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Monday Night Open Thread: Dolphins at Steelers

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Miami Dolphins (0-10) at Pittsburgh Steelers (7-3)
Monday, November 26
8:30 pm EST, ESPN
Heinz Field
Rain, 51 degrees
Line: Steelers -16, Over/Under 41

Team Offensive Rankings

Dolphins - 22nd total offense (303.2), 15th rush offense (115.2), 24th pass offense (188), 23rd scoring offense (18.3)

Steelers - 10th total offense (348.3), 2nd rush offense (147.5), 20th pass offense (200.8), 6th scoring offense (26.9)

Team Defensive Rankings

Dolphins - 20th total defense (336), 32nd rush defense (154.9), 4th pass defense (181.1), 30th scoring defense (27.4)

Steelers - 1st total defense (236.2), 3rd rush defense (79.9), 1st pass defense (156.3), 1st scoring defense (14.5)

Today's Inactives

Dolphins: RB Lorenzo Booker, WR Kerry Reed, S Jereme Perry, S Tuff Harris, LB Zach Thomas, DE Matt Roth, DE Rob Ninkovich, and DT Anthony Bryant

Steelers: WR Santonio Holmes, QB Brian St. Pierre, OL Darnell Stapleton, RB Gary Russell, LB LaMarr Woodley, OT Marvel Smith, C Marvin Philip, and SS Troy Polamalu

3 Absolute Keys to the Game

1. Contain Willie Parker. He's what the Steelers use to base their entire offense off of. Making the Steelers one dimensional is a good way to slow them down and force turnovers. But if Parker has running room, that opens up the field for Ben Roethlisberger and company.

2. Sustain long drives. The best way to pull off upsets, especially on the road, is to keep your defense on the field. The Dolphins must be able to run the ball effectively, as that's the best way to sustain long drives. If Miami's defense is forced on the field as much as they were last week, they will once again wear down late in the game.

3. Make big plays. When you're a big underdog, you need to make things happen. Considering the Dolphins have nothing to play for, let's see some vertical passes. Let's see a little trickery. Maybe Teddy can bust a big return again. These kinds of plays are what allow big-time underdogs pull off upsets.

Ricky Update

You guys have pointed this out already, but incase some people don't check out the comments, here's the link to Armando Salguero's article which states that Ricky Williams is scheduled to start. I'd imagine this likely means Jesse Chatman will be inactive because of the ankle injury. It will be exciting to see Slick Rick out there in a Dolphins uniform once again. Now let's get that first win!

Ricky Update #2

Armando Salguero has updated his report about Ricky, now saying that Jesse Chatman has been telling coaches he feels much better and wants to play. Who knows what effect this will have on Cam's plans. I'd imagine Jesse will be a gametime decision and the coaching staff will likely decide when they see Chatman hit the field prior to the game. Either way, though, it's expected Ricky will still see some action. Williams was indeed activated this afternoon, with Samkon Gado being waived. So now we sit and wait until we see the official inactives list, usually out around an hour before kickoff.

Ricky Update #3

It seems as though Jesse Chatman will start tonight. I guess we had a miracle occur over the weekend. Good for Jesse. I'm still expect Ricky to get at least 10 touches considering the field condition.

Prediction: Again, I think the Dolphins can keep it close until late in the 2nd half, when the Steelers will pull away. Steelers win 26-17.


**UPDATE**: ESPN just reported that the game has been delayed until 9 pm because of lightning. Also, the field will be in terrible condition thanks to the assholes who decided to put the new sod down on top of the old playing surface. Now the water from the heavy rain has to go through 2 levels of sod to drain. This is going to be an ugly game likely to be loaded with slips, fumbles, and god knows what else.

**FINAL UPDATE**: Ouch! Recap coming later tonight.