Titans Game Preview: Week 5 vs. Buffalo

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Tennessee Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota tries to attempt a pass as Buffalo Bills linebacker Tremaine Edmunds (49) makes the hit during the second half Sunday. (Jeffrey T. Barnes | The Associated Press)

The Titans bounced back in a big way last week in Atlanta. Tennessee blew a late lead against Indianapolis in Week 2. Then, they were outmatched on a short week in Jacksonville in Week 3. However, the offense finally found its form with three first-half touchdowns from quarterback Marcus Mariota against the Falcons. Then, the defense stood up in the second half to get Tennessee back to .500.

Now, they face a tough test in the Buffalo Bills who sit at 3-1. Their lone loss was a hard-fought game against the undefeated Patriots last week. This should be a defensive struggle, similar to the 13-12 Bills victory in Buffalo last year. The Titans need to be on the winning end of it this time in order to keep pace in the division.

Offensive Player to Watch: QB Marcus Mariota

This seems like it could be said for every week this season. However, Mariota is coming off of one of his best games since 2016. If the Titans are going to invest in him long-term he has to be able to string together good performances. This is a tough Bills passing defense, but Mariota has to be efficient and continue to show improvement. The Titans’ success seems to depend on what Mariota shows up. He probably won’t put up three touchdowns again or crazy stats, but he needs to not make mistakes and make enough plays to get the Titans a win at home.

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Defensive Player to Watch: ILB Rashaan Evans

Evans was the Titans’ first-round pick last year. Some people forget that because of his injury early last season that sidelined him for a large portion of his rookie year. Now, he is healthy and has created one of the most underrated linebacking tandems in the league with Jayon Brown. Evans has shown his prowess in all aspects of the game. He has been used in coverage and has rushed the passer efficiently. The Titans will need him to step up and get after Josh Allen in the passing game while also shutting down Frank Gore on the ground. Evans looks like he could be a rising star. Look for him to make an impact against the Bills.

Matchup to Watch: Titans WR’s vs. Bills Secondary

The Bills secondary has been one of the most stout in the league through the first month of the season. On the other side, the Titans’ receiving corps hasn’t been very productive outside of last week’s game. Corey Davis and A.J. Brown have both shown flashes of greatness this season but haven’t been consistent enough. Adam Humphries was possibly the biggest free-agent addition for the Titans this offseason but hasn’t been impactful so far. With Taylor Lewan returning on the offensive line, Humphries shouldn’t have to chip pass-rushers from the slot anymore. This offense is at full force. A good indicator of its success will be how the wide receivers fare in Week 5.

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