The Titans head to Buffalo a solid 9.5 point underdog against the high flying Bills on Monday Night Football.
In other words, the Titans have the Bills right where they want them.
Mike Vrabel’s Titans have made a habit of winning games they are not supposed including beating the Bills, Chiefs and Rams a year ago.
“I think for the most part we are usually always underdogs,” said Titans safety Kevin Byard. “There’s not a lot of games, especially these kind of match-ups where we are going to be picked to win.”
The Titans are 30-19 all-time against the Bills and have beaten Josh Allen and company the last two times they have met. Both of those games were in Nashville and Monday night they will be in Buffalo.
Buffalo is not a normal place, the fans warm up for games by jumping through tables. So we can just say nicely, they are committed to their team.
Titans quarterback Ryan Tannehill used to play in Buffalo every year when he was with the Dolphins and knows what the Titans are in for.
“It’s a rowdy crowd and it’s a football atmosphere,” he said. “You think about just going into a hostile environment where the fans are loud and they’re into the game. No matter what’s happening in the game, they’re going to be loud. They’re riled up in the parking lot pregame, so definitely a great football atmosphere that challenges you offensively.”
Tannehill has more to overcome than the crowd. He also has to figure out a way to get the ball to his play makers more consistently. Last week in the Titans 21-20 loss to the Giants, receiver Robert Woods and tight end Austin Hooper each had only one reception. That will not be good enough against the high powered offense.
“Every game is going to be a little bit different. Sometimes Robert Woods is going to get more targets, sometimes it is going to be Treylon (Burks). Sometimes it’s times going to be (Austin) Hooper. Sometimes it is going to be Kyle (Philips). It’s going to vary week to week, but we have a lot of confidence in our guys and know that we’re able to spread the ball around and try to find whoever is open,” Tannehill said.
One guy who will certainly get the ball is Derrick Henry. Henry has torched the Bills for 200 yards rushing and five touchdowns in their last two match-ups.
Bills coach Sean McDermott knows exactly what is coming and it is 6-foot, 3-inches and 250 pounds. “Well, he’s an elite player, he’s hard to stop. It hasn’t been just our defense. I’ll give them credit, they have an elite player there and they use him well so we have to do a better job of controlling the line of scrimmage.”
Defensively for the Titans all centers around the quarterback Josh Allen. He is an elite passer and also probably the Bills best rusher. Titans linebackers David Long and Zach Cunningham have to be prepared to pounce if Allen leaves the pocket.
“Everybody plays a role in that,” said head coach Mike Vrabel, “It’s a fine line between being able to rush him but then also try to corral him in places where he can’t hurt you. He’s got a great pump fake, a great stiff arm, then the ability and the arm talent to throw the ball wherever he wants it while on the move. We will have to have a good plan.”
Injuries will also play a roll for the Titans who are battling the bug again. Cornerback Kristian Fulton is not expected to play against a Buffalo offense that boasts both Stefan Diggs and Gabriel Davis. Davis scored two touchdowns in the Bills opening win at the Rams.