Steelers: Week 6 Preview vs. Miami
The Pittsburgh Steelers have been rolling ever since their Week 3 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles. Battling through adversity week after week, the Steelers are on top of the AFC North with a 4-1 record.
A trip to Miami for a date with the Dolphins is this week’s challenge—their second of three straight against AFC East opponents. Miami is currently 1-4, and struggling to find its identity. A little house cleaning this week was done in an effort to turn things around—the Dolphins are at or toward the bottom of the league in most statistical categories.
Despite the difference between the two teams from a record and production standpoint, there is one glaring comparison—injuries.
The Dolphins and Steelers have both had their share of injuries in the early stages of the season. Pittsburgh has already had 25 players miss time. Miami was missing seven starters when it hosted Tennessee last week.
Most recently, Cameron Heyward has been added to the list—he will not play Sunday—snapping a steak of 85 straight games he has played. But, the show must go on.
“It’s the next man up,” linebacker Jarvis Jones said. “Coach Tomlin is really serious about it. Guys take pride when they’re the next man up.”
The ‘next man up’ attitude is an understanding, but according to linebacker Vince Williams, nobody on the team is a backup.
“Nobody on this team believes they are a backup,” he said. “Everybody just believes they are waiting for their opportunity to put their hand in the pile and help this team win football games.”
The absence of Heyward leads to an increased effort from Ricardo Mathews, and a potential mix of Javon Hargrave and L.T. Walton.
With the health of Miami’s offensive line in question, a combination of different looks should shore up some lanes for the linebackers.
While the Steelers have made their mark through the air this season, Sunday might be Le’Veon Bell’s day to shine—not that he hasn’t been already. He has accounted for 432 offensive yards in three games, and is averaging 105 rushing yards per game. Miami has the NFL’s worst rushing defense at 150.8 yards per game, and allowed 235 rushing yards against the Titans.
After a career game against the Jets, six receptions, 139 yards and two touchdowns, Sammie Coates suffered a laceration on his hand and is questionable for the game. Meaning Eli Rogers, fresh off an injury of his own, could see an influx in his participation, especially with Markus Wheaton out with an injury as well. Cobi Hamilton is a candidate for possible playing time as well. The practice squad receiver worked out with the first team on Thursday.
Pittsburgh is 1-1 on the road, while Miami is 1-1 at home. Kickoff is at 1 p.m.
Chris Galiszewski is the lead writer for the Pittsburgh Steelers at PFS. Follow him on twitter @cgaliszewski