. The Dolphins lead RB K. Drake is averaging only (3.7) YPR and has two fumbles and zero TD’s. The Fins have fallen behind so big so often they are dead last in the league in rush attempts (120). They are second worst in the NFL in rushing yards. They haven’t fielded the same OL in 2 straight games all season. The Dolphins are dead last in turnover margin too (-11). In the Steelers last game they allowed the Chargers to rush for only 32 yards on 14 carries. So far there has been no really good news from me in this entire article, for that I apologize. OK so you want some positive Dolphins stuff? WR D. Parker has caught a TD pass in 3 straight games and last week they had a season high (381) total yards vs. a very solid #3 Bills Defense. 

Ok back to more Dolphins bad news, as the Defense has allowed 30 points in all but one game, vs. the very pathetic Redskins Offense. The Defense has just one interception all season, so they almost never turn the ball back to the Offense in fantastic field position. One thing in my tape watch I realized early on was the Miami Linebackers may be worst in the NFL. 

Pittsburgh has an edge in this one in the Kicking game as Kicker Chris Boswell has made every FG try and Extra Point try so far this season. On the downside, the Pitt Special Teams Return game has been just awful all season, with no good kickoff or punt return yet. It’s hard to ask a young QB to go 75-80 yards drive after drive to get the team some points. Pitt has also huge edge in OL as they have only allowed 5 QB sacks, which is amazing considering they have been forced to use 3 diff QB’s.

Look neither team can run the ball well, Dolphins (63) rypg, and Steelers not much better (78) rypg, so it comes down likely to the QB’s passing the ball. The Dolphins QB Fitzpatrick is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you are gonna get. The good news for him is there is NO Pressure at all here, so he can go out and let it rip and never really worry if the result is bad, as more losses keep them in the hunt for the #1 pick in next years Draft. 

KEY TRENDS TO WATCH:

PITTSBURGH STEELERS HEAD COACH MIKE TOMLIN: (9-18) ATS as a double digit favorite.

MIAMI DOLPHINS: (0-5) ATS the past 5 Monday night appearances.

PITTSBURGH STEELERS: (4-0) ATS last 4 Monday night appearances vs. Non-Division Opponents.

FINAL THOUGHTS:

Well it’s never a fun game ahead when you get a #30 Offense facing a #28 Offense, and even more to see a losing team laying 2 TD’s, but hey folks this is what we are left with. This is not a game for the real Pro Bettors and you are really more “guessing” than handicapping as this is a total roll of the dice. The only good sign is that the Dolphins have been competitive the past two weeks and looking nothing like the team that was slaughtered in their first 4 games. If you bet this game, you likely are a guy who won’t have a bankroll to bet later in the season. But I hope whoever you bet wins.  I will be doing all NFL Teams mid-season REPORT CARDS later this week. 

Have a wonderful new week ahead. May all your future wagers be WINNING ones!

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