Dolphins (3-3) vs. Pittsburgh Steelers (2-4), Sunday, 8:20 p.m., NBC
Latest line: Dolphins are favored by 7 points; over/under is 42.
Dave Hyde, Sports Columnist (Season record: 3-3): Dolphins 27, Pittsburgh 17
Pittsburgh hasn’t scored more than 20 points all year and has a starting quarterback, Kenny Pickett, who was in concussion protocol this week. The Dolphins start Tua Tagovailoa for the first time since concussion problems and faces the 28th-ranked defense with a beat-up secondary. Enough said? This starts five games the Dolphins will be favored in — and can go a long way in their playoff chase.
Chris Perkins, Dolphins Columnist (Season record: 2-4): Dolphins 24, Steelers 20
Getting quarterback Tua Tagovailoa back on the field should be a boost to the entire team, not just the offense. And if the Dolphins can get a couple of other injured players back, that will also be a huge boost. But keep an eye on things such as turnover margin (-5), special teams and penalties. They’ve been a major issue the past few weeks.
David Furones, Dolphins Writer (Season record: 4-2): Dolphins 24, Steelers 20
Tua Tagovailoa’s return gives the Dolphins a much-needed boost. Playing in prime time at home makes Hard Rock Stadium electric. While Brian Flores may have some tricks up his sleeves to fluster Tagovailoa, the quarterback gets the satisfaction of sticking it to his former coach — as does owner Steve Ross. The 1972 team is being honored, and the current Dolphins do it in ultimate ‘72 fashion with an impressive win.
Kathy Laughlin, Sports Editor (Season record: 4-2): Dolphins 30, Steelers 20
Don’t think this will be as simple as: Tua Tagovailoa is back, so the Dolphins will start winning again. First, the Steelers are feeling some confidence after beating Tom Brady and the Bucs last week. Second, former Dolphins coach Brian Flores, now the Steelers senior defensive assistant and linebackers coach, is not stupid. He was never sold on Tua, and no doubt he has been thinking about this game and the ways to exploit what he perceives as Tua’s weaknesses for weeks and weeks. Of course, Tagovailoa is awfully motivated, too, but this team is seriously banged up. Luckily, this game is at home, and that helps give the Dolphins an edge.
Keven Lerner, Assistant Sports Editor (Season record: 3-3): Dolphins 23, Steelers 17
Tua Tagovailoa will make his eagerly awaited return from a concussion in hopes of ending the Dolphins’ three-game losing streak in Sunday’s prime-time matchup against Pittsburgh. Steelers rookie quarterback Kenny Pickett is expected to start over backup Mitch Trubisky if he clears the NFL’s concussion protocol. The Steelers ended a four-game losing streak with a 20-18 win over Tampa Bay Sunday, but will be hard-pressed to win at Miami against a more talented Dolphins team.
Steve Svekis, Assistant Sports Editor (Season record: 3-3): Dolphins 20, Steelers 18
The Steelers, despite having a couple nice pieces at wide receiver and running back, are one of the NFL’s bottom-of-the-barrel teams after the loss of All-Pro pass rusher T.J. Watt. Their equalizer is coach Mike Tomlin, who the Dolphins passed on to hire Cam Cameron in 2007 and has never had a losing season in his 15 seasons in Pittsburgh. That said, the Dolphins must have this game. A loss in Tua Tagovailoa’s latest return from injury, which would make Mike McDaniel’s team the second in Dolphins history to fall to 3-4 after a 3-0 start, would send the season into a tailspin. The Dolphins must improve their putrid run game at home (179 yards in three games).
Source: Berkshire mont