Written by Chad Hahn
The Pittsburgh Steelers host the visiting Miami Dolphins in a prime time matchup on Monday night. The Steelers come into the game-winning it’s last two games and has a record of 2-4. The Dolphins come into this game with an 0-6 record but steadily improving the last two games. With a week to recuperate after the bye and still in the thick of things in the AFC North, the Pittsburgh Steelers are heavily favored over the Miami Dolphins this week on Monday Night Football. After opening as 16.5 point favorites, Mike Tomlin’s team is now 14 point favorites.
The Steelers can get back in the playoff conversation with a victory on Monday night. The expected return of second-year quarterback Mason Rudolph after missing last game because from a concussion suffered by a hit from Ravens safety Earl Thomas is a much needed boost to the offense.
One matchup that is intriguing is wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster versus cornerback Xavien Howard as he is expected back from missing the last two games due to knee soreness. Getting Howard back would be a huge boost to the Dolphins — Miami expected to see Howard back on the field in Week 7 versus Buffalo but he was a surprise scratch, apparently feeling some knee soreness during pregame warm-ups that prompted the Dolphins, with little on the line, to leave nothing to chance.
Having Howard to match-up with WR Juju Smith-Schuster would be a big win for the Dolphins in their efforts to upset the Steelers at home and nab their first victory of the 2019 season. Another key player for the Dolphins is starting quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick as last time he played on Monday Night versus the Steeper’s was last year where he threw for 411 yards and 3 scores. His energy has lifted this team the past two games and it wouldn’t shock me if “FitzMagic” would appear in grand fashion in this game.
Another player to watch is second-year player Minkah Fitzpatrick. Fitzpatrick was traded to the Steelers earlier this year from the Dolphins after Minkah requested a trade to the front office as he wanted to focus on two positions instead of five or sixth that coach Brian Flores wanted him too. Flores believes in full flexibility in his defense and Minkah simply didn’t think his skills would be best suited in this scheme. Do the Dolphins go after Minkah in this game? Does Minkah show too much emotion in seeing his old uniforms across the field?
I do believe the Dolphins will pull out all stops to win this prime time game as they do hold the Steelers first round pick in next year’s draft so beating the Steelers would help their draft position in regards to the pick transferred in that deal that landed Minkah to the Steelers. Is that enough to fuel the Dolphins to their first win? We will find out.