Live from Miami, Steelergul is relaxed and happy reporting from South Beach for tomorrow’s game. But first, on a side note, if you haven’t stayed at the W South Beach, I highly recommend it.Â Great hotel. And right on the beach.Â Our suite is amazing.
Now back to football…
So, the Steeleers and the Phins.Â This is a tough game.Â Miami needs to make a statement more than the Steelers and I expect them to come out to play.Â They are also a tough, physical team with multiple weapons.Â I expect them to try to establish a running game against the Steelers, but that’s no small feat against the top rated run defense in the league.Â But they need to protect their quarterback.Â Henne has had great stats and he’s not afraid to air it out, BUT in the games where they have depended on the passing game, they have lost.Â Their run offense is ranked 19th and they aren’t a bad game.Â They will be expecting the blitzes and they will do everything they can to keep the Steelers defense on edge.
Problem is, probably won’t work.Â The Steelers defense has a chip on their shoulder this week with James Harrison being fined for his hit last week against the Brown’s Massaqoi.Â They have something to prove.Â The defense doesn’t play dirty, though that’s what the League would like people to believe, they play tough.Â And tough sells.Â It sells tickets, it sells clips, it sells photos – it sells, period.Â I expect the Steelers defense to play with all their heart and support their fellow player.Â And don’t forget, quietly, Lawrence Timmons is kicking butt against opposing teams offenses.Â Watch for Timmons to have a big day Sunday….
On offense, the Phins will try hard to get Ben on his back.Â They’ve had success sacking QBs this year, but most of those sacks have come against struggling teams, so I think the stats are skewed slightly.Â But I am not taking the Phins defense for granted.Â The Steelers offensive line will have to keep Cameron Wake away from Ben.Â To do that, they will likely have to give the guards some help, and I expect the Steelers to establish a run game pretty early. Koa Misi will also have to be accounted for and look for the Phins to blitz to keep pressure on Ben.Â Thing is, when they blitz, they leave opportunity down field and Ben’s arm is looking as good as it ever has looked.Â I expect Mike Wallace to get a few touches on Sunday.Â
And let’s not forget Hines Ward – as I am typing this post – he was just highlighted on ESPN as one of the best wideouts in the League.Â I am so happy that FINALLY his name is stated in context with greats like Art Monk and Jerry Rice.Â Is he going to match Rice’s record, probabl y not.Â But Hines is underrated and is good.Â And it’s not just his ability to catch, it’s his ability to allow plays to happen by throwing blocks.Â I can’t think of any other receiver who blocks like a defensive player, is there one?Â Expect Hines to have a great day against the Phins, not just in receptions, but creating the environment to move the chains.Â If the run game gets going, Hines will block for Rashard with the best of them.Â
I love watching Hines play…and as Steelerboy develops his game as a wide receiver (he’s playing his first year in high school) I tell him over and over that blocking is just as important as scoring a TD.Â So far, he’s listened, the kid could follow Hines Ward’s lead and be a great wideout and blocker.Â Every football mom’s dream, right?
Alright, let’s get them Phins, Steelers.
My prediction: It’ll be close…Steelers 20 – Phins 14.