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Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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The Huddle
~ 2009 ~
Season Ticket
Late Sunday

Prediction: PIT 24, MIA 13

Upate: Ricky Williams is limited in practice and the best case scenario is that he will not take a full load. I am lowering his projections and he'll be a risky start this week.

The Steelers have won their last two games and now just need to win this and have help from the Texans, Jets and/or Ravens lose their games. The Dolphins merely need a win here and then losses by the Jets, Ravens, Texans and Jaguars and they are in. But the Jets face the Bengals who may rest players and the Ravens play the Raiders. Both those teams win their favored games and nothing else matters. But both squads here will be going full tilt in this game. The Steelers are only 2-5 on the road and the Dolphins are 4-3 at home.

Pittsburgh Steelers (8-7)
Homefield: Heinz Field
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 TEN 13-10 -5 37
2 @CHI 14-17 -3 37.5
3 @CIN 20-23 -4.5 37
4 SD 38-28 -6.5 43
5 @DET 28-20 -10.5 44
6 CLE 27-14 -14 38
7 MIN 27-17 -6 46.5
8 BYE - - -
9 @DEN 28-10 -3 39
10 CIN 12-18 -7 41
11 @KC 24-27 -10.5 39.5
12 @BAL 17-20 +6 20
13 OAK 24-27 -14.5 37
14 @CLE 6-13 -10 34
15 GB 37-36 -2.5 41.5
16 BAL 23-20 -3 43
17 @MIA - -3 46.5
PIT at MIA Rush Catch Pass
QB Ben Roethlisberger     260,2
RB R. Mendenhall 50,1 20  
TE Heath Miller   30  
WR Hines Ward   60  
WR Santonio Holmes   90,1  
WR Mike Wallace   50,1  
PK Jeff Reed 1 FG 3 XP  

Pregame Notes: The fear here is that the Steelers have lost their last three road games and even with a win here, the previous NFL Champs are no lock to play in January. But all they can do is win and face a Dolphins team that has lost their last two games. Troy Polamalu could be back this week and would be a huge upgrade if healthy.

Quarterback: Ben Roethlisberger is ending up a career best season for yardage with 4108 yards already though his 23 touchdowns trail his best by nine scores. He has already had five 300 yard games and now gets to face the #28 defense against quarterbacks.

Every visitor to Miami has passed for at least one touchdown and more than half have scored multiple times. The Fins have already allowed five games of 300+ yards. Look for Roethlisberger to attack them via the pass and have some success with at least two touchdowns and healthy yardage.

Running Backs: Rashard Mendenhall has been all over the map from week to week but has scored in three of the last four games and adds in yardage as a receiver. The Dolphins have given up seven scores to visiting runners already though none have eclipsed the century mark there. Expect a decent showing by Mendenhall with a chance for one score but only moderate yardage.

Wide Receivers: The big yardage year by Roethlisberger has made this one of the most productive units in the NFL. Hines Ward has 87 catches for 1106 yards and six touchdowns and Santonio Holmes stands at 1243 yards and four touchdowns on 78 receptions. Even Mike Wallace has 692 yards and five scores from the slot.

The Fins at home have held wideouts to less than 80 yards in all but one instance but nine different receivers have scored on them there. That should favor Holmes to score the most though any of the three are almost equally as likely. Wallace should close out his rookie season with at least decent yardage in this game.

Tight Ends: Heath Miller has been solid this year with five touchdowns and seven games over 50 yards but he has not scored since week 11 and only once since week six. He's only reliable for moderate yardage.

Gaining Fantasy Points PIT 7 28 4 13 10 20
Preventing Fantasy Points MIA 28 9 16 19 28 16

Miami Dolphins (7-8)
Homefield: Dolphins Stadium
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 @ATL 7-19 +4 43.5
2 IND 23-27 +3 42
3 @SD 13-23 +6 42
4 BUF 38-10 +2.5 37
5 NYJ 31-27 +1.5 36.5
6 BYE - - -
7 NO 34-46 +6 48
8 @NYJ 30-25 +3.5 40
9 @NE 17-27 +10.5 47
10 TB 25-23 -10 43
11 @CAR 24-17 +3 43.5
12 @BUF 14-31 -3.5 38
13 NE 22-21 +4.5 46
14 @JAC 14-10 +3 43
15 @TEN 24-27 +4.5 42.5
16 HOU 20-27 -1 47
17 PIT - +3 46.5
MIA vs PIT Rush Catch Pass
QB Chad Henne     270,1
RB Ricky Williams 50 10  
WR Brian Hartline   60,1  
WR Greg Camarillo   40  
WR Davone Bess   70  
PK Dan Carpenter 2 FG 1 XP  

Pregame Notes: The Fins need a highly improbable chain of events for them to reach the playoffs but at least the final game comes at home. The Dolphins have adjusted to a changing set of personnel most of the year. The loss of Ronnie Brown had a big effect and his eventual return from yet another knee surgery makes him even harder to rely on in 2010. More than anything, this is a chance to stop a two game losing streak as well.

Quarterback: Chad Henne took over for Chad Pennington in week four and he's been an adequate game manager. Henne has totaled 2738 yards and 11 touchdowns in 12 starts. But to his credit, Henne is only a second-year player and his first year as a starter has seen him throw for more than 300 yards in three of the last four games. But he still only averages about one score per week.

The Steelers have only been allowing around one score per opposing quarterback and never more than 289 yards in a road game. Look for the standard one score from Henne and decent to good yardage. Henne is improving.

Running Backs: Ricky Williams missed half of the loss to the Texans with a shoulder injury but says he will be back this week. In his place, Lex Hilliard scored twice and caught nine passes for 74 yards. Williams was on a very odd trend though where he has scored in the last five road games but never in the most recent three home games.

The problem for the Dolphins is that the Steelers bring the #1 defense against running backs and should hold Williams to only moderate yardage with a chance for one touchdown at most. This is a "pull no punches" matchup so I like WIlliams to score even if it is less in line with the Steelers history.

Wide Receivers: The Dolphins have cultivated a set of wideouts that have shown promise even if they have come from nowhere to be a starter. Davone Bess has been the most productive with 71 catches for 673 yards and Greg Camarillo is coming on in recent games now that his knee is completely healed. Brian Hartline may end up better than either and the rookie has already gained 472 yards on just 29 catches and scored a team high three touchdowns.

Basically, this is the same as the Steelers receivers only cut everything in half.

I like one passing score to end up here and Hartline should be the most likely to catch it.

Tight Ends: The Dolphins use both Anthony Fasano and Joey Haynos who have combined for five scores this year but neither ever have any appreciable yardage and there is no consistency or fantasy value here.

Gaining Fantasy Points MIA 26 3 20 26 12 18
Preventing Fantasy Points PIT 15 1 26 13 10 30

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