Miami inched one step closer to a playoff spot with a win on the road against the Jags, but now must do it again in Tennessee as the Phins battle the Titans.
Miami Dolphins (7-6) @ Tennessee Titans (6-7)
The Dolphins face an enormous challenge on the road this week, as they travel to Tennessee to clash with the Titans. Tennessee is slightly better on offense, as Miami has played slightly better on defense. Both squads are run-first ball clubs, so expect a healthy dose of Ricky Williams and Chris Johnson.
The Titans are looking to become the first team in NFL history to make it into the playoffs after starting 0-6. Miami is not only focused on keeping this potentially lethal Titans team out of the playoff picture for good, but they are also battling to make it into the playoffs as well, (and possibly even win the AFC East again). Both teams have a legitimate shot to make it into the postseason, something that seemed almost implausible after the way each squad started out this year.
The Titans feature one of the leagues’ best run-stopping defenses, so Williams will have to earn every yard against this greedy unit. Johnson on the other hand has been virtually unstoppable, as he seeks to break the single season rushing record. It will obviously be difficult for Miami to contain Chris Johnson; they just can not allow him to take over this ball game.
Miami must establish an air raid early to hopefully open up some running room for Williams. Chad Henne has impressed everyone with his ability to help keep the Phins alive this season, but he really needs to have a big game for Miami to win this tough matchup. The Phins can also not afford any more missed field goals this week.
The Titans on the other hand completely realize that their success hinges on the legs of Johnson, but Vince Young has been able to provide some offensive spark as well since returning to the starting lineup. Young might have to play turnover free football in this much needed victory in order to keep this Tennessee team alive. If Young struggles, Miami will have a solid chance to come away victorious in this road game. That is, if they can stop Chris Johnson.
Expect a hard fought battle that should result in a close game that could go either way. Tennessee will be an extremely tough place to play this week for Miami, and this will also be back-to-back road games for the Phins before they return home for the last two. The Titans are coming off of an absolutely dominating performance against the Rams last week, winning 47-7.
With out a doubt, Miami will definitely have their hands full with Tennessee, as the Titans matchup very well against the Phins on both sides of the ball. This could be a game where an overload of Chris Johnson, the Tennessee home field advantage, and the recent momentum of the Titans becomes almost too much to handle down the stretch for the Phins in this one.
The Dolphins must continue to execute on third down, eat up the clock in order to keep Johnson off of the field, and obviously limit mistakes. Miami can not afford to give this game away on turnovers, otherwise they might just give away their season as well.
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Written by Josh Souder