Miami Dolphins (10-6) at Pittsburgh Steelers (11-5), Sunday Jan. 8 1:05 PM ET
Line: Steelers -10
Earlier this season, the Dolphins beat the Steelers 30-15. Now, Miami is a 10-point underdog in the playoffs. Can lightning strike twice? Maybe in Florida, where there is a lot of lightning, but probably not in Pittsburgh.
Adam Gase got the Dolphins into the playoffs in his first year as head coach. However, it’s really the schedule that got Miami here. The Dolphins had arguably the league’s easiest schedule. They got to play the Jets and Bills twice, not to mention the Browns, Rams, and 49ers. They aren’t a bad team, but they are perhaps a bit lucky to be here. Even so, they just eked into the playoffs as the sixth seed. On top of that, Ryan Tannehill hasn’t played in a few weeks, and he’s questionable for this game, and Jay Ajayi is also questionable. When they decided it was a good idea to give Ajayi the ball, Miami’s offense picked it up a bit. He finished with 1,272 yards and eight touchdowns rushing. Of course, Pittsburgh’s Le’Veon Bell ran for 1,268 yards and seven touchdowns, and he missed a few games. Oh, and he caught 75 passes for 616 yards, too. Antonio Brown notched 106 catches for 1,284 yards and 12 touchdowns. Ben Roethlisberger is still Ben Roethlisberger. You would be hard-pressed to find a more impressive trio in the league.
Yes, the Dolphins beat the Steelers earlier this season, but that’s just one game. Also, that game was in Miami, and Ajayi rushed for 204 yards, which isn’t likely to happen again. Miami might make a game of it, but that seems likely to be the best they can hope for here. Unless it’s 70 and sunny in Pittsburgh in January, but let’s not count on that.
Prediction: Steelers 34, Dolphins 24
Jay Ajayi, RB Questionable
Byron Maxwell, CB Questionable
Ryan Tannehill, QB Questionable
Mario Williams, DE Questionable
Jelani Jenkins, LB Questionable
Robert Golden, S Questionable
Stephon Tuitt, DE Questionable
Ladarius Green, TE Questionable
Javon Hargrave, DT Questionable
Ricardo Mathews, DE Questionable