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Saturday, December 7, 2013
W2W4: Dolphins at Steelers

By James Walker

The Miami Dolphins (6-6) will play another crucial game Sunday, against the Pittsburgh Steelers (5-7).

Here are three things to watch for in this game from Miami's perspective:

1. Playoff attitude: Both the Dolphins and Steelers have not been afraid to say this game will have a playoff atmosphere. Neither team has a margin for error in this battle for the final wild-card spot in the AFC. Records and tiebreakers are at stake in this game. Pittsburgh, in particular, will probably see its playoff hopes end with a loss. Miami needs to win at least three of its next four games to have a chance.

2. Ball movement: Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill had perhaps his best game of the season in last week’s 23-3 victory against the New York Jets. What made Tannehill so effective was he spread the ball around. Tannehill connected with seven different receivers, and three (Brian Hartline, Mike Wallace and Charles Clay) had at least seven receptions. That made Miami’s pass offense unpredictable. The Dolphins have a chance to have further success against an aging Pittsburgh secondary.

3. Sack attack: Miami’s defense has been much better in recent weeks at sacking the quarterback. The Dolphins have 10 sacks in the past three games. They will need to finish those plays again on Sunday against Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. The burly quarterback is one of the best at shaking off defenders and extending plays for big gains. It will be important for Miami pass-rushers such as Cameron Wake, Olivier Vernon, Dion Jordan, and Jared Odrick to wrap up and bring Roethlisberger to the ground.