On Monday night, the Buffalo Bills will travel to Tennessee for a matchup with the 3-2 Titans. The Bills match up very well with the Titans in my opinion. There is one spot where I think Tennessee will have a slight advantage and that’s in the run game. They have one of the best running backs in the NFL in Derrick Henry. This season he has rushed for 640 yards and seven touchdowns. These are very impressive numbers and slowing him down will be a key to the Bills winning this game.
Stopping Derrick Henry: Star Lotulelei & Tremaine Edmunds
The last three times that Henry has played against the Buffalo Bills haven’t been his greatest showings. The Bills defense has held him below 80 yards rushing in each of those games. This is extremely impressive considering he has averaged over 100 yards per game for the last two years. If you want to contain Henry, it all starts up front for the Bills and Star Lotulelei is the man in the middle.
If he can push into the backfield and make Henry redirect, keep him from hitting the first hole he sees, it will be a bad day to be a running back. When Henry doesn’t get a full head of steam hitting the hole, he is easier to bring down. That will keep him from being able to attack our secondary downhill. We saw what happens when he gets a full head of steam going into the secondary.
My prediction is that the Titans will end up double-teaming or even triple-teaming Star up front and that will cause the rest of the defense to have better matchups and to make the plays in the run game.
The second part of stopping Henry comes from the linebackers, and this will be another huge week for Tremaine Edmunds. Edmunds has great size and speed, as we have seen in the games this year. He will need to continue to be a tackling machine and read the running backs. Edmunds must play downhill this week. What this means is, when he finds the open hole in the run game, he needs to run down and fill that hole. This season, he has been doing this more and will hopefully continue that into this game.
Offensive Mismatches: Dawson Knox & Emmanuel Sanders
On the offensive side of the ball, I believe the Buffalo Bills match up best. The Titans allow the 21st-most passing yards in the NFL. Given the Bills offense is geared toward the pass, this should be a good week for the offense. There are some players who have better matchups than others.
The Bills have also been hitting on the deep balls this season and that is spreading out the field. This is thanks to not only Stefon Diggs, but also Emmanuel Sanders. At least once per game this season, there has been a play where Sanders has run a go route and burned his corner. This has resulted in multiple touchdowns and teams playing off more in coverage.
With this in mind, and the Titans’ weak linebacking corps, the middle of the field should be open and Dawson Knox should eat. This year, Knox has been great in the receiving game. He has 261 yards and five touchdowns so far. He has been holding onto the ball and making big plays all year. I expect his touchdown streak to continue this week and expect him to get six to eight targets and play a big role in the passing game.
Overall, the matchups this week look promising for the Bills and if they continue to play the way they have been, watch out Tennessee.