The Tennessee Titans (3-2) host the Buffalo Bills (4-1) for the first Monday Night Football game at Nissan Stadium since 2017.
Last season’s meeting with Buffalo was a challenge for the Titans due to a COVID-19 outbreak that created a gap of 16 days leading up to the matchup with the Bills, which the Titans won 42-16.
This time around, a long layoff is not the challenge entering this contest. In 2021, the toughest task for the Titans is facing the Bills themself, one of the top teams in the NFL.
We have seen what Josh Allen and the Buffalo offense are capable of doing, as the Bills lead the league in scoring with 34.4 points per game. With playmakers such as Stefon Diggs, Emmanuel Sanders, and Dawson Knox, a Brentwood native, the Bills offense has not disappointed.
What has really stood out about this Bill team is their defense. Through five weeks, here are the statistical categories that they currently lead the league in: yards per game, yards per play, passing yards per play, interception rate, punt return average, points per game, point differential per game, and yard differential per game. Throw two shutouts into the equation and that makes for a really good five game stretch for this Bills defense.
As for the Titans, it will be interesting to see what the injury report looks like as we approach Monday night. No Julio Jones the last two games, but he returned to practice this week. Let’s see if Ryan Tannehill can get both of his top targets back on the field together for the first time since Week 3.
While we have come to expect Derrick Henry to have huge performances, which he routinely does, keep an eye on how Buffalo fairs against the league’s leading rusher. In three games against Buffalo, Henry averages 3.8 yards per carry, down from his career average of 4.9 yards per rush, and his highest rushing total is 78 yards against the Bills back in 2019.
This game against Buffalo is the first of two big home games in six days for the Titans. Should be a fun one under the lights on Monday night.
Buffalo Bills (4-1) @ Tennessee Titans (3-2)
Game Time: 7:15 pm CDT
Location: Nashville, TN (Nissan Stadium)
TV Broadcast Crew: Steve Levy, Brian Griese, Louis Riddick, Lisa Salters, and John Parry
Radio: Titans Radio, 104-5 The Zone
Radio Broadcast Crew: Mike Keith, Dave McGinnis, Amie Wells, Rhett Bryan
Referee: Clete Blakeman
Line: Buffalo -4.5
Over/ Under: 53.5
Attending the Game?
Charitable Drive: Book’em book drive – new to gently used children’s books (ages 0-18)
Giveaway: Blue pompoms
12th Titan: Sheryl Crow
National Anthem: Fisk Jubilee Singers
Halftime Performance: The Cadillac Three
Three Things to Watch
Battle for Big Plays – With playmakers such as Josh Allen, Stefon Diggs, Derrick Henry, A.J. Brown, and several others featured in this matchup, you can certainly expect some highlight plays taking place. Through five games, the Titans are tied with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at 85 plays that gain 10 or more yards, which is the most in the NFL. This past weekend on Sunday Night Football, Buffalo had 14 plays of 10 or more yards and seven snaps that gained 20+ yards. The real question might be: who can prevent the big plays from happening? Both the Titans and the Bills are in the top five for the fewest plays of 10 or more yards allowed, with Buffalo leading the league with just 47 such plays this season. Will be interesting to watch which team receives the biggest boost from big plays.
Facing a Mobile QB, Again – It might sound like a broken record at this point, but this Titans defense has to defend against another mobile quarterback in Josh Allen. Looking at the rushing statistics for opposing quarterbacks, 18 carries for 62 yards, 3.4 yards per carry, and two touchdowns shows that passers have not been running around the field against this Titans defense. The real impact that mobile quarterbacks have had is making off schedule plays. With Josh Allen, you get both. Allen has 35 carries for 188 yards and 2 touchdowns and has only been sacked five times. Averaging 5.4 yards per carry, he is a legitimate part of the Bills running game. The current NFL MVP front runner will present a challenge to this Titans defense, both in the air and on the ground.
In Control from the Get Go – Both Tennessee and Buffalo are top five in the league in time of possession and rushing yards per game. Those two statistics tell me that if either team has a lead, it is difficult to play from behind. Moving the chains and the clock simultaneously limits the number of possessions, which when you are facing a red hot offense like the Bills, is ideal. Buffalo has done a good job building a lead early in games, having outscored their first five opponents 38-3 in the first quarter. To combat this trend of fast starts, the Titans could benefit from being the team that dictates how this game is played. You probably can not count on a defensive touchdown a minute into the game like the Titans got last week in Jacksonville, but a quick score or a big defensive stop could set the right tone early in the ball game.
Did You Know?
- While the Titans dominated the Bills last season with a 42-16 victory on a Tuesday night, the series history with Buffalo includes many tightly contested games between the two sides. In the Titans Era, Buffalo and Tennessee have played one another 11 times. Nine of the 11 games were decided by seven points or less, with the victor in four of those close finishes winning by a single point.
- The Titans franchise has a 43-42 all-time record when participating in a primetime game. With a record of 24-18 in games played on Monday night, it is the only primetime slot that the team has played multiple games and are above a .500 winning percentage. This is the first Monday night game the Titans have played at Nissan Stadium since 2017. In nine previous Monday Night Football games at Nissan Stadium, the Titans are 6-3.
- Mike Vrabel currently has a 34-23 record as the Titans head coach. A 35th victory would tie Vrabel with Jerry Glanville for the 5th most wins in franchise history, trailing Jeff Fisher (147), Bum Phillips (59), Jack Pardee (44), and Wally Lemm (38).