GOTW Week 15 Preview – Titans (10-3) vs Bills (9-4)
Week 14: BUF 45 – 14 JAX
Week 7: TEN 28 – 25 JAX
Week 8: BUF 44 – 34 IND
Week 13: TEN 27 – 36 IND
Week 10: BUF 44 – 17 HOU
Week 5: TEN 21 – 36 HOU
Week 13: BUF 41 – 13 NYJ
Week 8: TEN 35 – NYJ 7
Tale of the Tape : Buffalo Bills
7-0 under their new coach
Outscored their opponents by 144 points over the last 7 games (+20.6 ppg)
New Coach’s record vs .500+ opponents = 3-0
Avg Point differential in games vs .500+ opponents = +29 per game
368 passing yards per game in the last 7 games with 74.5% completion
2nd in Total offensive yards
1st in Passing Yards
30th in Rushing Yards
6th in Points scored (37 ppg)
4th in fewest yards allowed
5th in Pass Defense
9th in Run Defense
10th in fewest points allowed (28 ppg)
KMFO’s 3 Players to Watch for the Bills:
DT Ed Oliver, stopping the Titans offense starts with slowing down Derrick Henry. Henry is too big and too fast to be allowed to break into the 2nd level of the defense with a full head of steam, so the Bills must control the line of scrimmage and that will rely heavily on Oliver. He must find a way to consistently shed blocks and make running inside the tackles extremely difficult for Henry. Even if he isn’t making tackles, being able to push into the backfield and redirect Henry’s run lanes will be very important to containing the Titans offense.
MLB Tremaine Edmunds, not only does Edmunds have a big role in defending the run, but he also has one of the most important roles this game in slowing down the Titans passing game. TE Jonnu Smith is a dynamic receiving threat at TE and he is leading the Titans in receiving yards and receptions. He is definitely Aaron Rodgers security blanket, so Edmunds will have to do double duty this game trying to stop Henry on the ground and Smith in the passing game.
QB Josh Allen, now this may be a little obvious, but Allen’s performance isn’t so important for the success of the offense as it is for the defense this game. The Titans haven’t typically been a big play offense this season. They rely on a solid run game and an efficient passing attack that can sustain long drives. So the Bills can’t make it easier on the Titans by giving them short fields this game via interceptions. Allen has to protect the ball because the Titans will struggle a lot more if they’re being asked to move 80 yards for a TD each drive rather than 40. This is the game that Allen needs to be okay with throwing the ball away and understanding that a punt isn’t the end of the world. He has a top 5 defense that has his back, but it’s time he starts returning the favor a little bit.
KMFO’s 3 Keys to Victory for the Bills:
Tackle Derrick Henry. Easier said than done, this man has broken 58 tackles on the season and is averaging over 100 yards per game. Stopping Henry won’t guarantee the Bills a victory but failing to stop him certainly will guarantee a loss.
No turnovers. The Titans have 3 amazing ballhawking players on defense in Adoree Jackson, Kevin Byard, and Dane Cruikshank. These guys will make Allen pay if he continues his trend of making a few boneheaded decisions during each game. The Titans will look to control the time of possession, so Allen can’t give them extra possessions
3rd Down Defense. The Titans have been able to beat some of the league’s best teams because they control the clock and keep their offense on the field. Time of possession is a huge factor in the Titans success, but they can’t control the time of possession without converting 3rd downs to stay on the field. It’ll be very important that the Bills stay unpredictable on 3rd downs with various coverages and blitzes to keep the Titans from putting together these long drives they love doing.
Interview with Bills Head Coach, KMFO:
Q: Derrick Henry might be one of the most unstoppable players in the league. He has incredible size, speed, and power that make him a home run threat every time he touches the ball. Your run defense has been getting better and better the past few weeks, so how do you plan on continuing that success against the Titans and stopping Derrick Henry?
A: Henry isn’t someone you “stop”. I mean in an effort to try and replicate what it’s like to stop Henry, you would have to spend the week doing Oklahoma tackling drills against a DE carrying the ball, do pursuit drills against your fastest WR, and do open field tackling drills with your most elusive player. There just isn’t a way to prepare to stop a guy like Henry unless you have Henry on your team, and a player like him doesn’t exist anywhere around the league other than in Tennessee. He will outrun you, he will make you miss, and if you catch up to him or get in his way he will make you pay for it. Our main focus is going to be defending the run in waves, making sure that when he breaks the first tackle that he isn’t in the clear already. We have to hit him with 1, 2, maybe 3 waves at a time so that he doesn’t break away on long runs just because he gets through 1 or 2 defenders. It’s easier said than done, but our defense is ready for the challenge and they plan on pursuing and tackling Henry as a complete unit.
Q: In the past 6 games, Josh Allen has thrown for an incredible 18 TD passes and has had 4 different guys lead the team in receiving for a game since then. However, those 18 TDs also came with 15 interceptions, which is far from incredible. With the Titans defense ranking 28th in the league in interceptions, is this the game that Allen turns the corner on his turnover problem?
A: We have harped on our offense’s need to eliminate turnovers a lot. It’s our #1 goal this week in practice, so hopefully it will produces results in the game. We won’t be shy about throwing the ball and running our offense because it’s put up 41+ points in 5 of our last 7 games. However, we are definitely counting on noticeable improvement in the consistency of Allen’s decision making.
Q: Aaron Rodgers has the highest efficiency rating of any QB in the league right now, and he does it without any super great weapons to throw to. How do you plan on defending Rodgers this game so that he doesn’t continue his trend of methodically picking defenses apart?
A: he is the GOAT for a reason. He is deadly accurate inside and outside of the pocket, and nobody in the league has a quicker release with more velocity on their passes. We have preached to our defense for weeks about how to bait QBs into throwing interceptions by giving receivers some cushion to make them appear open but understanding how to time the passes and jump routes to create takeaways. However, that’s a tactic that doesn’t work against a guy like a Rodgers because his passes come out so fast and travel so fast that you can’t bait him or the ball will he in the receiver’s hands before you know it. So we have to play lockdown defense this game and stay in the receiver’s hip pocket on every route if we are going to have a chance at forcing incompletions.
Tale of the Tape : Tennessee Titans
Record vs .500+ opponents = 7-2
Avg score differential vs .500+ opponents = +13 points
Won an upset over the Ravens in the week 13 GOTW
1 game behind from #1 seed in the AFC (Patriots, Ravens, and Chargers are 11-2 but Titans beat all 3 of them in head to head matchups)
19th in Total Offensive Yards
21st in Passing Yards
12th in Rushing Yards
15th in Points scored (32 ppg)
5th in fewest yards allowed
10th in Pass Defense
5th in Run Defense
4th in fewest points allowed (22 ppg)
Gooseneck’s Players to watch for the Titans:
1. LG Rodger Saffold III. The 33 year old 11 season veteran has only given up 1 sack all season despite playing all but 30 downs this season. He will need to keep up that performance against one of the best young DTs in the game in Ed Oliver. Rodgers having time to find open receivers increases the opportunities for the Titans to slide into that #1 seed in AFC.
2. MLB Jayon Brown. Knowing that the Bills will not hesitate to feed Knox, Brown will be counted on to decrease targetted balls for the young TE. I expect multiple formation subs throughout the game to keep Jayon his most effective.
3. HB Derrick Henry. The Titans will not delay getting the ball to Henry on early downs often to control the tempo of the game. Henry’s stat line needs to read; 18+ carries averaging 5 or more yards per carry.
Gooseneck’s Keys to Victory for the Titans:
1. Let it happen between the 20s. When you face off against the number 1 air attack in PML, the tried and true “bend but don’t break” approach is the sermon delivered throughout defense team meeting all whole week. We know Allen, Diggs & Knox will collaborate on driving the field in aerial fashion. On 59 Offensive Redzone trips, for the 2021 season, the Bills are currently ranked 2nd at 87 percent. The Titans will have to lock up their offense in the forth.
2. The Bills have only allowed 2954 yards pass through 14 weeks of in the 2021 season. Under any normal circumstances this would be alarming. The ugly truth is in games where Aaron Rodgers has thrown for less than 250 yards the team has won six out of seven games. Rodgers will need crisp routes and 50/50 ball caught to ensure the team victory.
3. Heavy is the head that wears the crown. They call him King Henry in the locker room and he is on pace to give the team 1600+ yards on the ground for this year’s regular season campaign. Even more notable, the Titans lead the league in 3rd conversion percentage. 63% puts them just a hair above 3 out of 5 tries. Henry’s offensive counter-parts will be heavily relied on to make sure that key 3rd downs are 3rd & short versus 3rd and long.
Q: The GOTW will feature the number 1 passing QB in PML against the anomaly King Henry running the football. This game has all the makings of what could be an offensive shootout. What can viewers expect to see from the Titans defense to sway the game in the favor the of the Titans?
A: Without giving too much away, we know the offense runs through Allen. Even though he can make every throw on the field, we also know he’s had a turnovers problem not only in the air, but on the go round as well. We need to be be able to force turnovers, and capitalize on any extra opportunities we are given
Q: The Bills defense currently sits at number 5 against the pass holding teams to just under 250 yards per game. It is no secret to the fans and spectators that the Titans opened of new a plethora of offensive schemes with the acquisition of Rodgers taking snaps. Can you speak on conversations between the Offensive Coordinator, Yourself and Rodgers leading up to the game?
A: Trading for Aaron Rodgers, like you said has just completely opened up the playbook. He makes everyone on the field better and feels like he’s the missing piece on offense. For the Bills game the biggest thing he brings to the table is the ability to run the offense with rhythm. We feel like we never have to do too much because Aaron can always make the right play to keep us on track. At times last year the offense would stall when Henry couldn’t get going, but this year we can score in every way and our stats and record reflect that.
Q: In the past 5 wins for the Titans, Jayon Brown and company had held teams to an average of 17.8 points. The XF LB Brown and Cruikshank are staples on every scouting report across the league. Kary Vincent Jr’s role here will be paramount as the team fight for that first round bye in the playoffs just 3 weeks away. How is the rookie preparing for this stretch to close the regular season?
A: Our defense has really turned things on this past few weeks, and guys like Cruikshank, Brown and Vincent have all stepped up and made big plays. Vincent in particular has a tough task ahead of him not only this week against the Bills, but also to close the season. Vincent has cemented himself as CB2 on the roster, and we ask a lot of him as a rookie. Kary many times covers the WR1 just because of the nature of our defense, and has done everything we’ve expected of him and more. We are confident that he will execute what we ask and hopefully be able to be in position to make an impact..
KMFO’s GOTW Prediction
Bills Win: 31-28
Well I’m not going to predict my own defeat, but I do think it will a tough battle on both sides of the football. The Titans offense won’t be able to be contained all game and is destined to make some plays, but hopefully the Bills can match them with plays of their own and pull out the victory in the end.
Gooseneck’s GOTW Prediction
• Titans win 42-38
• Keeping turnovers to a minimum and keeping drives alive via 3rd down conversions will be the cornerstone of the Titans victory.