Titans at Dolphins -- Week 10

Where: Sun Life Stadium, Miami Gardens, Fla. (grass)

When: Sunday, 1 p.m. ET (CBS)

Spread: Miami by 6

Forecast: Mid-70s, 18 mph wind

Records -- Dolphins (4-4, AFC East: 1-1); Titans (3-6, AFC South: 0-2)

Past results: Two most recent meetings -- Nov. 14, 2010: Miami 29, Titans 17; Dec. 20, 2009: Tennessee 27, Dolphins 24 (OT). Series record: Dolphins lead 18-15.

What matters: If the Dolphins want to be a contender for an AFC wild card berth, they must win at home against one of the worst teams in the conference. Miami is coming off a loss at Indianapolis that saw it lose a halftime lead. A visit from the Titans could be what the Dolphins need to build momentum.   

Who matters: Rookie QB Ryan Tannehill didn’t show any signs of being slowed by a leg injury, going 22 of 38 for 290 yards and a touchdown against the Colts. He has completed 57.9 percent of his passes for 1,726 yards with five touchdowns against six interceptions this season. DE Cameron Wake continues to terrorize opposing quarterbacks as he has at least one sack in five straight games. The former Penn State standout has 8.5 sacks during his recent hot streak and has been stout against the run with 27 tackles this season.

Key matchups: CB Sean Smith is struggling. The veteran played well against Bengals WR A.J. Green and Arizona WR Larry Fitzgerald but was torched repeatedly last week by several Colts receivers. Smith, who has two interceptions, will have his work cut out for him against Titans WR Nate Washington, who has 30 catches for 478 yards and four touchdowns.

Injuries of note: DT Tony McDaniel (knee) and WR Davone Bess (non-football) missed practice Thursday. LB Koa Misi (calf), C Mike Pouncey (knee), DT Paul Soliai (ankle) and TE Jeron Mastrud (hamstring) were limited.

Inside stuff: Rookie DE Olivier Vernon is seeing more of the field thanks to his play on special teams. The third-round draft pick has blocked a field goal and recovered a blocked punt for a touchdown. He also has 16 tackles, 2.5 sacks and two forced fumbles. Expect him to be unleashed against the Titans.

Stat you should know: 16. Catches on third down for WR Bess, the fifth-most in the NFL. The former Hawaii star excels in the slot and is known for his precise short crossing routes.

Looking ahead: The Dolphins can’t afford to lose this one. After a trip to Buffalo next Thursday the team has consecutive games against the Seahawks, Patriots and 49ers. A loss at home against the lowly Titans would be devastating as Miami’s margin for error is going to get much slimmer in the coming weeks. The Dolphins must handle their business at home before focusing on several marquee matchups. A loss to New England or San Francisco is understandable. A loss to the Titans is unforgivable.

Prediction: Dolphins 23, Titans 17

For more up-to-the-minute news and analysis on the Miami Dolphins from blogger Dave Carey, follow @CBSDolphins