Marcus Mariota’s three touchdown performance in Atlanta last week featured everything Titans fans wanted to see. Big plays, consistent accuracy, anticipatory throws and quick decisions. We’ve seen all of that before. The trick is stacking those games on top of one another.
Mariota has his work cut out for him on Sunday it if he wants to back up his performance against the Falcons. The Buffalo Bills come to town — not all that differently than the Tennessee Titans. Sitting at 3-1, the Bills have a knack of ugly-ing up games and finding ways to wins late.
Their third-ranked defense is a big reason why. Look no further than last week’s game against New England for proof. The Bills held the Patriots to 16 points — seven of that coming off of a blocked punt. Tom Brady went just 18-39 for 150 yards and an interception. Sony Michel ran for just 63 yards.
Buffalo’s defense put them in a position to win against the NFL’s best team, even with backup quarterback Matt Barkley running the show for much of the second half.
Sounds fairly familiar, right?
Tennessee has leaned on its defense this year with the offense trying to find its way. They found a little something in the first half last Sunday, but this week will be a tougher challenge on that side of the ball.
Vegas knows what’s coming too. They’ve set the total for this game at just 38 points. 38! And to be honest, that seems a little high.
The Titans are favored by three points entering the weekend, which is exactly where this one opened on Monday morning.
Tennessee gets left tackle Taylor Lewan back at a really good time. In a game where you can expect Derrick Henry to shoulder the load for the Titans, Lewan will re-enter the lineup and boost the entire offense. Buffalo’s 7th ranked rush defense will be a challenge, so getting Lewan back this week will be a big deal.
On the other hand, Tennessee’s middle of the road run defense will be tested by the ageless Frank Gore, who ran for over 100 yards last week against the Patriots. The Bills may also get back rookie running back Devin Singletary as well.
The story to watch with this one, of course, is the status of Bills’ quarterback Josh Allen. Allen is in concussion protocol and was limited during Wednesday’s practice. If he’s not able to go, it will be Matt Barkley getting the start.
Which side are you taking this week?