A reader asks:
The last time these two teams faced each other the Steelers won 3-0. Should we expect a similar outcome on Sunday? Which is the better team?
Ah, the famous Mud Bowl. I remember that game quite well as it was some of the most awful, sloppy, meaningless football I've ever seen. And yet it was still a very exciting game to watch because everyone knew the game would come down to a single positive play, but no one knew when it would come and everyone knew there would be only one such play. It was like Russian roulette, but instead of a bullet there was a non-botched field goal. Amazingly, it took almost all sixty minutes in regulation to get to that one play.
So unless there is a torrential downpour in Miami on Sunday and the team absolutely botches its field management like the Steelers did in 2007 (seriously Pittsburgh, you're going to truck in new sod and just lay it down on top of the old crap the night before the game and hope that it doesn't turn into a giant swamp?), this game won't be like that one.
In fact, I'm fairly confident that Miami's defense couldn't hold any team in the league to just three points right now.
The Steelers are flat-out the better team. Sure, Miami's running game is better than theirs. As is their special teams. But Pittsburgh's dug themselves out of a five-game losing streak, their passing game is on fire, and Miami's secondary will be hard-pressed to slow it down enough to give the offense a chance to keep the team in the game.
I'm picking the Steelers to win. My season record predicting the Dolphins is 10-5.
Although Miami is not mathematically eliminated from the playoffs, their chances are microscopic. But hey, as long as they aren't officially out, I won't count them out.