The Tennessee Titans would have been wise to shield their eyes from the scoreboard after being lit up by their opponent last week. The visiting Titans look to rebound from a shellacking on Sunday when they face a Miami Dolphins’ offense that has been held in the dark for the last two games.
Tennessee’s potential to bounce back may hinge on Marcus Mariota’s ability to do the same, as the gimpy quarterback is expected to be a game-time decision against Miami after injuring his hamstring in last week’s 57-14 debacle versus Houston. “He did a little more. Not a lot more, but a little more,” Titans coach Mike Mularkey said of Mariota’s workload in practice on Thursday workload. “We’re really being smart and listening to what he’s saying about himself.” The Dolphins would be wise to close their ears on what many are saying about their inept offense, which is averaging league lows in points (8.3), yards per game (249.0), yards per play (4.2) and third-down conversion (21 percent). “At this point, the excuses are running out,” Miami coach Adam Gase said. “There are no more excuses. It’s either get the job done, or we will find someone that can.”
TV: 1 p.m. ET, CBS. LINE: Dolphins -1. O/U: Off
ABOUT THE TITANS (2-2): Should Mariota be sidelined on Sunday, Matt Cassel is expected to get the nod with new acquisition Brandon Weeden to serve as the backup. Tennessee may lean heavily on a running game that is averaging an NFL-best 5.0 yards per carry, with 2016 AFC rushing leader DeMarco Murray (5.1) rumbling for 121 yards in Tennessee’s 30-17 victory over Miami on Oct. 9, 2016. Former Heisman Trophy winner Derrick Henry is churning out 4.6 yards per tote this season, but Mariota leads the club with three rushing touchdowns. Rishard Matthews, who was selected by Miami in the seventh round of the 2012 draft, leads the club in receiving yards (250), while Pro Bowl tight end Delanie Walker has a team-best 18 catches.
ABOUT THE DOLPHINS (1-2): Miami mustered a last-second touchdown pass to avoid a shutout against the New York Jets on Sept. 24, but it wasn’t as fortunate last week in a 20-0 loss to New Orleans. The well-traveled Dolphins have ventured to Los Angeles, New Jersey and London for their first three contests - with Jay Ajayi’s rushing game being grounded with just 62 yards in the last two. Jay Cutler isn’t paying dividends on the one-year, $10 million contract he signed in August, but the 34-year-old has cashed in on a pair of career starts versus Tennessee with five touchdowns, no interceptions and a 137.2 quarterback rating. Jarvis Landry’s 25 receptions are tied for fifth-best in the league, although he is averaging just 6.6 yards per catch.
1. Hurricane Irma forced the postponement of the regularly scheduled home opener for Miami, which would love to duplicate its impressive 6-2 mark from last season at Hard Rock Stadium.
2. Tennessee has allowed an NFL fourth-worst 275 yards passing this season.
3. The Dolphins are one of four teams (Chicago, Oakland and the New York Giants) that have yet to record an interception.
PREDICTION: Titans 17, Dolphins 14