5. Derrick Henry
After two weeks over 13 carries or more and a combined 146 yards and a touchdown, Henry had seven runs and only six yards in Week 4 against the Houston Texans. DeMarco Murray didn’t fare too much better, only rushing for 31 yards on seven carries.
With Marcus Mariota playing banged up, or veteran backup Matt Cassel starting this week, all the Titans will want to do is run the ball. Even if Mariota does go, he will be very limited and the team will want to protect him as much as possible.
If Cassel plays, an ideal situation would for Tennessee is for him to throw under 20 passes and the volume to be heavy on the ground – that means more of Murray and more of Henry.
Miami, so far, has one of the best rushing defenses in the league. They’ve allowed just 77.7 yards per game which puts them fourth in the NFL. Their passing defense is a different story – they are 27th in the league, and in an ideal world, Tennessee would have a healthy quarterback and take to the air. But it’s not going to be that way, and the Titans will want to establish the ground game.
Miami’s defense has faced Melvin Gordon and the Los Angeles Chargers (who are a bottom-four running team right now), the New York Jets with a struggling Matt Forte, and the New Orleans Saints (one of the most pass-happy teams in the NFL), so their run defense numbers may be misleading. Henry has a 4.6 yards per carry average this year and is pushing for more carries. He might steal some yards and a score this week.