The Buffalo Bills continue their 2022 season as they play host to the Tennessee Titans on Monday Night Football. It’s the second straight spotlight game for Buffalo after topping the Rams in L.A. to open the year in Week1. The Bills sit as 10-point favorites (at the time of writing this piece) to advance to 2-0 on the season. Here are the top five things I believe they need to do to send BillsMafia into the night with another win.
Slay the King
The easiest way for the Bills to come out victorious on Monday is to limit Titans running back Derrick Henry. If the Bills have had one Achilles’ heel under Sean McDermott, it’s slowing down prolific rushing attacks. We remember when the Saints came marching into Buffalo in 2017 – where Mark Ingram and Alvin Kamara each went over 100 yards. Jonathan Taylor has had his way with the Bills too, but you can argue no one has been as continuously dominant against Buffalo as Derrick Henry.
The two-time rushing champ has 278 yards with six touchdowns on 59 carries in his last three games against the Bills. There are two main ways for Buffalo to slow the former All-Pro. One – score so much that Tennessee has to give up on the run and pass the ball (more on that later). Two, utilize the new pieces in Leslie Frazier’s defense to slow him naturally. The main attraction on that side of the ball now is Von Miller, who is known more for his pass rush than run stopping, but he made a good point to the media saying “Derrick Henry and I are the exact same size. Exact same height, exact same weight. I think my 40-time is a little faster than his and his vertical is a little higher than mine.” Maybe he is ready to lay his body on the line to stop King Henry. Brandon Beane also brought in DaQuan Jones and Tim Settle to use their combined 633 pounds to enforce the middle of the field.
This one is simple…the Bills have Stefon Diggs and Gabe Davis, so Go Long! Let’s dive into this a little further though. In Buffalo’s Week 1 victory, Josh Allen hit Diggs and Davis for plays of 53, 47, 26, and 21 yards. The 52 and 26-yard plays went for six.
On the other side of the ball, the Titans struggled a bit versus Daniel Jones. The Giants’ signal caller passed for a pair of touchdowns and hit Saquon Barkley for the game-winning two-point conversion. Looking at the secondary vs. Jones a little deeper, thanks to Pro Football Focus (PFF), things get worse for Tennessee. Four Titans played in the secondary for 30 or more of the defensive pass plays. Of those four, Kevin Byard and Kristian Fulton gave up passer ratings of 150.4 and 158.3 (which is considered perfect), respectively. What might be worse is that six of the eight Titans that had a pass thrown their way gave up a completion percentage of 100. All this is a long way to say, Go Long!
Simmer Down Jeffrey
As much as the above points to the Titans’ defense struggling, Jeffrey Simmons is awesome. Period!
You can argue he is the second biggest game-wrecker from the interior defensive line behind only Aaron Donald. The schedule-makers were nice enough to allow Buffalo to get that ultimate test out of the way early before taking on Simmons. I’ll stick with PFF numbers to explain how good he was in week one. Simmons earned a 93.0 grade, 17 points clear of anyone else in Tennessee. His pass rush grade of 92.3 was also far above his teammates in the opener. The DT had six pressures of Daniel Jones and missed a total of zero of his tackle opportunities. To step back and compare those numbers to the rest of the NFL, no one topped Simmons’ 93.0 grade, and five players topped 90 in pass rush grade with Jeffrey once again on top. In conclusion, if the Bills’ new line can hold up against him they should be able to let Josh Allen and the Bills Go Long!
Motor Boatin’ Son of a Gun
We saw Devin Singletary earn the bulk of the RB snaps vs. the Rams, and with fumbles by James Cook and Zack Moss, that shouldn’t change. The stats in the above paragraph explain just how poor the Titans were on the line, aside from Simmons. You can see further proof of that in the stats racked up by Saquon Barkley. No, Motor isn’t Barkley, but the Giants’ offensive weapons to open up space aren’t exactly the Bills. Barkley ran 18 times for 168 yards and a touchdown while also bringing in six catches for 30 yards and the game-winning two-point conversion. Keeping the Titans honest by working in Singletary early could lead to huge numbers from the passing game.
All Gas, No Breaks
There is a chance I write this about the Bills for all 17 weeks of the regular season and each of the playoff games. Buffalo has Josh Allen, Stefon Diggs, Gabe Davis, Dawson Knox, and other weapons to utilize and should keep the peddle down at all times. Too many other teams have explosive offenses, and you can’t take a break giving them any sign of life in the second half. Just keep scoring! This is what they’ve done of late. Last week they scored 21 points in the second half after being tied 10-10 at halftime. I know the playoff game at KC didn’t go their way, but we aren’t even allowed to talk about overtime without 22 points scored in the second half. McDermott’s crew also scored 20 points in the second half of the playoff game against New England. I know you would have liked to have seen them score 40, but in a game, they dominated it was good to see the throttle slammed to the floor. Yes, remove Josh Allen and the like when it’s late to avoid injuries, but until that fat lady in section 300 screaming “hey ey ey ey” keep shifting to higher gears like a chase scene in one of the 49 Fast and the Furious movies.