NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – Titans (3-0) and Bills (4-0) tonight is finally a reality so it might actually be a good time to talk about who wins this game and why.
First off the Titans have not played in 16 days, they have had over 20 members of their organization test positive for COVID-19 and been drug through the mud by the national media. It has been a tough two weeks emotionally for the two-tone blue and that in itself is going to be a lot to overcome.
So is the Buffalo offense. While the Titans defense is really struggling to start the year, 30th overall and 31st against the run, the Bills are sizzling on offense behind the new and improved Josh Allen. Allen struggled mightily with accuracy and turnovers his first three years in the NFL, but this year with the addition of Stefon Diggs to the receiving corps he is connecting at a blistering 70% completion rate and has 12 touchdowns to just 1 interception. Allen is almost unrecognizable and a Titan defense that might be without Jeffery Simmons, Kamalei Correa and Kristian Fulton might be as well.
Diggs has clearly made the difference for the Bills coming into the weekend with 26 receptions and an NFL leading 403 yard. How do the Titans slow Diggs down when they were just torched for 7 receptions and 175 yards by the rookie who was drafted to replace him in Minnesota. Malcolm Butler is likely going to need over the top help from safety Kevin Byard, the question is does that further hurt a struggling run defense?
Offensively the Titans passing attack sees the return of AJ Brown, but now goes on without Corey Davis and Adam Humphries who are both on the Reserve/Covid List. Brown has been out for weeks with a knee injury and has no time to shake off rust, he has to produce immediately. Kalief Raymond is also forced into a much larger roll for the Titans and likely has to take on some of the underneath routs Humprhies normally runs. It could be a huge game for the Titan tight ends though, look for Ryan Tannehill to target Jonnu Smith and Anthony Firkser much more than normal in this one.
In the run game, Derrick Henry is likely to become the first player since OJ Simpson to top 25 carries in the first four games of the season, but he may find those game-breaking runs tough to come by thanks to COVID-19. His top blocker receiver (Davis, tight end (MyCole Pruitt) and his fullback (Khari Blasingame) are started gameday on the Reserve/Covid List. With the Titans lack of numbers, they need a huge game from Henry to make the game as short as possible and keep the defense off the field.
It is also time for the Titans to find a pass rush. Harold Landry, Jadeveon Clowney and Victor Beasley have brought some pressure, but tonight they need to bring the heat or they could find themselves in a shootout they are not equipped to keep up with.
Check out the roster tonight, you could see something you rarely ever see, the Titans very well could take the field without a full 53 man roster.