It's going to be 38° in Nashville when the Dolphins and Titans kick off today at 1:00 (CBS).
Colder still will be their playoffs chances if the Dolphins don't win -- too many unlikely things would have to happen for their hopes to be realized.
But prevail today, and two possibilities unfold: the Dolphins take the lead in the AFC East if Jacksonville defeats New England, and hop the Jags in the wild card standings if New England beats Jacksonville.
The Dolphins, of course, would take either scenario. But there's a saying about a cart, and the Titans have some horses.
Try a handful of oats? The Dolphins must limit Tennessee RB/Freakazoid Chris Johnson, who's made of steel, wiring, ball bearings, and jet pack. But the good guys, who limited MJD to 59 yards last week, take pride in stopping the run, know exactly what they need to do, and have enough veteran experience to remain calm. It won't be easy -- Johnson's got 1,626 yards on the year, so "limit" is relative -- but it's half the battle.
The other half is Vince Young, sure to play today despite reports of limited practices. The Titans went 0-6 with Kerry Collins at the helm to start; since Young regained his starting spot they've gone 6-1. Oh, he'll play, alright, even if he has to do it held together with an actual ham and actual string, so the Dolphins need to stick a spy on him at all times. Even right now, in warmups. And next week. Until he retires, actually. Spy, spy, spy.
Turnovers are for apples. The Dolphins ought to stitch that on pillows and force players to sleep on it at night. Miami has yet to play a game in incliment weather, and a hard, frozen football could prove difficult -- especially for Ricky Williams, who fumbled thrice last week. Giving Tennessee too much time on the field isn't a good idea when the Miami defense has so much on its plate (not to mention so many miles on the tires).
Set Robot to "Destroy." Today should be a day that earns Chad Henne a ticker tape parade for awesomeness and a key to the city: the Titans are 31st against the pass, allowing over 250 yards through the air. If the oft-maligned Miami receivers can't put together a decent offensive performance today, they should be made to walk home. In the snow. Carrying their own equipment. And then forced to buy Henne dinner.
Henne's progress shows he's got the goods to make a day of it. 2,067 passing yards and 9 TDs on the season, and poise so unnerving one wonders if who'd win a chess match between Henne and Ted Williams' frozen head (but one also doesn't care, so long as the Dolphins are winning). Just fling it, please!
Matchup to watch: Pinch-nose tackle Paul Soliai will face off against 39-year-old Titans center Kevin Mawae. Mawae may be old, but he's the key to running Chris Johnson up the middle when it happens. Soliai will have his hands full, and we can only hope they won't be full of air or dirt: it's just his third game starting, ever.
Run, Ricky, Run: With 25 yards today, Ricky Williams will become the 7th player in NFL history to reach 1,000 yards on a season after turning 32. Today, we are all long-distance mind healers.
Sean Smith Tweet o' the Week: "They said, "Sean, when do u kno WHEN to turn ur SWAGG on for gameday?"... Turn it on? I didnt kno it had a "off" switch,I stay SWAGG ON Lol"
Fearess prediction: Two once-improbable playoff contenders hitting each other at full speed is a tough call. But cold, Chris Johnson, and a barreling Titans squad at home take this one, 24-21.