Miami Dolphins vs Pittsburgh Steelers: Predictions and Odds (NFL Week 8)
My prediction for the final score is Steelers 27, Dolphins 10.
How to Watch: Dolphins vs Steelers
What: Miami Dolphins at Pittsburgh Steelers
When: Monday Night Football, October 28 at 8:15 pm ET
Where: Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
How (TV): ESPN
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Latest point spread: Dolphins +13.5, Steelers -13.5
The Week 8 Monday Night Football matchup has the potential to be a runaway snoozer, mostly because the winless Miami Dolphins are playing against a Pittsburgh Steelers team that is without most of its bigtime veteran playmakers and appear to be reeling.
The Dolphins have yet to win (though they’ve come close a couple of times) and look like a team in the onset of a rebuild, whereas the Steelers have plenty of young talent, enough to battle for the AFC North, at least, but right now they are in the midst of transitioning their roster.
With Pittsburgh favored by almost two touchdowns and Miami the team most likely to fold, let’s take a quick look at how these two teams measure up against each other for their Week 8 Monday night encounter.
Be sure to also check out our Week 8 Power Rankings!
The 0-6-0 Miami Dolphins
Here’s a sad sentence that this winless AFC East team has heard every week this season but the first one – the banged-up Miami Dolphins are coming off a loss and are looking forward to their first 2019 victory.
With quarterback co-starter Josh Rosen listed as questionable for Week 8 (see below), it looks like it could up to journeyman Ryan “Fitzmagic” Fitzpatrick to find the Miami Dolphins’ first win of the 2019 season, but I wouldn’t bet on it since the man so far has thrown more picks (5) than TDs (3).
Head coach Brian Flores is most likely NOT on the hot seat for this season (he inherited most of this mess) but it would benefit he and his Dolphins to lose as many games as possible this season (if not all of them) in order to get the first overall draft pick next offseason.
The 2-4-0 Pittsburgh Steelers
The 2-4 Pittsburgh Steelers are as healthy as an NFL team can be (except for one major injury situation – their starting franchise Super Bowl MVP quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is out for the season) but backup Mason Rudolph seems capable of getting the job done, as does his likable backup, Devlin “Duck” Hodges.
The Pittsburgh players are well-rested coming off a Week 7 bye, which followed their Week 6 win over the Los Angeles Chargers, so these Steelers are eager to get back to it, especially against a Miami Dolphins team that looks entirely beatable.
The Steelers have not looked like themselves this season (mostly because they lost all of their veteran playmakers), but against the Chargers their were glimpses of what they are capable of, and there is no better team to build your confidence up against than the 2019 Miami Dolphins in front of a national audience.
What’s at Stake: Dolphins vs Steelers
These two divisional rivals have met 27 total times (including 4 postseason games), with Pittsburgh winning 14 of those times and Miami winning the other 13 games.
These two historically even matched AFC teams met last in the 2016-17 wildcard playoffs, when the Steelers beat the Dolphins, 30-12, in Pittsburgh
If the Dolphins win this matchup, they’ll move to 1-6-0 and practically ruin their chance at the first overall draft pick next offseason, and they will still stay at the very bottom of the AFC East.
But if the Steelers come out winners in this one, they’ll be 3-4 and begin their gradual chase of the 5-2 Baltimore Ravens, now leading in the AFC North and with a bye in Week 8.
Questions to Answer
Who’s favored to win this Week 8 Dolphins-Steelers matchup?
Which team has a better offense? Defense? Special teams?
Which team’s quarterback is more likely to lead his team to victory?
We’re going to briefly compare the Dolphins and the Steelers next and attempt to answer those questions and more.
Offensive Stats Comparison
Miami Dolphins Overall Offense
- Ranked 31st overall in 2018
- Ranked 31st overall in 2019
Passing attack: The Miami Dolphins have the 30th ranked passing offense in the league right now, averaging 192.0 yards per game through the air after seven weeks.
Quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick is currently under center in Miami and ranked the 30th most productive passer in the league having completed 62-of-105 passes for 717 yards and 3 touchdowns with 5 interceptions and a completion percentage of 59.0.
The Dolphins’ leading receiver after seven weeks is Preston Williams, who is currently ranked 53rd in the league with 23 catches for 314 yards and 1 touchdown.
Rushing attack: The Dolphins’ rushing attack is ranked 31st in the NFL after averaging 66.7 yards on the ground per game.
Kenyan Drake is the Dolphins’ best runner and he is currently the 49th best in the NFL with 47 carries for 174 yards and 0 rushing touchdowns, averaging 3.7 yards per carry.
Miami has scored 63 total points this season, or 10.5 per game, which is the T-31st best total (meaning worst) in the NFL.
Miami Offensive Injuries
Listed as questionable for Week 8: quarterback Josh Rosen (neck), center Daniel Kilgore (knee) and offensive guard Shaq Calhoun (illness).
Injury notes: wide receiver Ricardo Louis (knee), offensive tackle Julien Davenport (knee) and offensive guard Danny Isidora (foot) have been placed on injured reserve.
Pittsburgh Steelers Overall Offense
- Ranked 4th overall in 2018
- Ranked 28th overall in 2019
Passing attack: Pittsburgh has the 28th best passing attack in the league right now after averaging 200.0 yards through the air each game.
Quarterback Mason Rudolph is the 31st most productive NFL passer after completing 63-of-94 passes for 646 yards and 7 touchdowns with 2 interceptions and a completion percentage of 67.0.
The Steelers’ best receiver is currently Juju Smith-Schuster (listed as questionable for Week 8, see below), who has caught 25passes for 340 yards with 2 touchdowns in seven weeks, ranked 44th among NFL receivers right now.
Rushing attack: Pittsburgh has the 26th ranked rushing attack, so far averaging 76.5 yards on the ground per game.
James Conner is the Steelers’ best runner and now he is the 39th most productive in the NFL with 74 carries for 235 yards and 3 touchdowns, averaging 3.2 yards per carry.
Pittsburgh has scored 123 points in 2019, averaging 20.5 per game, which is currently the 23rd highest scoring average in the NFL.
Pittsburgh Offensive Injuries
Listed as questionable for Week 8: wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster (illness).
Injury notes: quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (elbow) has been placed on injured reserve.
Offensive Advantage: Dolphins vs Steelers
The Pittsburgh Steelers may not be as good offensively as they have been historically, but they are better than the Miami Dolphins across the board, so they have the definite offensive advantage on Monday night.
Defensive Stats Comparison
Miami Dolphins Overall Defense
- Ranked 29th overall in 2018
- Ranked 30th overall in 2019
Pass coverage: The Dolphins have the 22nd best pass defense in 2019 so far, allowing opponents to throw for 256.5 yards through the air per game.
Miami’s defense has 1 team inerception and they have 7 sacks total.
Run coverage: The Dolphins are the 31st best (or second worst) NFL team against the run right now after allowing opponents to run for 160.8 yards per game.
Miami has allowed their opponents to score 211 total points, or 35.2 per game, which is the most in the NFL.
Dolphins Defensive Players to Watch
In terms of Dolphin defensive bright spots, check out Miami outside linebacker Jerome Baker, who has 38 total tackles, a pass defended and two quarterback hits.
The biggest threat to whoever is under center for Pittsburgh is Miami defensive end Taco Charlton, who has 3.0 sacks and 4 quarterback hits, plus 16 total tackles (3 for a loss).
Dolphins’ strong safety Bobby McCain has the team’s only interception, plus he has 2 passes defended and 17 total tackles.
Dolphins Defensive Injuries
Listed as questionable for Week 8: linebacker Trent Harris (foot), cornerbacks Xavien Howard (knee), Chris Lammons (ankle) and Ken Webster (illness), safety Reshad Jones (chest) and safety Bobby McCain (shoulder – AC joint) and defensive end Avery Moss (leg).
Injury notes: defensive end Robert Nkemdiche (knee – ACL), cornerback Cordrea Tankersley (knee – ACL) and linebacker Mike Hull (undisclosed) are listed as PUP-R, defensive tackle Kendrick Norton (arm) is listed as NFI, while defensive ends Jonathan Ledbetter (ankle) and Jonathan Woodard (undisclosed), linebackers Andrew Van Ginkel (foot) and James Crawford (knee) have been placed on injured reserve.
Pittsburgh Steelers Overall Defense
- Ranked 6th overall in 2018
- Ranked 15th overall in 2019
Pass coverage: The Steelers’ defense is 18th best against the pass, allowing their opponents to throw for an average of 244.2 yards per matchup.
Pittsburgh’s defense has 8 interceptions on opposing quarterbacks and they have 20 total sacks after seven weeks.
Run coverage: The Steelers are 18th best against a rushing attack, allowing opponents to run for an average of 110.2 yards per game.
Pittsburgh has allowed their opponents to score 131 total points this season, or 21.8 per matchup, which is 14th fewest in the NFL.
Steelers Defensive Players to Watch
Rookie linebacker Devin Bush is everything as promised, the new guy already tied for the 26th most tackles in the league with 52 of them (for a loss), plus he has intercepted 2 passes, defended 5 passes, sacked a quarterback and recovered 4 fumbles.
One of the best outside linebackers in the league plays for Pittsburgh, T.J. Watt, and as usually the guy’s been busy, so far with 4.0 sacks, quarterback hits, an interception, 4 passes defended, 2 fumble recoveries, a forced fumble and 20 total tackles.
One of the Steelers’ surprising midseason acquisitions is paying off, and that’s free safety Minkah Fitzpatrick, who has an interception, a quarterback hit, 4 passes defended, a forced fumble and 21 total tackles, and given that he was the Dolphins’ first round pick in 2018, this will be a fun reunion to watch.
Steelers Defensive Injuries
Listed as questionable for Week 8: linebacker T.J. Watt (abdomen).
Injury notes: linebacker Anthony Chickillo (personal) is listed as OUT, while linebacker Ryan Shazier (spine) is listed as PUP-R, while defensive ends Lavon Hooks (Achilles) and Stephon Tuitt (pectoral) and safety Sean Davis (shoulder – Labrum) have been placed on injured reserve.
Defensive Advantage: Dolphins vs Steelers
The Steelers are better against the pass, the run, have more picks and sacks than the Dolphins, so they are definitely with the defensive advantage on Monday night.
Special Teams Stats Comparison
Miami’s punter, Matt Haack, is in his third NFL season, all with the Dolphins, and so far this season he has punted 31 times for a net average of 43.2 yards per punt, which was the T-8th best in the league.
Pittsburgh’s punter, Jordan Berry, is in his fifth NFL season, and this year he has punted 26 times for a net average of 41.5 yards per punt, T-19th best in the league.
Miami’s placekicker, Jason Sanders, is in his second NFL season, both with the Dolphins.
Sanders is 5-of-8 this season, his longest a 54-yarder, and he missed zero extra point attempts (6/6).
Pittsburgh’s placekicker Chris Boswell is a former Pro Bowler and is in his fifth season with the Steelers.
Boswell is 11-for-11 this season, his longest a 49-yarder, and he has missed no extra point attempts (12/12).
Miami’s most recent punt returner has been wide receiver Preston Williams, who is ranked 6th in average punt return yardage this season.
Williams has returned 5 punt for 61 yards, averaging 12.2 yards per return, his longest for 21 yards.
Pittsburgh’s punt returner, wide receiver Ryan Switzer, is ranked 32nd in punt return average this season.
Switzer has returned 5 punts for 28 yards and no touchdowns, averaging 5.6 yards per return, his longest for 13 yards.
Special Teams Advantage: Dolphins vs Steelers
The team with the placekicker who has yet to miss a kick has the special teams advantage on Monday night, and that’s (once again) the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Final Game Analysis
Why Will the Dolphins Win this Game?
For the Dolphins to win, Fitzpatrick has to eliminate his nasty habit of throwing more interceptions than touchdowns interceptions (3 TDs, 5 INTs in 2019), not an easy feat against the Steelers, who are tied for second most takeaways in the league.
The Dolphins will only win this game if the Steelers hand it to them by giving them the ball (fumbles, interceptions and punts, oh my) and it’s still unclear if Miami even wants that to happen.
No professional athlete likes to lose, so expect these Dolphins to give it their best, but right now they are so clueless on the field that at this point a victory, especially on the road in a stadium known for its noise, would most likely shock them more than anyone else in the football world.
Why Will the Steelers Win this Game?
The Pittsburgh Steelers will win this game by getting after whoever starts under center for Miami (they already have 20 sacks, T-6th most in the NFL), because their O-line is weak and that will lead to quarterback mistakes that the Steelers’ secondary can take advantage of.
The Steelers will win big if they play smart – keep the turnovers and penalties to a minimum and play solid enough defense to keep the Dolphins out of the end zone, the basic ‘not losing’ strategy used to beat a team that has no chance of winning.
The key to victory for the Steelers on Monday night is for head coach Mike Tomlin to inspire them to play these Dolphins like it’s the Super Bowl, otherwise bad things could happen with underestimating this one and a loss in front of a national audience to Miami would be a tough one to get over.
This Game Goes to the
The Pittsburgh Steelers by 17 points, because they are a far better team on their home turf, healthy and rested – what could go wrong?
John Breech of CBS Sports predicts the score as Steelers 20, Dolphins 16.
My prediction for the final score is Steelers 27, Dolphins 10.
Miami Dolphins vs Pittsburgh Steelers – Game Odds
|Sportsbook||MIA Dolphins||PIT Steelers|
|Sportsbook||MIA Dolphins +14||PIT Steelers -14|