The second AFC wildcard game will be taking place at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh this Sunday, January 8th when the Steelers will be hosting the Miami Dolphins. Pittsburgh edged the Cleveland Browns 27-24 in overtime at home in their season finale last weekend. They had already clinched the AFC North title and finished the campaign at 11-5.
The Dolphins ended the season on a losing note as the New England Patriots beat them 35-14 last week. Miami finished the year at 10-6 and placed second in the AFC East. The Steelers and Dolphins faced off back on November 16th in Florida with Miami doubling the visitors 30-15. The Steelers are 6-4 against Miami in their past 10 meetings.
Dolphins vs Steelers – Pinnacle NFL Betting Line:
- Point Spread: Pinnacle lists the Steelers at -10 points at -101 with the Dolphins +10 points at -109
- Over/Under: Over is 47 points at +104 with the under at 47 points at -115
- Money Line: the Steelers are -455 to win with the Dolphins at +389
Dolphins vs Steelers Betting Trends:
- Season record: 10-6 straight up, 9-6-1 against the spread
- Miami has gone 8-2-1 against the spread in their past 11 contests
- The total has been over in each of Miami’s past five outings
- Miami has gone 9-2 in their past 11 encounters
- The total has been over in four of Miami’s past five road games
- Miami has gone 4-1 on their past five road trips
- The total has been over in four of Miami’s past six meetings with Pittsburgh
- Miami has gone 2-5 in their past seven games against Pittsburgh
- Miami has gone 2-4 in their past six visits to Pittsburgh
- Season record: 11-5 straight up, 9-6-1 against the spread
- Pittsburgh has gone 5-0 in their past five games
- Pittsburgh has gone 5-1-1 against the spread in their past 7 contests
- The total has been under in 14 of Pittsburgh’s past 20 outings
- Pittsburgh has gone 10-2 in their past 12 home games
- Pittsburgh has gone 1-3-1 against the spread in their past five home outings
- Pittsburgh has gone 1-4 against the spread in their past five meetings with Miami
- The total has been over in four of Pittsburgh’s past six meetings with Miami
- Pittsburgh has gone 5-2 in their past seven games against Miami
- Pittsburgh has gone 4-2 in their past six home contests with Miami
Miami Dolphins – A Closer Look:
The Dolphins scored an average of 22.7 points per outing this season and conceded 23.8 per game. Miami got off to a slow start this campaign with a 1-4 record, but then went on a tear by going 9-2 over the last 11 games. The Dolphins appear to have an average squad though as their offense is rated at 14th in the league with defense at number 19. Head coach Adam Gase did a fine job in his first year in Miami though as he seemed to do the maximum possible with the talent he had in front of him. This is especially true when it came to the offense. Miami racked up 26.1 points on average per week between the sixth and 16th weeks of the season.
One of their biggest victories was the 30-15 takedown of the Steelers at home. Jay Ajayi made a name for himself in that contest as he scored a pair of touchdowns and chipped in with 204 big yards on his 25 rushes. Ajayi had the league’s fourth-best 1,272 yards on the ground this season and scored eight touchdowns. However, if there is a knock against him it could be lack of consistency. He broke the 100-yard barrier only four times during the campaign, but managed to break the 200-yard mark twice as he also achieved the feat against Buffalo in week 16. With starting quarterback Ryan Tannehill on the shelf, Matt Moore replaced him for three games and has been averaging 225 yards in the air with a 63 per cent completion rate with eight touchdowns and a trio of interceptions.
Pittsburgh Steelers – A Closer Look:
The Pittsburgh Steelers are entering the playoffs on a hot streak with seven consecutive wins under their bet including a couple of big comeback wins to clinch their division. They averaged 24.9 points per game this season why allowing an average of 20.4 against. With the AFC North already wrapped up they decided to rest Le’Veon Bell, Antonio Brown and quarterback Ben Roethlisberger against Cleveland last week. Bell was held in check against Miami earlier in the campaign when he ran for only 53 yards in the Steelers’ 30-15 defeat. It was his second-worst output of the year.
Bell has been hot lately though and he’ll be up against the Dolphins’ run defense which ranks 22nd in the league by allowing an average of 114 yards against per contest. Between week 11 and week 16 Bell managed to run for a total of 835 yards. Roethlisberger didn’t play well against the Dolphins either as he was picked off twice, threw just one touchdown pass and gained only 189 yards by completing 19 of his 34 attempts. Big Ben’s been inconsistent recently with half a dozen pickoffs in his last four outings. He’s usually there when need the most though. Pittsburgh has gone 4-1 at home in their past five postseason outings, but lost their last encounter to Baltimore in 2014.
by Ian S. Palmer