After a bad performance in Cincinnati 10 days ago and a few days of uncertainty because of Hurricane Matthew, the Dolphins get ready to host the Titans.
Here’s three important story lines, etc to know:
Miami must get their offense in gear. As our Chris Fischer, who’s on the sideline for the CBS-TV call today, laid out this week, you can’t just blame Ryan Tannehill. The collective struggle is a new coach/system, injuries on the offensive line and also, to RB Arian Foster (who is doubtful and likely won’t suit up) which has ground things to a halt. Dolphins must get some yardage, time of possession, etc on the ground. They again look for Jay Ajayi, Kenyan Drake and Isiah Pead by committee to give them something. If they do not, it’s likely big trouble for Tannehill and the pass game.
The Titans have been competitive in all four games, but have done the wrong things at the wrong time for three losses in those four. Last week for example, it was the special teams giving up a huge punt return TD to William Fuller of the Texans that cost them dearly at the end.
More importantly, Tennessee has to get more outta their top weapon, Marcus Mariota. Even though free agent RB DeMarco Murray has run it well through four games. Mariota, particularly in the last two isn’t producing much of anything. He’s averaged 208 yards passing on below 50% completion and three picks with no TD’s. Combine this with coach Mike Mularkey’s refusal to turn Mariota loose on read option runs, etc. (the QB’s high rush yardage in a game is 22 yards) and the Titans lack any real threat/punch. If Tennessee has a chance Sunday, it will be because Mariota gets his swagger back and starts making a few plays.
Finally, the Dolphins need some atmosphere/home field advantage. The area/students showed up Saturday night in full throat and a bonkers atmosphere for the Canes game with FSU. It’s not likely that Hard Rock Stadium will even be 3/4 full but 45-50,000 with the new enclosures around the stands can still be very loud. Let’s see if it can be an advantage for a Dolphin team that is only playing it’s second game in first five.
Will the Fins give them much to cheer about? We’ll find out.