The start of the second quart of the season is underway. In this week five matchup between the Buffalo Bills and Tennessee Titans, you should expect to see a low-scoring offensive game that is followed by a load of defensive plays by both teams. The Bills (3-1) are coming off their first loss last week at the hands of the New England Patriots. Meanwhile, the Titans (2-2) are coming off an impressive win over the Atlanta Falcons.
Bills’ quarterback Josh Allen has cleared concussion protocol and is expected to play against the Titans. He is looking to redeem himself after a horrible outing last week against the Patriots defense before being knocked out of the game. Marcus Mariota has done very well for the Titans so far. Throwing for seven touchdowns and no interceptions, Mariota will look to continue that streak.
Both teams have strengths and weaknesses heading into this game. Both will be looking to compete for a playoff spot when December comes around so this game is a must-win game for both squads.
Looking at three key matchups, the ultimate decision could come down to who makes the least mistakes on offense.
1.) Josh Allen vs. Titans D-Line
The Titans defensive line that features Cameron Wake and Jurrell Casey can provide pressure all game long. While the Bills’ offensive line has to contain them, Allen will be the reason why this offense moves down the field or not. When facing pressure in his face, Allen has a tendency to try and make the big play and he comes up short most of the time. Last week proved that.
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If Allen plays smart and both utilizes his legs and arm in a smart manner, he should have no problem moving the chains.
2.) Bills Running Defense vs. Derrick Henry
The Bills defense is meant to stop the run to force quarterbacks’ to throw into a dangerous secondary. Derrick Henry is a bulldozing power back who is rarely brought down by one or two guys. If the Bills defense can shutdown the Titans’ run attack early, Mariota will face the pressure of having to win through the air.
The Bills’ linebacker core will have a major role in stopping Henry. If Henry gets past the first and second level, this will put the Bills deep into the ground and it will be a hard hole to get out of.
3.) Bills’ Receiving Core vs. Titans Secondary
The Titans have an underrated secondary that is very athletic. They are averaging one interception a game so far. Logan Ryan, Malcolm Butler and Kevin Byard are elusive and can play as ballhawks.
The Bills pass catching group got a little bigger with the signing of Duke Williams (6’3″, 225 pounds) from the practice squad. Williams will join Cole Beasley, John Brown, Zay Jones and Dawson Knox in the Bills’ passing attack. The Bills will have to throw today at some point. If the receivers cannot get separation, Allen will face tons of pressure all game long.
-Brandon Ray is a Managing Editor for Full Press Coverage and covers the Buffalo Bills. Make sure to follow Brandon on Twitter at @brandon_ray79.