Location: Hard Rock Stadium
Time/Watch: 1:00 PM ET/Fox
Matchup to Watch: Dolphins Defensive Line vs. Titans Offensive Line
What to Expect:
This is an intriguing Week 1 matchup for the Titans. It is the assumption that Titans starting right tackle Jack Conklin will not play in week one. This will put a lot of pressure on his assumed replacement, Dennis Kelly. We have seen the good, bad and ugly from Kelly during his tenure with Tennessee. My fingers are crossed for the good because Miami’s defensive line will be a challenge for Tennessee. Any team that has Cameron Wake and Robert Quinn on it is a force to be reckoned with. Regardless of if Conklin plays or not, look for the Titans to weather the storm in terms the Dolphins pass rush. Whether it’s by outstanding offensive line play or well-timed screens from LaFleur, I think the Titans have this covered.
As far as the Titans offensive game plan goes, I don’t think anyone really knows how they’ll approach it. Throughout the preseason they only used basic sets, so their offense is a well-kept secret to this point. Against a defensive line like Miami’s one would assume that the run will be a key to the game, as well as screen passes. Look for both Henry and Lewis to play pivotal roles in this game.
The Titans secondary has talent at a level that they haven’t seen in quite some time. Most secondaries have a weak spot. Where is the weak spot with Malcolm Butler, Adoree’ Jackson, Logan Ryan, Kevin Byard, and Kenny Vaccaro? If they stay healthy, they could make a case to be a top secondary in the league. This would do wonders for the Titans pass rush, which is already good, to begin with. Look for them to take over this game with the Dolphins already missing their starting wide receiver DeVante Parker.
Marcus Mariota has been talked about in great depth this offseason. Was he alone to blame for his struggles last year? Was it a fluke year, can he bounce back? We’ve heard it all, and I am confident that he will bounce back better than ever. With Corey Davis finally healthy, and Rishard Matthews and Delaine Walker back out there, look for Mariota to shine.
We should all be excited for Week 1 of the regular season. Starting it off with a victory will help boost team confidence, not that they lack it. All eyes will be on Matt LaFleur as he calls play in his first meaningful game in Tennessee.
Prediction: Titans 24 Dolphins 16