Tennessee Titans (5-3, 5-3 ATS) at Miami Dolphins (4-4, 5-3 ATS), Week 10 NFL,
Sunday November 14th, 1:00PM Eastern Sun Life Stadium Miami, F.L.
By Jay Horne, Professional Sports Handicapper of Predictem.com
Betting Odds: Mia -1/Ten +1
Over/Under Total: 43
The Miami Dolphins will have the luxury of welcoming the Tennessee Titans into Sun Life Stadium this Sunday afternoon. The Dolphins are treading the .500 mark on the season and desperately trying to climb their way back to a winning record. The visiting Titans are tied with Indianapolis for 1st place in the AFC South and they have won 3 of their last 4 games. The Titans also had a bye last week following a 33-25 loss to the Chargers in week 8. With the extra week off, it will be interesting to see how the Titans respond when they go on the road to Miami as they two teams collide early Sunday afternoon.
In last year’s meeting, the Dolphins and Titans put on an exciting spectacle in Tennessee. The Titans held a 24-6 lead going in the 3rd quarter, but the Dolphins surged to tie the game with just less than two minutes to go. Tennessee eventually captured the win with a field goal in overtime, but Miami will try to get a little revenge this time around in their home stadium. Even though it is early in the playoff talk, the Dolphins realize that falling to 4-5 on the season would be a big blow to their chances at the postseason. Therefore, expect them to come out with some fire for the early part of Sunday afternoon.
So far this season, the Dolphins have not gotten the amount of success on the ground they would have expected. After dominating on the ground in 2009, Miami has just managed a 16th best 106 yards per game on the ground. Ronnie Brown has compiled 433 yards on the season while Ricky Williams has tallied just 336 yards on the year. Both backs are averaging 4.3 yards exactly and Miami would love to get their ground game rolling again. However, there has not been any indication that things will change in the running game at this point in the season.
QB Chad Henne has posted 1900 yards, 8 scores, and 10 picks on the season. Chad Pennington will get the start though. WR Brandon Marshall leads the team with 618 yards but has just 1 touchdown on the season. WR Davone Bess has also been a solid option for Henne as well this season with 44 catches for 451 yards. The problem is that the Dolphins just have not had any type of explosion from their offense and have had to move the ball methodically down the field. The Titans have given up some yardage through the air this season allowing 239 per game. Therefore, if the Dolphins continue to struggle moving the football on the ground they may try to spread the ball around against the Tennessee secondary.
Expecting that scenario plays out, it will be interesting to see what kind of protection Pennington gets from the Miami offensive line. Tennessee has racked up 26 sacks on the season and they get very solid play from their guys up front. If they can keep pressure on Pennington, they could really make it hard for the Dolphins to move the football at least consistently. For the Titans offense, they have come to life in recent weeks averaging over 30 points per game in their last 4 outings. Running back Chris Johnson has remained rock solid averaging 90.1 yards per game while racking up 8 touchdowns on the year. Johnson is the focus of the Titans offensive attack and has carried the torch for the most part.
However, QB Vince Young has been pretty solid for most of the year despite a lower average of passing attempts. Young has thrown for 998 yards with 9 touchdowns and just 2 picks. Young split time with backup Kerry Collins in the most recent outing in the loss to the Chargers as he was banged up with an ankle injury. Collins has completed 60% for 5 scores and 3 picks in the backup role this season. Considering Young is still trying to heal the ankle, it may not be surprising if Collins gets some more snaps this Sunday. The perhaps bigger problem in the passing game is that the Titans have lost WR Kenny Britt to a hamstring injury.
Britt recently exploded on the Eagles for 225 yards and has given hope that he would be the guy to step up in the receiving core. With Britt sidelined, their options are limited. WR Nate Washington caught a season high 117 yards in the loss to San Diego so the Titans hope he can continue to pick up the slack. Outside of Washington, the receiving core has a significant drop off. Tight end Bo Scaife is next on the team in receiving with just 179 yards on the year. Therefore if Johnson is not able to rack up a ton of yards or the Titans fall behind early, they will have a tough hill to climb if they have to rely on the passing game for the victory.
Jay’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: I think the Dolphins are more desperate for a win here, and the Titans passing troubles may become much more evident this week. I’m backing the Dolphins in what I expect to be a low scoring game.