NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – The search for consistency takes the Tennessee Titans back to Nissan Stadium Sunday where they host the Buffalo Bills.
The Titans have been up and down easily handling Atlanta and Cleveland while struggling offensively against Jacksonville and Indianapolis.
The Bills are 3-1 after a narrow loss to the Patriots last week.
These are two of the top two defenses in the NFL making turnovers and field position a priority.
Last week in a 24-7 win Atlanta the Titans avoided 3 and outs on offense and pinned the Falcons deep all day.
“I think it’s huge.” Said Titans head coach Mike Vrabel, “I think that the players can see it that when we get stops, or turnovers, or fourth-down conversions, or good special teams returns that you work on a short field, it’s hard against any defense to drive the ball 85, 90 yards, so I think the team builds off of it. They understand to play good defense, get them down there, move the ball a little bit on offense, punt, use our punter to do his job, and our punt team to do their job, defense doesn’t allow a first down, and then we get the ball back on the 45-yard line like we did last week.”
To do that the Titans will once again have to avoid negative plays. In the first 3 weeks of the season quarterback Marcus Mariota was sacked 17 times, but last week he finished without going down a single time. The Titans pass protection also gets a boost this week with the return of Pro Bowl tackle Taylor Lewan.
The turnover story for the Titans has been an interesting one. Mariota is the only starting QB in the league without a turnover and while the Titans have lost only one fumble they have put it on the ground eight times.
The Bills have been plagued by turnovers this season handing it over 10 times.
Saturday Bills quarterback Josh Allen was finally cleared from the league’s concussion protocol and is expected to start over backup Matt Barkley.
Allen has one of the NFL’s strongest arms, but has also shown to be a dangerous runner.
Vrabel says Allen’s legs put a lot of stress in the defense, “It’s an equalizer. They run him a lot, and he runs a lot. So, those got-to-have-it situations, it’s just a numbers game. They’ve added one more number to the play than what you normally would have. So, we’re going to have to do a great job of getting off blocks, and defeating blocks.”
The Titans also face 36-year old Frank Gore who just passed 15,000 career yards and is also averaging a lofty 4.5 yards per carry.
The Titans offense will once again lean on a healthy dose of Derrick Henry but will also look to build in last week’s performance that saw wide receivers Corey Davis and AJ Brown combine for three touchdowns. That will be difficult against one of the league’s tougher cornerback combinations. The Bills held Tom Brady to 18 of 39 last week so Mariota and company have their hands full.
The Titans have been a 3 point favorite all week.