The Randy Moss era in Nashville begins. Newly acquired wide receiver Randy Moss will make his Titans debut Sunday against the 4-4 Miami Dolphins. The entire buzz in Nashville this week is all about Moss. This article should be called “Randy Moss’s debut” and not “Titans vs. Dolphins”.
Anyways, let’s talk about the actual game itself. The Titans are coming off their bye week. Tennessee is looking to catch fire again just as they did last season, 8-2 after the bye. For the season, this year, the Titans rank 26th in passing (187.6 yards a game) and 10th in rushing yards (123 yards per game). The low passing rank is understandable; having quarterbacks Vince Young and Kerry Collins share time this season with the injuries to Young. Young is listed as a game- time decision Sunday with an ankle injury. Collins will be the starter as of now unless Vince can go. Chris Johnson will still be the go to guy, even with Randy Moss on the field. The Titans will have to get Johnson going early if the Titans want to have a balanced offense in this game. If Johnson gets some big runs early in the game, this will force Miami to put more men in the box, which could open up big plays for Moss and the passing game. Another quick injury note, WR Kenny Britt is out for this game with a hamstring injury. This should make things a little easier on the Dolphins, having only one big-time receiver to worry about. The factor, in my mind, that will affect this game is the defensive line of the Titans. Often called the “no-name defense”, is 14th in the league against the rush. They can also put pressure on the quarterback very well.
The Dolphins are coming off a loss against the Baltimore Ravens 26-10. The Dolphins passing offense was horrible as QB Chad Henne threw 3 interceptions and had a passer rating of 47.5. This week, Coach Tony Sparano announced that the starter for the upcoming week would be 11-year veteran Chad Pennington. Pennington will make his first start of the season, and will try to turn this offense into a more balanced attack. WR Brandon Marshall has been quiet this season, having only caught one touchdown pass. Pennington and the Dolphins will look to Marshall more, and try to pick apart the NFL’s 23rd best secondary. While the Dolphins have a threat in Marshall outside, you can’t forget about the dynamic duo of Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams. Both have a combined 3 TDs on the year and average 4.3 yards a carry. Look for the Dolphins to go back to more of the wildcat formation with Ronnie Brown looking to make plays in the shotgun. Defensively, Miami ranks 12th in opponents passing yards (213.9), and 16th against the run (107.1 yards). Stopping Chris Johnson will be the primary task in this game. Look for linebackers Channing Crowder and Karlos Dansby to blitz more to try and stop Johnson. Starting cornerback Vontae Davis better be ready to cover the over-sized Moss. Miami also has one of the best kickers in the league, Dan Carpenter, who is 19/22 on the season. If the game comes down to field goals, the Dolphins trust their guy to win it for them.
After examining all of the news and factors in this game, I have my prediction made. I’m going to take the Tennessee Titans in this one. Forget about all of the Randy Moss stuff. I think Jeff Fisher will have his team ready to play Sunday coming off the bye. The Titans are 3-1 on the road, and can handle the South Beach crowd. The Dolphins haven’t even won a game at home this season, and I don’t think they will get their first this week. If the Titans can stop the running game of the Dolphins, then they shouldn’t have much of a problem in this one with Pennington making his first start. Look for a lot of pressure in his face, and Chris Johnson with a big day to keep Tennessee’s lead in the AFC South.
Prediction: Titans 27, Dolphins 16
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Written by Corey Adams