Cleat Geeks

Titans @ Dolphins Week 5 Preveiw

When you fall off a horse, wisdom says you get right back on it. When you fall off and get trampled by it that’s even more difficult. That’s what faces the Titans this Sunday in Miami. At least the horse doesn’t look as big as the one in Houston.

The Dolphins don’t look that big at all after managing just a late touchdown against the New York Jets then getting shut out in London by the New Orleans Saints. That’s the first time Miami has been shut out since the Buffalo Bills did it back in December of 2013.  After an opening week victory against the Los Angeles Chargers the Jay Cutler era has been anything sparkling. The Titans defense can use some “not sparkling” after being ran and thrown out of Houston 57 to 14 last Sunday. Three questions to answer this week.

Can Miami throw the football against Tennessee?

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Here are two units that have an opportunity for improvement. The Dolphins have struggled all season throwing the football, they rank 28th in yards from scrimmage. Jay Cutler has averaged a shade over 204 yards a game. The 2 touchdowns the dolphins have, admittedly in one less game than everyone else except Tampa Bay, ranks 30th. If we look at the Pro Football Reference’s NY/A (Net Yards Per Attempt, pass yards – sack yards and pass attempts + sacks) the Dolphins come in at 4.7 or 31st in the league.

The Titans have given up 6.5 NY/A which is 26th.  You combine that with  over 1,000 yards surrendered and the most touchdowns in the league with 11 and you see that something must give. In this battle of the movable object against the stoppable force I really think that whichever unit has some good things happen early will be able to grab momentum for the game. The NFL is really a game about momentum Who will start the fastest.

Can Tennessee run the football against Miami?

This battle is on the other end of the scale. The Titans rushing attack has piled up both yards and touchdowns this season ranking 6th and 1st in those two categories. The Titans YPA on the ground is 2nd. Exotic smash mouth is in full evidence this year. DeMarco Murray and Derrick Henry are one of the best tandems in football running behind one of the run blocking lines in the game. What’s not to like?

Image result for demarco murray and derrick henry

The Dolphins run defense is giving up 77 yards a game on average. That is the 4th fewest in the league. Miami’s front seven anchored by Ndamukong Su and Cameron Wake with Kiko Alonzo patrolling behind them is a strength on that team. It would help if the Titans third-leading rusher plays. Marcus Mariota is questionable at the time of this writing with a hamstring injury. Matt Cassel is a solid backup but doesn’t put the added pressure on a defense running the football. The Titans will proceed with caution in regard to Mariota.

Who are these teams?

After being drummed in Houston last week defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau told reporters at his regular Thursday press conference “That’s not us and we’re going to prove that’s not us.” No one expected the outburst of points from the Texans last week. I don’t expect Miami to hang 57 points on Tennessee this week. The Dolphins put up six points against the Jets and zero when they faced the Saints. There are some large issues to solve in Miami. Larger than the ones in Tennessee. Prediction: Dolphins 20 Titans 24.

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