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Old 09-05-2006, 12:34 PM   #1
darnik44
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Default Dolphins v.s. Steelers Preview

v.s.

Miami Dolphins v.s. Pittsburgh Steelers
Thursday September 7, 2006 (8:30 p.m.)

Thursday will mark the beginning of the 2006 NFL football season when the Miami Dolphins travel to Pittsburgh to take on the Steelers at 8:30 p.m. at Heinz Field.

The Steelers will begin their title defense against a much improved Dolphins team from a year ago. The Steelers are forced to start the season without starting quarterback Ben Roethlisberger who had to undergo emergency appendectomy surgery late last week. Calling the signals for the Steelers on Thursday will be veteran back-up Charlie Batch. The play of Batch will play a major role in the outcome of the game. I don?t expect the Steelers to ask Batch to do much, other than limit his mistakes. The Steelers will attemp to control the game and slow down the tempo. This should mean a heavy work load for running back Willie Parker. I wouldn?t be surprised to see Parker near the thirty carry mark. In addition look for him to catch the ball out of the backfield 2-3 times as well. On Defense I?m sure the Dolphins will put eight men in the box in attemp to force Batch to throw the ball. This game will certainly be won or lost in the trenches for the Steelers.

For the Dolphins, they will get a chance early to see what they have in new quarterback Dante Culpepper. Contrary to the Steelers, the Dolphins will want to throw the ball and make the game a shoot out. I expect to see Culpepper throw the ball 45+ times. The stingy run defense is of the Steelers has been well documented, but so has the loss of Chris Hope at free safety. The loss of Hope creates a bit of a hole at the position, and weakens the pass defense. This may also limit strong safety Troy Polamalu?s ability to do what he does best, play all over the field. Expect the Dolphins to try to exploit new starter Ryan Clark.

OUTLOOK:
This game could come down to who can hold onto the ball. Turnover could paly a major role. Special teams play could also be a deciding factor. I expect it to be a low scoring affair. The Steelers will be pumped up and the crowd will be electric. The noise could play a factor when the Dolphins have the ball.

KEYS TO THE GAME:

Steelers:
-Run the ball effectively, and control the clock
-Limit mistakes at the quarterback position
-Contain the Dolphins passing attack

Dolphins:
-Stop the Steelers running game
-Exploit the Steelers pass defense
-Take the crowd out of the game

PREDICTION:
Steelers 16 Dolphins 14

FANTASY OUTLOOK:

Quarterbacks:
Charlie Batch 12-19 160 yards 0 TD 1 Int
Dante Culpepper 25-45 260 yards 2 TD 1 Int

Runningbacks:
Willie Parker 28-126 1 TD (rushing); 2-30 0TD (receiving)
Ronnie Brown 15-60 0 TD (rushing); 2-20 0 TD (receiving)

Wide Receivers:
Hines Ward 4-60 0 TD
Cedric Wilson 2-25 0 TD
Santonio Holmes 2-15 0 TD
Chris Chambers 9-115 2 TD
Marty Booker 4-45 0 TD
Wes Welker 4-50

Tight Ends:
Heath Miller 2-30 0 TD
Randy McMichael 4-30

Kickers:
Jeff Reed 1XP, 3FG
Olindo Mare 2 XP
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