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Will Miami tighten its grip on playoff berth vs. No. 2 seed Tennessee? – Twin Cities

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Dolphins (8-7) at Titans (10-5), Sunday, 1 p.m., CBS

Latest line: Titans are favored by 3 1/2 points; over/under is 40.

Dave Hyde, Sports Columnist (Season record: 10-5): Titans 20, Dolphins 17

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On the road, in the cold, against the No. 2 seed in the AFC, it’s hard to pick the Dolphins winning. Tennessee has warts, though, starting with an offense this red-hot Dolphins defense can upend. If that’s the case, and if Tua Tagovailoa plays mistake-free, you can see the path to an upset. But Tennessee is the favorite by Vegas oddsmakers for a reason.

Omar Kelly, Dolphins Columnist (Season record: 11-4): Dolphins 21, Titans 17

These are the types of games that build legacies, and change a franchise’s trajectory. Tua Tagovailoa was taken 5th in the 2020 draft because these are the situations where he thrives. Tagovailoa has been more than efficient, leading the NFL in completion percentage (70.1). His favorite target, Jaylen Waddle, needs six receptions to break the rookie record of 101 set by Anquan Boldin in 2003. Waddle has had at least eight catches in four straight games.

David Furones, Dolphins Writer (Season record: 11-4): Dolphins 20, Titans 16

Tennessee’s four more days of rest and preparation is concerning with Miami playing Monday night and the Titans the previous Thursday. But Tennessee simply isn’t the same without star RB Derrick Henry. Since he went down with an injury, the Titans are 4-3. They’re still a physical team that can run the ball, but the way Miami’s defense is playing, they should stop the run and fluster Ryan Tannehill with pressure and different looks. I also trust Tua Tagovailoa to manage the game wisely. The season’s late bye and relative health should also help the Dolphins coming off the short week.

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Kathy Laughlin, Sports Editor (Season record: 10-5): Dolphins 27, Titans 24

This will be tight, and don’t believe Ryan Tannehill when he says he’s only focused on looking ahead. As much as the former Dolphins QB wants to win every week, he would take extra pleasure in pounding the team that gave up on him — before he found success in Tennessee. The Dolphins’ defense will have its hands full. If Miami can get even a small a spark of running game to take a little pressure off Tua Tagovailoa, the Dolphins should be able to extend their winning streak to eight and keep their playoff hopes alive.

Keven Lerner, Assistant Sports Editor (Season record: 9-6): Titans 24, Dolphins 20

Ryan Tannehill, who the Dolphins drafted in 2012, is poised to exact revenge on the team that traded him to Tennessee in 2019. Tannehill has an NFL-best 13 game-winning drives since then. He also has been sacked 45 times this season, second most in the league. While the Dolphins lead the NFL with 45 sacks, including 33 in the last seven games, Titans coach Mike Vrabel will have a plan in place to slow down Miami’s pass rush. Tennessee can clinch a second straight AFC South title and third straight playoff berth with a win.

Steve Svekis, Assistant Sports Editor (Season record: 9-6): Titans 20, Dolphins 12

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The Dolphins will be against the elements and a physical Titans team that boasts a quarterback in Ryan Tannehill, who, even with his shortcomings, is superior to any quarterback the Dolphins have faced in almost two months. The Dolphins offense has averaged just 18.5 points a game this year, and only 14.1 points a game against teams with a winning record. The forecast is for a high of 35 degrees with wind up to 18 mph.



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