This week the Miami Dolphins (4-4) welcome the Tennessee Titans (3-6) to Sun Life Stadium. The Dolphins will be looking to bounce back from the 20-23 loss to the Indianapolis Colts. Miami had a horrific performance on defense with allowing Colts rookie QB, Andrew Luck, to break the single game rookie record for passing yards with 433 yards. Carolina Panthers QB, Cam Newton, set the record last season with 422 yards. Both Andrew Luck and Cam Newton were number 1 overall picks in the past two NFL Draft’s.
Titans second year QB, Jake Locker, has been cleared to play this week against the Dolphins after being out the past five weeks with a dislocated shoulder. Veteran QB, Matt Hasselbeck, has been the starter for the Titans in Lockers absence and had played well. Locker will be rusty, and this should be a good opportunity for the Dolphins defense to rebound from last week.
Titans RB, Chris Johnson, in previous years has been an outstanding RB, and was a top 3 or 4 RB along with Minnesota Vikings, Adrian Peterson, Jacksonville Jaguars, Maurice Jones-Drew, and Houston Texans, Arian Foster. However, last season after he was signed to a large contract and didn’t create the numbers he was before his big deal. This season he started where he left off last season. But as of late, he was started looking like he did in his 2009 season where he ran over 2000 yards. His past four weeks he has ran for 91, 195, 99, and 141 yards.
Here are my top 5 individual expectations this week against the Tennessee Titans:
1. Reggie Bush (Running Back)- This is the third week that Reggie Bush has been my number 1. He did get a rushing TD, but he still hasn’t been able to get the rushing yards he is capable of. He had 41 rushing yards on 10 carries, and second year RB, Daniel Thomas, had 37 rushing yards on 6 carries. Thomas didn’t have a TD or as many yards as Bush did, but he was getting more yards per carry with 6.2 against Bush’s 4.1 yards per carry. The Titans are ranked 30th in run defense, so I’ll be looking to see if Reggie will have a huge game assuming he gets enough carries.
2. Sean Smith (Cornerback)- Last week against the Colts, Sean Smith missed at least 2 opportunities to get interceptions, one of which would have put the Dolphins in a much more manageable position to get a game tying score at the end of the game. Overall he has looked very well this season and has looked like he is on the right track to being an elite CB in the NFL. But he wasn’t getting into position, keeping too much space between him and Colts WR’s, Reggie Wayne, Donnie Avery, and T.Y. Hilton, allowing a total of 288 yards and 2 TD’s between the three, and he also took part in Andrew Luck’s record breaking day allowing 433 yards passing. I will be looking to see if he will be able to get himself back on track and get the interceptions when he gets into position.
3. Dolphins Run Defense- The Dolphins Run Defense has been outstanding this season only giving up an average of 83.9 yards per game which is currently ranked 3 in the NFL. Titans Chris Johnson has been looking better with getting a total of 526 yards rushing their past 4 games, after starting the season with only 4 yards rushing against the New England Patriots. With Johnson on a role, I will be looking to see if the Dolphins can shut him down and how many yards they can hold him too.
4. Cameron Wake (Defensive End)- Last week the Colts Offensive Line was able to keep Dolphins Cameron Wake in check. Wake only was able to get 1 sack, but it also created a forced fumble which was recovered by Miami. Andrew Luck did a good job of moving around in the pocket to avoid sacks and whenever any Dolphins player got a hand on him, he was able to throw the ball away or even create a play for a gain. I’m not too worried about this one, but I will be looking to see how well Cameron Wake will do against the Titans Offensive Line, and how many sacks he will get on Jake Locker.
5. Olivier Vernon (Defensive End)- The past two week Dolphins rookie DE, Olivier Vernon, has made big plays on Special Teams. Against the New York Jets he recovered a blocked punt for a TD, and last week against the Indianapolis Colts he had a blocked Field Goal. Vernon has been playing like a veteran most of the season, especially on Special Teams. I’ll be watching for another big play from Vernon on Special Teams against the Titans.
Those are my top 5 for this week against the Tennessee Titans. Do you have a top 5 list?