The Buffalo Bills will go on the road for the second time this season and take on the Tennessee Titans. Tennessee currently sits at 1-2, but their record doesn’t indicate how well they’ve played on both sides of the ball. No one should expect Sunday’s game to be a cakewalk for Buffalo, especially in light of all of the injuries the team is currently dealing with on the offensive side of the ball. Keeping that in mind, here are five predictions for Sunday’s game.
Dan "Boom" Herron leads the Bills in rushing attempts
Anthony Dixon may be the starter in the backfield on Sunday, but I don’t think he’ll play as much as some think. Dixon suffered a serious calf injury during training camp and it still appears to be hampering Dixon on the field. The running back has looked very slow on the field, rushing for zero yards and a touchdown on eight carries. He’s added 20 yards receiving on two catches but he just doesn’t look right on the field. The back also appears to be playing at a heavier weight. For all of those reasons, look for Boom Herron to lead the team in rushing attempts. The back just joined the Bills this week, but don’t be surprised if Herron sees close to 10 carries against the Titans.
Tyrod Taylor leads both teams in rushing yards
Herron may see the most attempts, but it’s Taylor who will lead the Bills and Titans in rush yards. On the season, Taylor has rushed for 111 yards on 23 carries with a touchdown. Taylor hasn’t really taken off and run with the ball like many fans have expected this season, but it will happen tomorrow.
Dick LeBeau will send pressure at Taylor throughout the game and there will be at least one or two times when a blitz backfires on the Titans defensive coordinator and Taylor will take off for big chunks of yards. While Taylor hasn’t played against a LeBeau defense, fans need to remember that Taylor is very familiar with LeBeau from his time in Baltimore. The current Titans DC was with the Steelers before this season, Baltimore’s division rival. Taylor has plenty of film study already under his belt and he uses it to his advantage on Sunday.
The Bills get to Mariota throughout the game
Marcus Mariota is off to a great start this season. The rookie quarterback has passed for 833 yards in three games with eight touchdowns and two interceptions. That said, the rookie quarterback has been sacked 12 times in three games this season. The blueprint to beating the Bills has been getting the ball out early, but there will still be plenty of plays where the rookie will hold the ball too long on Sunday.
Rex Ryan will dial up the pressure on the rookie on Sunday and look to match the seven sacks the Browns had against Mariota. While Ryan would love to sack Mariota seven times, pressuring the rookie could be just as effective. Pressure could come from the interior of the defensive line where Marcell Dareus has a favorable matchup with Brian Schwenke. Chance Warmack is also questionable which could also weaken the interior of Tennessee’s line.
Charles Clay sets Bills franchise record
Week 1: Austin Seferian-Jenkins records five receptions for 110 yards and two touchdowns.
Week 2: Gary Barnridge records one reception for 17 yards (Cleveland only had eight completions the entire game)
Week 3: Coby Fleener and Jack Doyle record seven receptions for 83 yards.
Minus the Browns game, where Johnny Manziel only completed eight passes, tight ends have had success against the Titans. Look for that to continue on Sunday with Charles Clay. In the last two weeks, Clay has recorded 14 receptions that have gone for 193 yards and a touchdown. He also had a 32 yard touchdown wiped away late last week on an incorrect chop block call. With all of the injuries on the offensive side of the ball, Clay is going to be involved early and often for Buffalo.
Last week, Clay tied Paul Costa (1967) for being the only Bills tight ends to have back-to-back games with over 80 yards receiving. On Sunday, Clay will become the first Bills tight end to record over 80 yards receiving in three consecutive games.
Watch the video above to see my final score prediction for Sunday’s game!