Yes, Miami Dolphins, you want the Texans, not the Steelers

Houston Texans coach Bill O'Brien watches from the sideline during the second half of an NFL football game against the Jacksonville Jaguars Sunday, Dec. 18, 2016, in Houston. (AP Photo/Eric Christian Smith)

Houston Texans coach Bill O’Brien watches from the sideline during the second half of an NFL football game against the Jacksonville Jaguars in Houston. (AP Photo/Eric Christian Smith)

DAVIE — The Miami Dolphins beat up the Pittsburgh Steelers, 30-15, in Week 6.

So the Dolphins will certainly feel they have a chance if they open the playoffs at Pittsburgh on Jan. 7 or 8.

But there is no doubt that their odds would be better in a game at the Houston Texans.

In order for this to occur, Miami must beat New England at home on Sunday. And then Kansas City must lose at San Diego later in the day.

The Dolphins are a 10.5 point underdog on Sunday, which shows you how Las Vegas views the playoff team.

The Chiefs are favored by 5.5 points at the San Diego Chargers.

So, it’s not likely. But here are key statistics that show very clearly why Houston (9-6), is a much more attractive opponent than Pittsburgh (10-5).

In 10 of these 12 statistics, Pittsburgh is shown to be the better team:

Offense

Total Yards Per Game: Pittsburgh (7), Houston (28)

Sacks Per Pass Play: Pittsburgh (2), Houston (10)

Passing Yards Per Play: Pittsburgh (7), Houston (31)

Points Per Game: Pittsburgh (12), Houston (29)

Third Down Efficiency: Pittsburgh (10), Houston (19)

Red Zone Efficiency: Pittsburgh (14), Houston (31)

What it means: Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is fifth in the AFC in passer rating, and the Texans’ Tom Savage and Brock Osweiler… aren’t. Roethlisberger also has 17 playoff starts (11-6) with two Super Bowl rings. And he’s really hard to sack. Miami’s injury-depleted secondary (Reshad Jones, Isa Abdul-Quddus, possibly Byron Maxwell) would create a massive opportunity for Antonio Brown and the Steelers passing attack. And Le’Veon Bell leads the AFC in rushing yards. The Dolphins are 30th in the NFL against the rush and 30th overall, so — good luck.

Defense

Total Yards Per Game: Houston (1), Pittsburgh (9)

Rushing Yards Per Game: Pittsburgh (6), Houston (13)

Passing Yards Per Game: Houston (2), Pittsburgh (15)

Points Per Game: Pittsburgh (9), Houston (10)

Giveaways/Takeaways: Pittsburgh (13), Houston (27)

Red Zone Efficiency: Pittsburgh (4), Houston 8

What it means: The Texans actually have quite a good defense, led by defensive end Jadeveon Clowney, who has emerged. Cornerback A.J. Bouye is a relatively unknown star. Linebacker Benardrick McKinney and safety Quintin Demps have played really well. But the Steelers are actually harder to run against (Miami needs to run well to have a chance against either team) and the Steelers are among the best teams in the NFL in red zone and giveaways/takeaways. In James Harrison, Stephon Tuitt, William Gay and Ryan Shazier, Pittsburgh’s defense has impact players.

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