• 11 things 'I think I think' ahead of Steelers' Monday night game against winless Miami

    By: Chase Williams

    Updated:

    PITTSBURGH - 1.  I think the Steelers will beat the Dolphins. Shocker, I know. But I can't envision a scenario where a team with a minus-148 point differential comes into Heinz Field and beats a team with so much talent. 

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    2.  I think their mindset is why I believe in the Steelers so much this week. The guys I spoke to sound exactly the same as they did two weeks ago before the Chargers game. They won't "play down" to the level of a team in line to get the No. 1 overall pick in the upcoming NFL draft.

    3.  I think James Conner will again be a major player in this one. He told me he's "healthy" and will play Monday despite not finishing the Chargers game due to an injury. Conner will be a nice safety blanket for Mason Rudolph getting back in the swing of things after sitting out the last game due to his concussion. Start Conner if you have him on your fantasy team. 

    4.  I think this is as good of a "get good" game as you can find, especially for the Steelers offense, which has yet to find its groove this season. The Dolphins have allowed 16 passing touchdowns and only snagged one interception in their six games. Plus, opposing QBs have a collective 129.7 passer rating, which would be an NFL all-time high if the season ended today. Throw the ball and let Rudolph gain some much-needed confidence. 

    5.  I think Ryan Fitzpatrick will be a handful, at least for a couple quarters. He has absolutely zero to lose and plays like it. I asked Minkah Fitzpatrick, a former Dolphin, what the team does well offensively and, without missing a beat, he highlighted its skill position players, but not before saying Ryan Fitzpatrick has seen it all and won't be scared to come into a hostile Heinz Field. He will take chances and the Steelers defense has to pounce and keep taking the ball away, as it has done all season long.

    6.  I think the Steelers defense is really, finally, building into what we've all thought it would be in quite some time. It is fifth in the NFL in red zone efficiency, allowing teams to score a TD only 42.9% of the times they've been inside the 20-yard line. That's stupid good. 

    7.  I think I want to get back to the offense real quick as I find these numbers eye-opening and disturbing, if I'm being honest. The team ranks 28th in yards per game (276.5), 28th in passing yards per game (200) and 26th in rushing (76.5). I understand it's been faced with adversity, losing its future Hall of Fame QB, but figure it out. What do they have to lose? Nobody is going to judge the Steelers if they lose this season. Nobody in their right mind, anyway. So why not open up the offense and see what you've got in Mason Rudolph? 

    8.  I think Anthony Chickillo's arrest presents multiple issues for the Steelers. First and foremost, this alleged incident is terrible on all accounts. Let's see what the facts are with the case before making any judgment. With that being said, Chickillo was not at practice Wednesday, according to his teammates, and that's a problem. The Steelers are thin at OLB with Chickillo being out and T.J. Watt nursing an injury suffered in the Chargers game. Jayrone Elliott has been re-signed to help with depth. 

    9.  I think Devin Bush is a stud. He earned AFC Defensive Player of the Week honors for the first time in his career after an outstanding performance against the Chargers. He will only get better the more he plays. The Steelers will need him, too, as Mark Barron is still nursing a hamstring injury. 

    10.  I think I'm pumped to see the Steelers wear their "Color Rush" uniforms Monday night. I'm a huge fan of the alternate jersey in all sports and these primarily black unis are phenomenal. 

    11.  I think everything is shaping up for a Steelers win Monday night. They desperately need it to stay in the AFC North race. Believe it or not, the Steelers have a real shot at the division and the playoffs, but they can't stub their toe against the winless Dolphins team doing their best to win the No. 1 pick sweepstakes. 


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