Dolphins Gameplan: Quick passing attack a key to victory
When the Dolphins are on offense…
The good news for the Dolphins is that they rely on short and intermediate passes to keep their offense going. They only throw it deep a few times a game. This will help the Dolphins tomorrow in the elements. Tannehill will be able to snap the ball, get it out quickly, and won’t need to battle the wind, rain, and snow on deep passes. They will be able to continue what they have always done the entire season.
The Steelers defense is old and I expect them to wear down over the course of the game, especially if the Dolphins strike quickly, employ a no huddle offense, and keep the chains moving throughout the game. LaMarr Woodley, middle linebacker for the Steelers, is questionable with a calf injury. If he is out, that’s a huge blow to the middle of their field and I expect the Dolphins to expose that.
If Daniel Thomas comes back, that should be a boost to the offense because the Dolphins will need to be able to establish the run in these poor elements and especially because the Steelers have given up 4.1 yards per rushing attempt to opponents.
When the Dolphins are on special teams…
Antonio Brown is the punt returner for the Steelers and is very dangerous. He has three returns of 40 yards or more and is one of the top punt returners in the league. Brandon Fields will need to do a good job cornering him and not outkicking the coverage so the Dolphins could get a good containment on him.
Shaun Susham is 24 for 26 on field goal attempts this year and is very accurate. However, remember that it’s going to be rainy, snowy, and windy. This may have a big impact on his kicking game and we should hope that it does.
With that said, Caleb Sturgis has been struggling as of late. I expect the elements to have an impact on his game tomorrow. Heinz Field is notorious for wreaking havoc on kickers and tomorrow will be no different. If the Dolphins have to attempt a long field goal, we all need to pray and hold our breaths because it’s not going to be easy.
As far as the Steelers punt coverage, they rank 30th in the league in gross and net punting average. Hopefully there will be some good opportunities for Thigpen to break free and get a long gain and maybe even a touchdown.
The Bottom Line
This game is going to come down to Tannehill. He should be able to shred the Steelers secondary and put up a lot of yards. If he can do that while limiting his mistakes, the Dolphins should walk away with a victory. I actually expect the poor weather to help the Dolphins tomorrow as it plays to the strength of their passing game and hurts the Steelers offense. I predict that the Dolphins will win, 24 – 14.