The Miami Dolphins (4-4) look to rebound from a tough game last week, as they host the (3-6) Tennessee Titans in a key AFC showdown in the early slot of games on Sunday.
Rookie quarterback Ryan Tannehill has been a nice story this year for the Dolphins when it appeared before the season that they were going to struggle to score points. A solid running attack with Reggie Bush, and a talented front 7 on the defensive side have brought some optimism for Miami.
Until last week, the Dolphins boasted the best 3rd down defense in the league. This was before Andrew Luck torched them for some big 3rd and Long conversions, en route to a big victory for the Colts. Look for the defense to rebound nicely at home, in a tight contested battle with the Titans.
For the Dolphins to win, Reggie Bush must be successful running the ball. It all starts from the run with them as they are averaging 111 yards/game on the season. I see Miami implementing their will on the a bad Titans defense who haven’t been able to stop anyone allowing 141 yards/game on the ground – and over 400yrds/game total offence!
The Dolphins can’t rely solely on the run, and need to add a vertical dimension to their game to avoid being too predictable. Tannehill has shown a nice relationship with WR Brian Hartline, who will have a big day on Sunday. Hartline has 41 catches for 662 yards and a score this year – look for him to find the end zone against Tennessee.
The Dolphins defense will need to do two things to win tomorrow. Take away Chris Johnson, and force whoever starts at quarterback to make mistakes. Johnson has been alright in recent weeks, mainly in garbage time. While the Dolphins aren’t a potent offense, look for the Titans to commit to the run with CJ and try to get a passing game going with their talented receivers.
The Bears showed you a textbook defense last week on how to beat the Titans. Get in Matt Hasselbeck’s face and make him make poor decisions. The Dolphins front 7 with Cameron Wake getting to the QB will force second year quarterback Jake Locker to get rid of the ball early, allowing the potential for defensive plays.
The Titans will need their defense to step up against the resurgent Dolphins squad hungry to get back into the playoff mix. Shutting down Bush will be imperative if they want to be successful. If they can do that, Miami isn’t very effective in 3rd down situations, only converting 38% of the time.
Tennessee will need Chris Johnson to be CJ2K. In 2 career games vs the Dolphins, he has averaged 110 yards/game. This bodes well for the Titans, who can use this success to open up the pass game and allow Kenny Britt, Kendall Wright, Nate Washington, and Jared Cook to get down field and catch some passes.
Locker took the majority of the snaps in practice this week, and is scheduled to start barring any set backs. A lot of pressure is on the Titans this week, as the owner is already calling for some heads to roll before the end of the season.
Expect a bounce-back game from their defense who were embarrassed last week against the Bears and for them to move the ball and keep the game close.
I’m having trouble deciding on a winner for this game, as I expect it to be closely contested through with both teams being able to move the ball. My prediction: Dolphins win by a field goal
Fantasy Studs: Dan Carpenter, Reggie Bush, Brian Hartline, Kenny Britt
Sleeper: Jake Locker
Sit – Devone Bess