Overcoming the performance they put on Thursday night in the 31-10 season opener, the Rams’ stranglehold will be a daunting task for the Buffalo Bills when they host Tennessee next Monday night.
Or will he?
Can we really say that this team can’t top any of their performances when they seem to keep doing so almost every time they step onto the pitch?
As Rick Jeanneret once said of Buffalo’s other pro team, “These guys are good. Scary good.
Outside of the Chiefs, who certainly got the better of the Bills, if there’s another team that can make that claim, it’s the Titans, who have beaten Buffalo in consecutive seasons, both in Nashville.
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The Titans are never an easy outing, and all you have to do is reference their 42-16 win in 2020 and their 34-31 triumph last year. For some reason, they’re a thorn in the side of the Bills.
Here’s a preview of the match:
The Tennessee Titans’ best players in offense and defense
RB Derrick Henry: He’s one of the best running backs in the NFL, and the Titans’ offense is a bit of an outlier in today’s NFL with how focused their offense is around him. There are only a handful of backs in the league who are poised to be as integral to their offense as Henry is in Tennessee.
The freight train who plays like Jim Brown – smash guys and ask questions later – won back-to-back titles in 2019 and 2020 and was on his way to another in 2021 when he got injured. He also inflicted real damage on the Bills. Last year he snatched a 76-yard touchdown run that turned the game in Tennessee’s favor and finished with 143 yards and three touchdowns. In the 2020 game, he scored two touchdowns. However, the Bills should be better equipped to deal with him given the improvements in the middle of their defensive line.
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WR Robert Woods: The former Bills draft pick left the Rams to sign a free agent deal with the Titans, but Woods and WR rookie Treylon Burks aren’t AJ Brown, the dynamic receiver Tennessee traded in the offseason. Henry hurt the Bills, Brown often killed the Bills, so his transfer from the AFC to the Eagles is a nice development.
DT Jeffery Simmons: He’s not on Aaron Donald’s level, but he can make a difference down the middle of the line and he had a great game against Buffalo last season with a sack and five tackles, including the one that stopped Josh Allen at the 2 yards. -line in the final seconds to save the game for Tennessee. The good news for the Bills is that their inside line has held up pretty well against Donald and the Rams, so maybe offensive line coach Aaron Kromer will have another winning containment plan.
SS Kevin Byard: The Bills think they have the two best safeties in the league in Micah Hyde and Jordan Poyer, but the Titans will make a strong case for Byard. The two-time All-Pro is a ball hawk who has 23 interceptions in six seasons and always seems to be involved in stopping a play, whether it’s a pass or a run.
LB Bud Dupree: The former Steeler is an all-around player who is strong against the run and can really tackle quarterbacks when he blitzes. He had 39.5 sacks in six years with Pittsburgh, then had just three in an injury-plagued 2021 season with the Titans after signing a free agent contract.
CB Kristian Fulton. He flies a little under the radar of the Tennessee defense, but he can really cover. Whether it’s Stefon Diggs or Gabe Davis, it won’t be an easy night for anyone who lines up alongside him.
What the game means for Buffalo Bills, Tennessee Titans
Obviously, playoff seeding is of major importance in the NFL because home-field advantage is usually so vital to success.
The Bills lost to the Titans last season, and had that result been reversed, both teams would have finished 12-5 and the Bills would have had the tiebreaker. If the Chiefs had lost another game, the Bills would have been the top seed in the AFC.
Nothing changes this year. The AFC is loaded and every game you can win against an AFC team will make sense, and regardless, it will only be Week 2.
Bills vs Titans on Monday Night Football: How to watch and listen to the game
For the second week in a row, the Bills are in a primetime window, this one airing on ESPN with a scheduled kickoff at 7:15 p.m.
If you don’t have ESPN on cable, you can stream the game on the ESPN app, ESPN+, DirecTV Stream, fuboTV, NFL+, Sling, Vidgo, Hulu + Live TV, and YouTube TV.
If you can’t get to a TV or device, you can listen to the game on the Bills Radio Network, which has stations statewide. They include Rochester (WCMF 96.5 FM and WROC 950 AM), Buffalo (WGR550 550 AM), Syracuse (WTKW 99.5 and WTKV 105.5 FM, Ithaca (WIII 99.9/100.3 FM), Bath ( WVIN 98.3 FM), Newark (WACK 1420 AM), Dansville (WDNY 93.9 FM), Elmira (WNGZ 1490 AM), Auburn (WAUB 98.1 FM/1590 AM), and Geneva (WGVA 95.9 FM/ 1240 AM).
Sal Maiorana can be contacted at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @salmaiorana.