The Miami Dolphins search for their first win of the season at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh on Monday Night Football. They enter with a record of 0-6, as they continue on a collision course with the No. 1 pick in the NFL Draft. The Bengals and Dolphins are both winless teams, while the Falcons and Redskins have just 1 win each. It’s a battle down there at the bottom of the league. A race to the bottom that probably will be won by the Dolphins, but it’s fairly competitive with several dumpster fires. While the winless Bengals are terrible as well, they likely find a couple of wins in the final two months, though. At least they are somewhat trying.
The Dolphins and Bengals play each other in Week 16, so something will have to give if they still haven’t gotten a win. Other than the Bengals, the Dolphins have a couple of games against the Jets left on their schedule. While they’re going to be underdogs in both games, including at home in Miami next week, it’s the best chance for a win besides the Bengals in Week 16. If they don’t beat the Jets next week, they’re likely going into the Cincinnati game with no wins. The Jets are coming off a couple of bad games, so I’m sure they will be looking for somebody to beat up on to get back on track.
Miami hopes to make the winless Dolphins a moot point going forward tonight in Pittsburgh. Ryan Fitzpatrick will be back under center for the Dolphins. He’s appeared in five games and doing all that he can with what there is to work with on this roster. Fitzpatrick is a competitive guy who is going to give his all, but it’s awfully discouraging playing with this group in Miami.
Any player would be thrilled to get the call from their agent that a trade has been made. Kenyan Drake appears ready to get that call, as he and the Dolphins are preparing for a trade. Drake is expected to sit Monday out while he awaits a trade suitor. Drake hasn’t been great this season, but that could be a reflection of the team he’s playing on.
Mason Rudolph is expected to be back against the Dolphins after missing time following a nasty shot to the head against the Ravens on October 6th. Rudolph was playing reasonably well and seems to be right on pace with his development in Pittsburgh. The Steelers hope to ultimately usher Rudolph in as the starter quarterback to replace Ben Roethlisberger.
A big with a big accurate arm, Rudolph is on the right track. The Steelers might be best served to remove the training wheels off Rudolph and let him zip it downfield more often. JuJu Smith-Schuster exploding and living up to expectations as the No. 1 receiver would help immensely in that regard. He has been waiting for a breakout game in 2019, but it’s been tough sledding. Head below for our free Dolphins vs. Steelers pick on Monday Night Football to conclude Week 8.
Miami Dolphins vs. Pittsburgh Steelers NFL Week 8 Betting Odds:
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Dolphins vs. Steelers Pick:
Fitzpatrick has nothing to lose with the Dolphins this season. If we’re finding any kind of positive here for Fitzpatrick, it’s the fact that he is under zero pressure without any expectations to perform for the Dolphins. A bad game isn’t going to register much, as he continues to collect a paycheck for being the sacrificial lamb. The Harvard product has passed for 3 touchdowns and 5 interceptions with an abysmal 69.4 QB rating. He looked good in spots for the Buccaneers last season, but at this point in his career, Fitzpatrick has to get some help from others in the offense.
There isn’t much help to be had on the Dolphins, though. They are dead last with 10.5 points scored per game. The air and ground game have been equally bad. Miami are averaging just 66.7 yards running the football per contest. The Steelers are just okay against the run, with 110.2 yards allowed per game for 19th in the NFL. It’s hard to have much faith in the Dolphins exploiting their only hole defensively, however. With Drake not even taking the flight to Pittsburgh, the Dolphins will move Mark Walton and Kalen Ballage up the depth chart.
Wolton was drafted in 2018 and has only carried the ball 30 times this season. He earned 137 yards on those 30 carries for a pretty decent 4.6 yards per carry. A lot of that yardage is off prevent defenses and draws, though. I don’t think the second-year back is ready to carry the load for the Dolphins at Heinz Field. Ballage has taken 25 carries for 43 yards and 2 touchdowns at the goal line. The Dolphins will likely have to rely on Fitzpatrick to save them here.
Former Dolphin, Minkah Fitzpatrick, is going to be lurking in the secondary for the Steelers. Fitzpatrick will undoubtedly be jacked up to put on a show against his former employer. He wanted out and got his wish. There are others on that defense who have to be jealous of his move to Pittsburgh. The Miami defense has gotten shredded for 35.2 points against per game. They’ve been useless against the run, with 160.8 yards allowed per game for 31st in the NFL.
James Conner should be in for a big game on Monday night. His physical running style is not going to appreciated by a Dolphins’ defense who don’t want to be out there on the field. Also expect Rudolph to get right back into a groove, as he gets fortunate with a return start against the Dolphins. Rudolph and the Steelers have had two weeks to prepare for the Dolphins. They don’t need that much time, but it’s a positive as they welcome a Miami team playing consecutive road games. The Dolphins and Steelers haven’t played since 2017, which resulted in a 30-12 win for the Steelers in Miami. That’s probably a pretty accurate final score tonight as well.