How the Titans Can Establish Consistency Against the Bills
If you asked any Titans fan before the start of the season if they would be satisfied with the team sitting at 2-2 heading into week five, the answer was an overwhelming yes. With Tennessee’s top dollar left tackle Taylor Lewan suspended for PEDs for the first four weeks of the season, really that’s the best you could hope for, right?
Despite actually achieving that and squeaking out a 2-2 record heading into Sunday’s matchup against the 3-1 Bills, the inconsistency the Titans have played with in the first month of the season is not only questionable, it’s concerning and the same fans that said a 2-2 record at this point in the season would be respectable are now raising their eyebrows.
Consistency is something the Titans have lacked but desperately need. With three of the next four games at home, Tennessee believes this is the perfect opportunity to establish that much needed consistency.
Going on a run, according to Titans safety Kevin Byard, is what this team needs to set itself apart. “There’s a whole lot of teams in the NFL that’s 3-1, 2-2. 1-3 or whatever. But we have to be that team that breaks out of the pack. I think we can try to get on a run here, I think we’ll put ourselves in great shape for that postseason.”
After their win Sunday in Atlanta and holding the Falcons to a single touchdown, it’s not only important, it’s necessary, for the Titans to come out Sunday against the Bills and prove they can do it again.
The Bills won’t make it easy on them, though. To jog your memory, last season the Titans defeated the defending Super Bowl Championships, the Philadelphia Eagles, on their home turf but then turned around and played one of their worst games of the season against the Bills, losing 12-13 - a game many believe was a turning point in the season.
The Titans can’t have a 2018 repeat and have to build off the momentum they created Sunday against the Falcons. Here’s how:
It’s simple. Run the ball. Derrick Henry is coming off a 100-yard rushing game and is averaging 4 yards a carry on the year. Still, Offensive Coordinator Arthur Smith doesn’t maximize Henry’s potential. There were multiple drives in Sunday’s game where you wondered where Derrick Henry was. Before week four, Henry only had 51 carries on the season. With one of the most unstoppable backs in the league, there’s no excuse for such a low number. Utilizing the talent on your roster, giving Henry the ball, will be a huge factor in the Titans’ success against the Bills.
The Titans turned the ball over three times in last season’s loss to the Bills. On the contrary, Tennessee has taken care of the football this season and has turned the ball over just once. However, they’ve fumbled the ball eight times - despite recovering all but one, the number in itself is concerning, especially with a Buffalo defense that has eight takeaways on the season. Sunday’s game will be a significant test for the Titans offense and QB Marcus Mariota, who despite statistically having a solid season, has been inconsistent to say the least. Making smart decisions that don’t result in a fumble or pick will be huge for Mariota on Sunday.
Defensively, the Titans continue to consistently perform. Their 4th-ranked defense will have another opportunity to shine Sunday against the Bills whose offense averages just 19 points a game. Last week, Tennessee held the Falcons to just one touchdown and had five sacks on the game. This is where that consistency is going to be key. The Titans struggle to string together wins. If the defense can prove tough and shut down QB Josh Allen - who is officially starting after clearing concussion protocol - they give their offense a chance to do the rest.
A win Sunday gives the Titans a 3-2 record as they head to Denver to take on the 0-4 Broncos. With the LA Chargers on deck after Denver, building off the momentum they’ve created will be vital. It all starts with consistency and if the Titans can get it done tomorrow, they’ll prove to everyone they’re taking steps forward rather than backward.