Game Preview: Pittsburgh at Miami

The Dolphins enter the final weekend of the 2007 regular with a mathematical chance of making the playoffs — if they win and Jacksonville, Houston, Baltimore and the Jets ALL lose — but it's more likely they're playing to finish at .500. Either way, here's a breakdown of the matchup against the Steelers.

WHO: Pittsburgh Steelers (8-7) at Miami Dolphins (7-8)

KICKOFF: Sunday, 1 p.m. ET

SITE: Land Shark Stadium


TV: CBS (Greg Gumbel, Dan Dierdorf)

PREDICTION: Steelers, 30-23

KEYS TO THE GAME: As has been the case down the stretch, the Dolphins are going to face a stiff run defense that will likely force the game onto the arm of QB Chad Henne. He has shown the ability to stretch the field, but also runs into rough patches in which he tends to miss receivers high. The Steelers will come out attacking the Dolphins' young cornerbacks. RB Rashard Mendenhall hasn't rushed for more than 53 yards in the past three weeks and QB Ben Roethlisberger is racking up yards in three and four-receiver formations - as long as his protection holds.

FAST FACTS: Dolphins CB Vontae Davis (four) is attempting to become the first rookie to lead Miami in interceptions since Lloyd Mumphord in 1969. ... Steelers cornerbacks have not recorded an interception all season.


Pittsburgh Steelers:

-- RB Mewelde Moore has become the forgotten man in the Steelers' offense. Moore, who lost his third-down job to Rashard Mendenhall, has 35 carries this season but only two in the past four games.

Miami Dolphins:

-- If Ricky Williams can't go full bore, look for more chances for second-year man Lex Hilliard. Hilliard enjoyed a coming out party of sorts against Houston with two touchdowns, one by rush and one as a receiver. "What I like in a receiver is when he catches the ball he turns and becomes a runner immediately," Dolphins offensive coordinator Dan Henning said. "That's what Lex does. We're seeing some very positive things from Lex here in the last few weeks."

-- RB Kory Sheets could be active if Williams can't play in the Steelers game. Sheets, signed off San Francisco's practice squad early in the year after Patrick Cobbs suffered a season-ending knee injury, has been active just once this year (at Carolina). However Tony Sparano praised his "slashing" running style.

-- LB Akin Ayodele will be the one who steps into the inside linebacker void left by the loss of Channing Crowder. Ayodele will wear the headset helmet so he can communicate with coaches and call the sets for the defense. Ayodele had to do this earlier in the season, when Crowder missed a pair of games with a shoulder injury, as well as last week against Houston after Crowder went down two plays into the game.

-- OL Nate Garner worked some at left tackle during Thursday's practice. That could be an indicator Pro Bowl LT Jake Long is hurting, or it could just be a sign the Dolphins want Garner to go for the cycle, having played everywhere else on the line this season, including tight end as the tackle eligible.

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