Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Tennessee Titans vs Miami Dolphins: MIA -6 (5Dimes)


The Dolphins win streak was snapped in Week 9, but the look-ahead line was still adjusted thanks to an abysmal game from the Titans.  Last week Miami were -5 favorites, but they opened at -6 when the Week 10 lines were rolled out Sunday evening.  I still don't think that's enough.

If I was setting this line I would start at -7.5.  I see very little reason to give Tennessee any kind of respect in this spread.  Anything below -7 has value. 

Ryan Tannehill Who?

With the ESPN hype machines of the world going 24/7 over Andrew Luck and RG3 this season, it's easy to overlook a guy like Ryan Tannehill.  He gets some credit for the Miami Dolphins success this season, but by no means is he being heralded as a savoir the way the other two are.

But let's get real here. Do you know the Dolphins wide receivers are?  If you are a fantasy football player, you'll sure know the name Brian Hartline, but I'm guessing the rest of the masses haven't exactly caught onto what's going on with this offense.

Now I'm not about to sit here and blow smoke where the sun don't shine, but the Dolphins offense has far exceeded everybody's expectations - including my own.  At the moment, they rank right there in the middle of the pack in every meaningful statistical rating.

This week they have the benefit of going up against one of the worst defenses in the entire NFL.  The Titans rank dead last in drive success rate, which measures how often drives result in first downs or touchdowns.  In other words, this team can't get off the field on third down or stop anybody inside the 20.

Recency Effect?

There is no doubt that people might look at the Dolphins defense and wonder just what happened last week against the Colts.  That's a fair question because the players or coaches don't know either.  They tried man-to-man and zone coverages all game long and couldn't stop the force known as Andrew Luck.

Is it time to panic?  Heck no.  You have to accept that games like that are going to happen over the course of the season.  What's much more important is that the Dolphins defense ranks near the top against the run.  Without an effective Chris Johnson, the Titans offense relies much too heavily on Matt Hasselbeck.  The only thing Hasselbeck is happy about this season is that his offensive line has held up pretty good in pass protection, but other than that there isn't a whole lot to be excited about.

UPDATE: Jake Locker has been declared the starter this week. This doesn't change my opinion of the game and could even be better news for us.  He might have more raw athletic ability, but I'll gladly take his erratic mechanics on the road vs a good defense.

Sure Kendall Wright is coming along and Kenny Britt is back healthy, but as soon as things begin to go bad this offense folds.  Their special teams haven't been as good this season and the average starting field position hasn't been favorable either.  Without help from the defense, this offense must earn everything it gets. 

The Dolphins defense have been borderline excellent in the make-or-break categories this year and I expect a nice bounce back effort here.


I was a little hesitant about this pick at first for the simple reason that Miami seems to have a home/road dichotomy going on.  Over recent years they've played much better on the road than at home and the jury is still out whether or not that is the case this season.

What calmed my concerns was the fact that the Titans are heading into their bye week after this.  Once again, last week both teams heading into the bye lost their games straight up and against the spread (Arizona and Green Bay cancelled each other out).  This means that teams heading into the bye are 3-17 ATS this season.  Variance or not, that's a significant number.

Making this situation even worse for the Titans is what is coming out of the locker room.  Jordan Babineaux shrugged off questions from reporters after Week 9 and finally told them to go ask the coaches what the problems are.  The week prior Jared Cook openly asked for a trade.

Bottom Line

This is one of those no-brainer picks on the card that always seems to look too good to be true.  All the arrows point in the Dolphins direction and we seem to be getting a favorable number.  Yet, I think people would agree that there's still something not right about Miami laying six points - especially at home.  The crazy thing is, I think they should be favored by over a touchdown.

NFL Pick: MIA -6.

More Week 10 NFL picks.