Free NFL Picks: Tennessee at Miami 11-14-2010

November 11, 2010

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Tennessee Titans at Miami Dolphins

Sunday November 14th, 2010 1:00 PM EST

Line: Tennessee -2

Overview:

The 5-3 Tennessee Titans know the Colts are wounded. While key players are banged up in Indy, the Titans will look to separate themselves from the rest of AFC South. That mission begins in Miami, where the 4-4 Dolphins have survived the onslaught of elite NFL teams they recently endured. Both teams are undergoing major changes in their offense. It will be interesting to see how the experiments work.

Keys to the Game:

  • Randy Moss has arrived. The Titans picked up Moss on the waiver wire after he was let go by the Vikings. Moss is still one of the best receivers in the NFL. The Titans are already scary on offense, with the addition of Moss, the Titans become one of the scariest offenses in the league. The Titans have enjoyed limited success through the air this year, but the combination of Moss and Kenny Britt- that will form when Britt is healthy- creates a fearsome receiving duo. Moss gives Vince Young an elite future hall of famer to get the ball to. While Young will benefit from the Moss acquisition, nobody will benefit from it more than Chris Johnson.
  • Chris Johnson came into the 2010 season with the goal of reaching 2,500 yards. He has regressed from his 2009 form, though he is still having an outstanding year. Johnson is on pace to hit 1442 yards rushing. That is an outstanding season, but with Randy Moss joining Tennessee, the field is going to be stretched. Teams cannot load up eight in the box with such a dominant receiver on the outside. If Moss reverts back to his New England days, which is highly likely, he will command the respect of opposing defenses. While Chris Johnson is still going to be the priority, they will never lose sight of Randy Moss. Having such a dominant running back will also bode well for Moss, who has had his stellar career without a guy like Johnson in the backfield.
  • Chad Henne out, Chad Pennington in. Pennington, or coach Pennington as some of his teammates call him, does not have an NFL arm, but he commands an offense in such a way that quarterback Chad Henne cannot. Henne has actually performed considerably well this season, but his three interceptions in a big loss to Baltimore made the Dolphins seek Pennington’s leadership rather than Henne’s arm. This is a critical juncture in the season, so sticking with a struggling Henne for even one extra week could prove to be fatal to the Dolphins season. One major concern that arises with the Pennington substitution is how effective he can be with Brandon Marshall.
  • Marshall6-4 230 pound specimen. While Marshall has hauled in 52 passes this season, only seven have been for over 20 yards. Marshall has speed, but it is not his speed that makes him such a force. He is a possession receiver who makes a living off of being sure handed and picking up YAC yards. This makes him a perfect fit for a Chad Pennington offense. While the Dolphins pulling Henne is questionable to say the least, Pennington should be able to take full advantage of having Marshall at wide out. On the other side of the field, Davone Bess has also had a big year, hauling in 44 catches of his own. Chad Pennington will need to build on the success Henne has had at distributing the ball.
  • Vince Young has a better quarterback rating than Peyton Manning. That isn’t because Vince Young is the same caliber quarterback, but is due to the fact that teams constantly focus on the run game to a point where sure fire completions are inevitable. The same can be said for David Garard, who also has a better rating than Manning. While this may seem odd, you can expect Young’s rating to go down with the Moss acquisition. Teams will now have to play Tennessee honest, which is going to mean more throws for Young and more shots down field. Young has thrown nine touchdowns and only two interceptions. With Moss streaking down the field, Vince Young is going to be able to buy time with his legs and hit Moss for huge gainers. The Titans have become the ultimate sandlot football team. This is going to be exciting to watch.
  • Cameron Wake is the key to shutting down the Titans offense. While Vince Young may not scramble as much as he has in the past, he still likes to get move around on the football field. Cameron Wake is fantastic at setting a hard edge, making it impossible for quarterbacks and running backs to break contain. This forces everything in the middle, where the strength of a 3-4 defense lies. Wake relentlessly pursues quarterbacks and has dropped the opposing QB 8.5 times already this season, including twice last week. If Wake can get in Young’s mind like the Steelers did earlier in the season, the Titans are in for a long day.
  • The Titans always seem to find a way to get to the quarterback. Quietly having a career year is Jason Babin, who has seven sacks already. On the other side, Dave Ball has racked up six sacks of his own this season. The Dolphins usually can count on Jake Long to completely dominate the defense’s blindside pass rusher, but having multiple players that can get to the quarterback presents a problem for Miami.

Wrap Up:

The Dolphins are 0-3 at home. It is going to be interesting to see how the offense changes with the additions of Pennington and Randy Moss into their respective starting lineups. I like the Titans, simply because Chris Johnson just got more dangerous with the addition of Moss. Pennington is in for a long day. He needs to prove to his coaches that they haven’t made a mistake by relying on a veteran to pull them into playoff contention.

Free NFL Pick: Tennessee -2


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