Dolphins vs. Titans NFL Week 17 Picks and Predictions

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A.J. Brown #11 of the Tennessee Titans celebrates. Dylan Buell/Getty Images/AFP.

The Miami Dolphins head to Tennessee to take on the Titans in a game full of playoff implications. Both teams need to get the victory, which team is the right NFL pick?

Miami Dolphins vs. Tennessee Titans 

Sunday, January 02, 2022 – 01:00 PM EST at Nissan Stadium

Miami Dolphins

After a 1-7 start, the Miami Dolphins ran off a six-game winning streak to put themselves back into the playoff hunt. Coach Brian Flores has to be given credit for not allowing the team to give up on itself. Quarterback Tua Tagovailoa has become better as the season ensues. Tagovailoa currently leads the NFL in completion percentage at 69.9%.

Tua Tagovailoa has had an interesting career so far as a member of the Miami Dolphins. Originally “Tank for Tua” was the slogan, but an injury to his hip caused him to drop in the draft. Tua was drafted #5 overall by the Miami Dolphins after being projected as the surefire #1 pick. After suffering a hip injury in his last year at Alabama, Tagovailoa has lost a little bit of the zip on his deep ball, but week by week the zip appears to be coming back.

With Jaylen Waddle, DeVante Parker, and Mike Gesicki, the Dolphins definitely have the weapons around Tua to make him the leader of a potent offense. Dolphins fans hope that Tua continues his development and becomes a top quarterback.

The Miami Dolphins defense has an excellent secondary led by Xavien Howard and Byron Jones. Both men are excellent man-to-man defenders and play strong zone coverage, giving Dolphins coach Brian Flores versatility when setting his defensive schemes. The ability of Howard and Jones to excel in man coverage allows the Dolphins to bring blitz packages more often.

This has resulted in their defense becoming more stingy as the season progresses. The Dolphins' 42% blitz rate leads the NFL, and yields a 34.3% pressure rate (12th), according to Pro Football Focus. Just like quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, the Dolphins’ defense has also improved as the season has progressed.

Tennessee Titans

The Titans will come into this game with extra rest. Their last game was on Thursday night where they beat the San Francisco 49ers at home 20-17. The hard-fought win was the Titans’ style of football. The game was won in the trenches and hard-hitting, with the run game dominating the tempo. The Titans do rely on the run, but the big story and reason for celebration for the Titans was the return of wide receiver A.J. Brown.

The Titans were rolling along looking to be Super Bowl contenders before injuries to the three offensive playmakers, A.J. Brown, Julio Jones, and Derrick Henry scuttled the team's offensive output. While only one of these men has returned, A.J. Brown's return to the lineup signified the return of the Titans’ offense.

Titans quarterback Ryan Tannehill has looked so much better with A.J. Brown in the lineup as he relies on him to get open on important third-down conversions. With A.J. Brown back in the lineup the Titans’ offense is much more explosive.

The Titans' defense is 15th in points per game allowed, but they are especially tough against the run. They have allowed the second least rushing yards this season. They are also 9th in the league in red-zone touchdown percentage. While they may give up big plays through the air, they are tough at the goal line.

Key Matchup

A.J. Brown vs. the Dolphins secondary. The Dolphins will most likely not shadow A.J. Brown and allow Howard and Jones to work against whichever side of the field he lines up on. This is the advantage of having such a talented secondary. Regardless of who Brown lines up against, it will be incumbent on the Dolphins to not let A.J. Brown have a big game because Brown is so important to what the Titans want to do offensively.

If Brown is able to have a big game against the Dolphins secondary, the Titans have a great chance of victory.

If the Dolphins shut down Brown, they have a great chance to win the game.

Best Bet

I believe the NFL odds of -3.5 are the correct number for the Titans and while they should be rightfully favored, I don't believe there's an edge on betting the side. Therefore I will attack the total which is sitting at 41.5 as of this writing.

These two defenses will make this a low-scoring game and we will see a lot of running which will lead to fewer offensive plays being run. With both teams playing stout defense and trying to control the tempo of the game by running the ball, the under is the best bet for this game.

NFL Pick: Dolphins/Titans Under 41.5 (-110) at BetOnline (visit our BetOnline Review)

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Dolphins/Titans Under 41.5 (-110)
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*The line and/or odds on picks in this article might have moved since the content was commissioned. For updated line movements, visit BMR’s free betting odds product.