The Tennessee Titans kick off the Mike Vrabel era Sunday at noon against the Dolphins in South Florida.
The Titans and Vrabel are a one-point favorite against Miami despite a winless preseason that saw them shelter injured players and hide most of their new offense and defense.
Regardless of who the coach has been the Titans have been road warriors on opening day winning 5 straight road openers.
The Dolphins enter 2018 with major question marks after releasing defensive stat Ndomukong Suh and trading star receiver Jarvis Landry. Quarterback Ryan Tannehill is back after missing all of last season with an injury.
The Titans will also have to contend with running back Kenyan Drake who had 444 yards rushing over the last 4 weeks of last season, that led the NFL. Tennessee’s rush defense has led the NFL over the last two years combined though. That defense was led by the legendary Dick Lebeau though, Sunday they will be led for the first time by Dean Pees.
Defensively Miami’s biggest threat comes from the edges with defensive ends Cameron Wake and Robert Quinn. Wake has 92.5 career sacks and Quinn 62.5.
Pro Bowl tackle Taylor Lewan will be expected to handle Quinn, but look for Dennis Kelly to get plenty of help on the right side with Wake.
A lot of eyes will be on Titans QB Marcus Mariota as he tries to handle his third offense in only his fourth NFL season. He had two TD’s and one interception in very limited time in the preseason.
New running back Dion Lewis and tight end Delanie Walker should be mismatches Mariota can exploit in the passing game, but a lot is also expected from a healthy Corey Davis who finished his rookie season with two TD’s at New England. Davis has been injury plagued since he was taken 5th overall in the 2017 NFL Draft, but Vrabel was very careful with him in training camp and Davis says he feels better than he has at any point in his career.
It’s one of sixteen for the Titans, but it looms large with Houston, Jacksonville and Super Bowl champion Philadelphia to follow.