Free NFL Picks: Pittsburgh at Miami 10-24-2010

October 21, 2010


Pittsburgh Steelers at Miami Dolphins

Sunday October 24th, 2010 1:00 PM EST

Line: Pittsburgh -3


The 4-1 Steelers are widely considered the best team in football right now. The 3-2 Dolphins are seeking a victory after knocking off Green Bay last week in overtime. The game is in Miami and the Dolphins are have the confidence to take on anyone. A win against Pittsburgh would be the perfect way to start their AFC North stint against the Steelers, Ravens and Bengals in succession.

Keys to the Game:

  • The Pittsburgh defense holds their opponent to 63.6 yards a game on the ground. The Dolphins are not going to be able to change that pattern. The Steelers are finally healthy. It seems like every year there are injuries all over their defense. This year, the whole defense is healthy and ready to go. If you were going to build a nose tackle to play in a 3-4 scheme, it would be Casey Hampton. The immovable man who has surprising quickness. Hampton is the prototypical two gapper. He keeps the o-line busy and allows his linebackers to make reads without the hassel of shedding blocks. Pittsburgh has the luxury of having four, Pro Bowl caliber linebackers, who all have a screw loose. James Farrior, James Harrison, Lamar Woodley, and Lawrence Timmons are the most ferocious linebacker corp in the league. Running backs have been completely shut down. The Steelers are a run stopping defense. Once you let the offense realize there is no way they are going to be able to run the ball, the offense becomes one dimensional. That is always a good thing, as the Steelers can become scary when they pin their ears back.
  • Would you like some cheese with that whine James Harrison. The NFL is cracking down on helmet to helmet hits, so you consider retiring after you get slapped with a fine? You don’t know if you can be effective with the rules that are in place? Sure you can. You were the defensive player of the year. You don’t have to lose your intensity entirely. Watch the high hits when you can and go play football. Retiring when your team might be on a Super Bowl run is selfish. I’m calling Harrison’s bluff here. He isn’t teaching the NFL a lesson by saying he is considering retiring, he is hurting his team.
  • Chad Henne is going to have to step up. Colt McCoy fared considerably well in his first start. He made some mistakes, but he held his own and didn’t get yanked, which is more than I expected from the rookie. Chad Henne has a big time receiver in Brandon Marshall that can bail him out, but it is going to be a challenge for him to get the ball out of his hand. Once the Dolphins realize they can’t run the ball, and they will, the Steelers will be able to focus completely on the pass. They are a tough team to read, because they have the ability to drop anyone back into coverage, as well as the ability to blitz anyone. Marshall is leaving too many passes on the field, but he could step up and have a big day. He is going to have to have at least ten catches to make a big enough impact for his team to come away with a win.
  • Ben Roethlisberger didn’t take long to adapt. The offense never changed their identity. They are still a physical, smash mouth offense. The difference is their playbook just doubled. They became more versatile. They have a true leader for their offense to look to. The Steelers could be a serious contender. The Dolphins aren’t too bad on defense either. Cameron Wake is turning heads all over the league. The Steelers will look to neutralize Wake’s pass rush by establishing a solid ground game early.

Wrap Up:

The Dolphins don’t impress me. They were blown out by the Jets and Patriots at home. They beat a Packers team that was riddled with injuries. I’m not jumping on the bandwagon yet. This one is not going to be close as long as Harrison decides to keep playing.

Free NFL Pick: Pittsburgh -3

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