Monday Night Football here as the Pittsburgh Steelers host the Miami Dolphins. Both teams are in the midst of disappointing seasons, but one of them has to win here. The Steelers rested up during their bye week in Week 7, while the Dolphins lost a closer than expected game to the Bills. Even though Pittsburgh hasn't been great this season, oddsmakers still have them as a massive favorite here.
The Dolphins nearly picked up their first win of the season two weeks ago, but failed on a last-second two-point conversion. This past week they also played the Bills pretty close. Josh Rosen has been sent back to the bench, and Ryan Fitzpatrick will start this one for Miami. Can they get a win finally, or will their tankathon continue?
Will the Steelers be able to carry over some momentum from their big Sunday Night Football win over the Chargers two weeks ago? They did suffer some key injuries in that game, but they had the bye week to heal up. Mason Rudolph, who missed the game against Los Angeles, will be back under center here as he returns from his scary concussion.
Dolphins Improving?There's not much more you can say about the Dolphins at this point. They're obviously tanking the season, and enter this one at 0-6. There's a real chance they will go winless, and they're playing for a high draft pick and the right to take a quarterback early next year. They started the season off with Ryan Fitzpatrick under center, but quickly benched him for Josh Rosen.
Pretty much everybody assumed that Rosen would be the starter for the rest of the year and the Dolphins even indicated as such, but Rosen was soon benched himself after an ineffective stretch. Fitzpatrick is the man again, and so far he's been doing quite well. After being inserted in the middle of the game, he very nearly led the Dolphins to win over the Redskins two weeks ago, and almost beat the Bills on the road this past week as a 17-point underdog. The team has clearly received a boost of energy with Fitzpatrick back, and they're playing their best ball of the season. They've covered the spread in back-to-back games, and even the defense has looked pretty good the past two weeks.
Fitzpatrick went on the road again in Buffalo against one of the league's toughest defenses, and managed to average 8.1 yards per attempt. The running game also got going a little bit, and new lead back Mark Walton looked good. The Dolphins clearly aren't going anywhere this season, but they're fighting hard for head coach Brian Flores and haven't given up. That's the most important thing when handicapping this type of team, and they've got a lot of spunk in them for an 0-6 squad. Fitzpatrick is always capable of playing at a high level, and he could have success against the Pittsburgh defense that is pretty banged up at the moment.
Tough Year For Pittsburgh
This was not the season that the Pittsburgh Steelers envisioned. They got absolutely embarrassed by the Patriots on Sunday Night Football in their opener, and then Ben Roethlisberger got hurt in Week 2. Word came soon after that Roethlisberger would miss the entire season, a devastating blow to this team. Mason Rudolph, a 2018 third-round pick, was inserted under center and then he got hurt himself just a couple of weeks later. Fortunately, he had the bye week to heal up, and he'll now be back at quarterback after Devlin Hodges filled in for Week 6. I'm not particularly high on Rudolph, and he didn't look that good before going down with a concussion. With the missed game and then the bye week, Rudolph could be pretty rusty at the beginning of this one.
Even against a weak defense like the Bengals' a couple of weeks ago, he didn't look particularly impressive. The Steelers are also pretty banged up at the moment. Starting cornerback Steven Nelson didn't play in their last game, and defensive lineman Stephon Tuitt just went down with a torn pec in their win over the Chargers. This will be their first game without Tuitt, who's one of their best overall players, so it's a massive loss. Running back James Conner is also hobbled, although it appears he's going to suit up for this one. The Steelers' defense has been middling, so they're going to need a big game from their offense here if they're going to cover this hefty spread. Pittsburgh hasn't scored more than 27 points all season, so their defense is going to need to play really well here and completely shutdown Fitzpatrick if they're going to cover this number.
- 1-5 ATS in their last 6 games following a bye week
- 3-8 ATS in their last 11 games after accumulating less than 150 yards passing in their previous game.