With the Buffalo Bills up next up on the Tennessee Titans' schedule, I watched the Bills-Giants showdown to see what sort of trends I could spot. Now as someone who doesn't watch a whole lot of Buffalo Bills football, these thoughts are going to be all game-specific. Let's dive right in...
Greg Roman and Tyrod Taylor Focused on Short Throws
The easy takeaway from watching this game was that the Bills' offense emphasized the short passing game. The offense struggled to move the ball early, and even when they managed to complete some passes they were usually short gains. Working off the broadcast footage, its hard to know whether New York's coverage was just that good or if this was an intentional decision. They didn't have a lot of checkdown throws though, so that leads me to believe it was more of an offensive goal. They used a lot of quick throws designed to have the receiver make a play and for most of the game it didn't work.
The Bills Desperately Need Sammy Watkins
The receiving duo of Percy Harvin and Robert Woods just didn't cut it this game. The Giants' secondary was able to keep Harvin and Woods quiet for the most part. Sammy Watkins is a game-changer. He's going to win some deep balls against corners and simply put, he's just going to get open more than anyone else on the roster. The Bills use tight end Charles Clay frequently as a receiving target and he put together a great stat line (9 catches on 13 targets for 111 yards). Still, without Watkins this offense is significantly less scary.
Rex Ryan Defenses Are Still Aggressive
The defensive theme of this game for the Bills: get in your face. The corners rarely gave a cushion on the line of scrimmage and there were often a lot of linebackers up close in the box as well. As expected, the defense was extremely physical and aggressive most of the game. They've got the necessary talent to pull it off, too. Stephon Gilmore and Ronald Darby were rarely beat cleanly on routes and the front seven is packed with household names, including Mario Williams, Kyle Williams, Marcel Dareus, Jerry Hughes and Nigel Bradham.
Mario Williams Will Face Jeremiah Poutasi
This isn't a matchup that favours the Titans. The man called Super Mario lined up to the right side of the offensive line, most often working against right tackle Marshall Newhouse. I focused on Williams a lot, but Newhouse held his own most of the game. Has Williams lost a bit of explosion to his game? We can only hope. It'll be interesting to see what Ken Whisenhunt does to help out his young right tackle. Against the Browns, the Titans' offense found success by adding blockers to the line.
The Giants Surprisingly Were Able to Run Down the Middle
This point stunned me. Despite Buffalo's loaded defense. the Giants were able to find success running through the A and B gaps Sunday. I expect to see a healthy dose of Antonio Andrews this week on inside runs. Can the Titans offensive line win those interior battles?
Buffalo's strengths line up against some of Tennessee's biggest weaknesses. In that respect, they are built to beat the Titans. The solid Bills defensive line faces off against a weak Titans offensive line. The defense is aggressive and will force the ball from Marcus Mariota quickly. Stephon Gilmore and Ronald Darby are good enough to play man coverage against Harry Douglas and Justin Hunter as boundary receivers. None of this is good news for the Titans. Fortunately Buffalo's offense still has their own struggles to work through. Will Tyrod Taylor be able to find holes in the defense or will they continue to play the short game? Buffalo couldn't get their ground game on track either in this one, with Karlos Williams receiving 18 carries and averaging 2.2 yards per attempt.
I'm impressed by the Bills, even if this game wasn't a great showcase of their ability. The Titans are definitely capable of beating them, but it will certainly be a big challenge.