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Tennessee Titans - Buffalo Bills: Key Match-Ups

What to look for Sunday when the Titans take on the Bills at Nissan Stadium.

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The Titans will take on the Bills as the start of a three-game home-stand on Sunday. There will be a lot of interesting battles throughout this game, but there are some highlighted match-ups that bear paying attention to.

Kendall Wright vs Stephon Gilmore

The Bills have some standouts on defense, and that includes their corners Ronald Barby (who took rookie defensive player of the month honors) and Stephon Gilmore. Gilmore will likely be matched up with Kendall Wright, but may stick to the outside when the shifty Titans receiver is bumped into the slot. Nevertheless, this will be an important matchup to watch between two very good players. Wright has emerged as a favorite target of Marcus Mariota over the first few weeks of the season, and for good reason. He has been able to find space across the middle often so far this year, and his run after the catch abilities have also shone. It will be interesting to see how a physical corner like Gilmore matches up, and how much separation Mariota can expect for his top target.

Jeremiah Poutasi vs Mario Williams

This pairing is a little grim for Tennessee, but it's not all bad. Rookie OG Jeremiah Poutasi has been a solid run blocker thus far this season, but has had some well-publicized struggles against pass rushers. Poutasi is a big physical player, and can be effective as long as he is mentally on the same page as his teammates. Mario Williams is a strong force on the outside, but he doesn't necessarily bring the kind of speed rush that has tormented Poutasi at times this season. If he can keep Williams at bay, Mariota will have the time needed to find targets in the secondary. That is a big "if" at this point, however.

Jurrell Casey vs Richie Incognito

Buffalo hasn't displayed the best offensive line play this year (or last), much like the Titans at times. Incognito has been called up from his couch and has been the Bills best lineman so far this year, which is nothing short of surprising. Casey is Tennessee's best defender on the inside, and will likely match up against Incognito for much of this week five bout. Both are physical players at the point of attack, so it will be up to Casey to utilize his finesse to put inside pressure on Bills QB Tyrod Taylor. This match-up will also play a big part in determining if the Bills can run inside or not, which the Titans continue to struggle against.

They will be without LeSean McCoy in all likeliness, so count that in favor of Tennessee.


Another match-up worth mentioning is a little more general, but no less important. It's these Titans linebackers against Tyrod Taylor. While Taylor is no world-beater, he is mobile, and he can hurt this Tennessee defense if he is able to buy time and escape the pocket. It will be up to Derrick Morgan and Brian Orakpo to flush him inside as often as possible. Zach Brown and Avery Williamson will have to do more to help defend the shallow zones and track down tight ends and running backs on outlet passes. The Titans have been able to generate plenty of pressure this year, but they need to make that pressure count.