Tennessee Titans @ Miami Dolphins (-3.5)
Hard Rock Stadium
Announcers: Andrew Catalon, Steve Tasker, Steve Beuerlein.
After a long 10 days and a hurricane blowing through the area, the Miami Dolphins will host the Tennessee Titans (1-3) at Hard Rock Stadium. The Dolphins (1-3) have not looked good in the process getting to this game. Miami ranks near last in the league in many offensive categories, especially in two key factors that plagued the team last season: Rushing yards and third down efficiency. Adam Gase this week blamed himself for the lack of running and promises to go to a two back system. That will leave Arian Foster (questionable) and Jay Ajayi to handle the load. Gase has stated he will feed the hot hand, which he failed to do in Cincinnati, where Jay Ajayi averaged 7.5 yards per carry. The other issue being third down efficiency, clearly lies with Ryan Tannehill. While some of his numbers are not bad, the turnovers have plagued him this season where he traditionally has not been bad. The key to this game is simple, run the football and don't cough it up.
The Titans have lost their previous two games and come to Miami with something to prove. Last season, the Dolphins went into Tennessee and walloped the Titans on their home field. The Dolphins will have to have the same success and blue print as last year to come out on top this week. Here are the keys to success in a VERY important game for the Dolphins
1) CONTROL THE CLOCK- Miami ranks near the bottom of the league in time of possession. Adam Gase will hope to change that this week with quick hits and strong runs to keep the ball moving on every drive. This will allow the defense to rest longer than 3 minutes or less, which seems to be the norm. Expect Gase to pound the rock to set up favorable play calling on second and third downs.
2) EXECUTE THE GAME PLAN- You cannot do #1 without this one first. The Titans boast a middle of the road defense with a ferocious end in Brian Orapko. Whatever Gase brings to the table this week, Ryan Tannehill and the offense need to execute effectively.
3) FORCE TURNOVERS- After week 1, the Dolphins have not forced many turnovers (1 vs NE, 1 vs Browns, 0 vs Bengals), hopefully with better decisions on defense, the Dolphins can force turnovers. Demarco Murray has historically coughed the ball up, as well as Marcus Mariota making mistakes in the passing game. Titans WRs do not scare anybody on paper, so expect a move physical game at the line of scrimmage and force the issue.
4) STOP THE RUN- Miami is a little better at stopping the run in recent weeks, and face a STIFF test this week with the Titans. Murray and Henry can pose quite a threat, particularly Henry, who gashed this defense in the final pre- season game. Get a big jump on the scoreboard and this forces the issue for the Titans. We cannot let these two dictate the game
5) STOP MAKING MENTAL MISTAKES- Is anyone else noticing this? The offensive line isn't on the same page for check downs and audible, the QB is holding on too long because receivers are not releasing well from coverage. The turnover count is up! 0 Turnovers this week will help the cause.
This is an absolute must win. I don't care what week it is. This game begins 4 straight home games, starting off with a victory against the Titans will get things going in the right directions and build some confidence before the Steelers come to town next week.
Dolphins 23 Titans 17
Season Record (3-1)