Last week ended in disappointing fashion yet again. Now, the Titans move on to a lighter portion of the schedule. Can the team begin to climb back to .500?
Reasons For Confidence: Offensive Mismatch, Dolphins' Cornerbacks, Weather
Offensive Mismatch: Much has been made of the Titans' offensive struggles here, but the same conversation is taking place in Miami. The offense has been atrocious so far. Their hurry-up approach has proved to be ineffective, leading to quick 3 and outs, and sending the defense back out onto the field quickly. Ryan Tannehill has also struggled tremendously, along with the run game. Even against potent offenses like Oakland, the Titans' defense has performed very well. It would not be a surprise to see another strong defensive performance.
Dolphins' Cornerbacks: Miami's trade for Byron Maxwell has proved to be a major flop thus far. He has been targeted by opposing quarterbacks, and was benched for Tony Lippett last week, who struggled as well. As poorly as the Titans' wide receivers have played this season, this could be a game that they produce.
Weather: With the hurricane coming, Florida could be hit hard. If the weather conditions are rough, this could be a positive for the Titans. They have one of the best run games in the league, and if both teams are stuck with running the ball more than usual, this could be a major plus for the Titans.
Reasons For Concern: Dolphins' Front 7, Jarvis Landry, Letdown Game?
Dolphins' Front 7: This unit was what ultimately got Ken Whisenhunt fired last year. Cameron Wake absolutely dominated Jeremiah Poutasi. Now, though the Titans have a much improved offensive line, this is still a strong unit. If the Titans cannot handle the likes of Cameron Wake, Mario Williams, Ndamokung Suh, and Kiko Alonso, this struggle offense could become even more stagnant.
Jarvis Landry: Landry is probably the best player on the team, and he was another player that had a huge hand in the game last year. He is incredibly dynamic; one of the better receivers and overall playmakers in the league. Considering the Titans special teams struggles, including giving a punt return up for an easy touchdown last week to Will Fuller, Landry is going to be a major threat not only on offense, but on punts as well.
Letdown Game? The Titans have played multiple close, emotional games this season. Now, with a trip to Miami, against a team that has had 10 days of preparation, in potentially inclement weather, the Titans could be lined up for a big letdown game. Certainly last season this would be one. Time will tell if this team comes in with a different mindset. Despite a rough first quarter of the season, there is still a lot of football ahead, and the schedule gets lighter. If this ends up being a letdown game, it will be incredibly discouraging.
Prediction: The Dolphins are a pretty bad football team right now. The Titans have mismatches in a number of areas, and though it may be the little bit of early season optimism in me, I don't think that this will be a letdown game. The team will come ready to play and exploit some matchups. Titans win, 23-13.