Titans Dolphins preview

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Titans Dolphins preview
The most talked about hamstring in Tennessee. Photo courtesy of USAToday

Titans Dolphins preview

The story of the week has been whether or not Marcus Mariota will play. Mariota is significantly better than Jay Cutler and Matt Cassel. If he plays, the Titans have a large advantage and should utilize it by passing early and often. Mariota is considered to be a game-time decision. Can Mariota handle that?

Rain is expected in Miami on Saturday and Sunday morning as per Weather.com. Hard Rock Stadium has a retractable roof. While this is overtly simplistic, Mariota will not play on a wet field. It would be in the Dolphins best interests to “accidentally” leave the roof open. This is a huge reach, but check the field conditions if you’re wanting a Mariota update. A wet field would not be good for a player with an injured hamstring.

The Dolphins have the worst offense in the NFL. Miami has only scored 25 points this season. Their offense is downright stagnant.  Jay Cutler has averaged 215 yards in his two games against the Titans and that meshes up well with his season average. Jay Ayaji only averages 61 yards per game on the ground. The offense has only gained 747 yards this season. Statistically, the Fins offense is quite poor.

The Titans defense is a bit of a welcome sight for the Dolphins. The Titans have been so weak on defense that they are the 29th rated defense in the NFL. This could be the game the Dolphins get their offense on track. The Titans must get their defense rolling early and “let sleeping dogs lie” here.

The Dolphins matchup very well with the Titans defense. Jay Ayaji should have some success rushing up the middle. Jarvis Landry should be contained by Logan Ryan in the slot. Adoree Jackson and Brice McCain have been susceptible to deep passes and Devante Parker and Kenny Stills excel at those. Watch for free safety Kevin Byard’s presence near the line of scrimmage. Jay Cutler is sure to test the Titans deep when Byard isn’t there to help out. The Titans defense has not played as well as their talent would indicate. Despite a favorable matchup, there is a sense of hope that the Titans get things on track this week.

The Dolphins have the twenty-second ranked defense. Rey Maualuga returns to play his first game in 2017. The well-known middle linebacker was one of the worst inside linebackers last season. His return is a bit curious. Maualuga has been an impressive player in the past so the Titans will surely be prepared for his best work this Sunday. The Dolphins have the fourth-ranked run defense. The Titans have the sixth-ranked rushing offense. This is the battle to watch. Still, the 22nd ranked defense is not exactly a good ranking.

The Titans offense should change dramatically with Matt Cassel at the helm. The Titans should run the ball early and often to minimize the difficult throws for Cassel on 3rd and long. With arguably the best offensive line in football, the top-rated fullback, and two of the best running backs, this is quite doable. They’re going to have to commit to it though.

The short passing game should be key too.  The Titans have lined up both Derrick Henry and DeMarco Murray as a wide receiver a number of times. They should be able to throw some screens to get their backs running up the sideline against a cornerback. Taywan Taylor is electric in the short passing game. He is capable of stretching a three-yard pass into a long gain. The Titans had a nice play earlier this season where Jonnu Smith caught a screen and followed a handful of blockers to the end zone. They will surely try this play again with Smith and possibly Delanie Walker. During the summer, the Titans were quite successful with screen passes to Henry while Smith and Jalston Fowler led the way. Short and simple will be sweet this week for the Titans.

The Titans veteran wide receivers will “hopefully” not get much work this week. As long as the ground game and short passing game is working, Cassel won’t have to make too many risky throws. If Cassel has to and the game script changes, Eric Decker and Rishard Matthews are going to have to make some big catches.

Forced to guess- Mariota will play and the Titans will blow out the Dolphins then rest him late. The Titans have a difficult schedule. The next three weeks are the easiest and something of “assured wins” if they were to join the NFL’s elite. They need to win these three upcoming games if they’re going to make the playoffs. The Titans have never beaten Andrew Luck and will face him twice. They will also face the Texans again and the Steelers. They

The Titans have a difficult schedule. The next three weeks are the easiest and something of “assured wins” if they were to join the NFL’s elite. They need to win these three upcoming games if they’re going to make the playoffs. The Titans have never beaten Andrew Luck and will face him twice. They will also face the Texans again and the Steelers. The Titans are no longer playing a worst record schedule and have to win these favorable matchups.

Both teams run the wildcat, a bit. Neither has had any success worth writing about.

 


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