It's been a rough year in the court of public opinion for Tennessee Titans running back Chris Johnson. After a lengthy pre-season holdout yielded a six-year, $55 million contract extension with $30 million guaranteed (makes the Ryan Fitzpatrick extension look pretty tame, no?), Johnson has been held under 60 rushing yards in a whopping seven games this season - and under 30 yards four times.
Three weeks ago, Johnson carried the ball 27 times for 130 yards and a score in a road win over Carolina (No. 28 run defense in the NFL). Then he carried the ball 12 times for 13 yards in a close road loss the next week to Atlanta (No. 2 run defense in the NFL). He followed that up with a 23-carry, 190-yard performance last week against Tampa Bay (No. 30 run defense).
Which Johnson can the Buffalo Bills and their No. 21-ranked run defense expect this weekend? Clearly, the Bills are much closer to the Tampa Bay and Carolina echelon of run defense than they are the Atlanta echelon, so the matchup appears to favor the resurgent (if still shaky) Johnson. One thing is clear: if the Bills want to end their four-game losing streak, they'll need to keep Johnson quiet and put the game into the hands of Matt Hasselbeck and the Titans' passing attack.