It's time to move on to the next opponent--the Miami Dolphins. They just made a coaching change during their bye week, which makes things a little murkier. The Titans absolutely must win this game. They've had some brutal losses, but this game could be just what the Titans need to get back on track. A look at the matchups below:
Reasons For Confidence: Dolphins' Offensive Line, Lack of a deep threat, Run Defense, Bonus
Dolphins' Offensive Line: This is a unit that has mostly struggled for the past couple of years, and so far in 2015, it is no different. They are in the bottom half of the league in both pass protection and run blocking, according to Football Outsiders' DVOA rankings. Brian Orakpo, Jurrell Casey, and Derrick Morgan could be in for successful afternoons.
Lack of a deep threat: Looking at the Dolphins' roster, it is tough to say that there is a lack of a deep threat. Kenny Stills can test a defense vertically, and Jarvis Landry is a fantastic wide receiver. However, after taking a further look, the Titans should have the advantage. Also according to Football Outsiders, the Dolphins have the 27th ranked passing offense in the league. The Titans new signature has apparently become giving up back breaking deep balls, so if there is not much of a threat on that front, the defense should be productive. Luckily for the Tennessee, Dolphins' offensive coordinator Bill Lazor likes to attack underneath. Ryan Tannehill is averaging 6.3 yards per attempt, which has him ranked 33rd in the league.
Run Defense: The Dolphins run defense is ranked 28th in the league. While the Titans rushing offense has tapered off recently, now would be the game for them to get back on track. Miami's defensive line has been disappointing thus far. That being said, former defensive coordinator Kevin Coyle, who was blamed for a lot of these problems, is no longer with the team. More on this factor later.
Bonus: NO WHITE JERSEYS!!!!
Reasons For Concern: New coach, Jarvis Landry
Interim Head Coach: Many people have mentioned that this game could be tricky for the Titans because of the Dolphins coaching situation. Ken Whisenhunt even mentioned that it is a lot like preparing for week 1 (maybe this should be a reason for confidence?). Generically speaking, teams usually rally around the new coach for the first game. Also, there could be more trick plays and risks taken by Miami than usual in an attempt to provide a spark. The Titans can't be caught on their heels.
Jarvis Landry: Landry has arguably been the best player on the team so far this year. He is the most consistently productive player on the offense. While he will get his on offense, his special teams role is the bigger concern. The Titans coverage on punt returns has been absolutely abysmal this year. They've given up a number of big returns, including Travis Benjamin's touchdown in the Cleveland game. Even Denarius Moore's fumble last Sunday for Buffalo was after a big return. If the Titans don't punt out of bounds every time on Sunday, I would not be surprised to see Landry have a few big returns, and quite possibly a touchdown.
Prediction: This is a game that Titans have to win to prevent the wheels from completely falling off. The unknown is definitely concerning, but from a pure matchup standpoint, the Titans should win this game. Titans win, 27-10.