Image Credit: © Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports
While the Buffalo Bills may not be undefeated like the 5-0 Arizona Cardinals, the Herd is still the best team in the NFL right now. Coming off a dominant performance, slaying the dragon that is Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs, the Bills are sudden AFC favorites.
Not only are the Bills on a roll as a team, but Josh Allen has also firmly gotten himself back into the MVP conversation, becoming the favorite himself.
Before the Bills took down the Chiefs, some pundits questioned how ready the Bills were to face such a skilled team, saying they had yet to encounter a true contender. It will be interesting to see what excuses they come up with now. It’s hard to see the Bills as anything but the best team in the AFC.
The next test for this Rumbling Herd will be taking on the first-place team in the AFC South, the Tennessee Titans, on Monday Night Football. You’d be hard-pressed to find those who say the Titans have more talented players than the Chiefs had, but they may be more in-sync at the moment.
While Sunday night’s matchup with the Bills didn’t help, the Chiefs’ defense has been atrocious through five games, allowing the most yards-per-play in NFL history.
Though Tennessee’s defense isn’t great either, it’s not as bad as Kansas City’s. The Titans also don’t have Mahomes and Tyreek Hill to score in the blink of an eye if need be. Tennessee gets their work done thanks to a massive tank nicknamed Derrick Henry.
For the Bills, this is preferable to taking on some of the league’s best passing attacks. Sure, Henry is a runner with a truly punishing style, but the Bills have done a superb job shutting down their opponents’ running game so far. More on that later.
Buffalo Bills Week 6 game details, where to watch
- Monday, October 18, 2021
- Start time: 8:15 PM ET
- TV channel - ESPN
- Location - Nissan Stadium in Nashville, Tennessee
© George Walker IV / The Tennessean / USA TODAY Sports
What happened last time the Bills played the Tennessee Titans?
Similar to their opponent last week, the last time the Bills played the Titans, it didn’t go well for the Herd. The Titans had 16 days off in between games, thanks to the COVID protocols of last season. In fact, as strange as it sounds, this game took place on a Tuesday.
After the game was played, it became known more for a single play than the outcome. You know, when Tennessee’s Derrick Henry stiff-armed Josh Norman to the ground, making him look like a ragdoll in the process? I mean, even as a Bills Fan, that was a sweet play.
Josh Allen also threw two interceptions to help fuel Tennessee’s big day. By the end of the game, backup QB Matt Barkley took over to keep Allen out of harm’s way.
It’s safe to say Monday night’s game won’t be played on a Tuesday against a team ready to hit after over two weeks off. I wouldn’t expect nearly the same outcome as we had in Week 5 of 2020. Buffalo will be ready to roll.
Matchups to watch
- Derrick Henry vs. Bills’ No. 3 ranked rushing defense
Last time Derrick Henry played the Bills, the superstar running back averaged 3.0 yards per carry on 19 attempts. While he did tally two touchdowns, the Bills were able to keep Tennessee’s best player in check.
This season, Henry is catching the ball more out of the backfield than ever before. In 2020, Henry had just one reception for six yards against the Bills. That won’t be the case this week.
But it shouldn’t matter. The Bills are ranked third in the NFL, allowing just 78.4 rushing yards per game. Henry is the best running back they’ll face all year, yet the Herd appears prepared to continue their success.
In their five contests this season, the most a running back has gained on the Bills is Najee Harris’ 45 yards on a whopping 16 attempts, averaging a putrid 2.81 yards per carry in Week 1. Simply put, nobody has had any success running against the Bills this season, outside of a few fluke scrambles from Patrick Mahomes.
- Bills pass defense vs. Titans wide receivers
One of the best, if not the best wide receiver of the past ten years has been Julio Jones. The problem (or blessing) is, Jones hasn’t practiced since Week 3, and his status for the Bills game is currently up in the air.
Opposite of Jones is the similarly-built A.J. Brown. Though, like Jones, Brown has battled some injuries as of late. He returned to play last week and should be closer to 100% against Buffalo.
Tennessee isn’t the type of team to drop back and throw 40-50 times per game as the Bills and Chiefs prefer, but when they do decide to pass, they have some strongly-built receivers who can break tackles after the catch. Not to mention Derrick Henry, who is the ultimate tackle-breaker.
- Dion Dawkins vs. Harold Landry
Harold Landry plays right outside linebacker for the Tennessee Titans. This means he’ll line up against left tackle Dion Dawkins. Primarily a pass-rusher, Landry is enjoying a breakout season.
No, Harold Landry isn’t the second coming of Lawrence Taylor or Bruce Smith, but he’s been playing like it lately.
Landry is the only defender in the NFL to have over five pressures in each of his games this season, according to Pro Football Focus’ tracking system. As far as his official stats, Landry has 4.5 sacks in 2021, but three have come in the past two games. Dawkins will have his hands full dealing with Landry on Monday.
Bonus stat: In Week 5 against the Chiefs, receiver Emmanuel Sanders reached a top speed of 10.33 MPH within the first second of his route. Which apparently is really fast.
So far this season, Sanders has the quickest average speed within the first second of his route. This means that Sanders has an incredibly quick first step and is showing no signs of slowing down at 34 years old.
© Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports
Buffalo Bills Week 6 game prediction
- Last season’s record: Buffalo Bills 13-3, reached AFC Conference Championship
- Tennessee Titans 11-5, first place in AFC South, losing 20-13 in the Wild Card Round
This matchup pits two teams at the top of their respective divisions against each other; only the Titans have the advantage of playing at home. So, the Titans are favored, right?
Vegas, and likely everyone else, doesn’t see it that way, with the Bills being favored between 3.5 to 5.5 points through various betting sportsbooks.
The Titans, while a formidable opponent, haven’t been firing on all cylinders this season. They lost to the Jets in overtime. Not sure what else to say.
Boasting some impressive talent on both sides of the ball, this Titans team doesn’t have the feel of a true playoff contender. They’re leading their division practically by default, with the Houston Texans and Jacksonville Jaguars being a complete mess and the Indianapolis Colts in a strange stage clinging on to the hope of being competitive.
Derrick Henry and Julio Jones both possess the ability to take over a game. Still, they don’t have an MVP caliber leader such as Josh Allen to help maintain their offensive consistency.
Combined with the fact that the Bills have the best offensive and defensive team in the NFL right now, Tennessee will likely fall to 3-3 while this Herd continues to Rumble on to 5-1.
At the same time, this has a bit of a trap game feel to it. The Titans are respectable and led by a veteran coach with plenty of time to prepare, thanks to the game falling on a Monday. Still, the Bills are by far the better team from top to bottom.
Game prediction: 33-20 Bills victory