When the Buffalo Bills take on the Tennessee Titans this coming Monday night, the home crowd at Highmark Stadium is sure to be wild. Jim Kelly, the Hall of Fame quarterback, is the Legend of the Game. The Bills dismantled the defending Super Bowl champs in Week 1, opening the 2022 NFL season with a 31-14 shellacking of the Los Angeles Rams. They’ll look to make it two straight wins for the year against a team that’s beaten them the last two times they’ve faced each other.
Both of those losses—a 42-16 drubbing in 2020 and a 34-31 loss last year—came in Tennessee. Oddly enough, this is the fifth consecutive season that the Bills and Titans have played one another, meaning that quarterback Josh Allen has literally played a regular-season game against the Titans in each of his five professional seasons. He led the Bills to victory in the first two meetings.
If Allen and company are going to win this week, they’ll need some big performances from some big players. Since we could write about Josh each week, I’m going to skip him this time in order to spread the love around to his teammates. Allen is obviously a big player in the game, but who else are we watching this week?
Here are our five Bills to watch on Monday Night Football.
RB Devin Singletary
In Week 1, it was clear to anyone watching the game that, although Buffalo has three running backs who will touch the football, it’s Singletary who deserves the most touches. He carried just eight times last week, but he managed 48 yards on those carries, adding two receptions for 14 yards to his ledger. In the Titans’ matchup with the New York Giants, Saquon Barkley carried 18 times for 168 yards and a score, adding six catches for 30 yards. Singletary doesn’t have the same talent that Barkley does, but if the Bills can run at will like the Giants did last week, this game could be a runaway early. Look for Singletary to break a big run or two, which will open up even more space for Allen and the passing game to cook.
WR Gabe Davis
Stefan Diggs is too obvious, and some of you might even think that Davis is too obvious, as well. However, Davis was only targeted five times last week even though he played on 98% of the team’s offensive snaps. Something tells me that he’s going to see a few more looks this week, and if he sees more looks, he’ll probably have a monster week. Davis converted in his limited chances last week, nabbing four passes for 88 yards and a touchdown grab on the evening. Whether it’s Kristian Fulton or Roger McCreary covering him, Davis has a size and strength advantage that the Bills should be able to exploit.
G Ryan Bates/Rodger Saffold
Okay, I’m cheating a bit here, but whichever man ends up with the unenviable task of blocking Jeffrey Simmons will need to have a good day in order to keep Buffalo’s offense on track. Simmons isn’t Aaron Donald, but he’s capable of wrecking a game plan just as well as any defensive tackle in football. He was a problem for the Giants last week, and while I’d like to think that Buffalo’s offensive line has better personnel and is better coached, it’s still going to be a huge matchup.
DT DaQuan Jones
This is a little bit of a niche pick, but hear me out: I think one of the main reasons Buffalo struggled against Tennessee over the last two years is inferior play from their interior defensive linemen. If Jones can anchor the one-tech position like I think he will, it will make everyone else’s job easier, whether it’s Tremaine Edmunds and Matt Milano at the linebacker level, or Ed Oliver (if he can play through the ankle injury he suffered last week) or Jordan Phillips at the three-tech, Jones’s success will ensure the success of everyone else. Jones won’t be the guy racking up the sexy stats, but if guys around him are able to make plays because they’re free and clean of blocks, then he’s doing his job. Keep an eye on big number 92 down there in the trenches.
CB Christian Benford
What a find by the Bills scouts and general manager Brandon Beane. The rookie out of Villanova didn’t look like a sixth-round pick last weekend, as he started and played great against a good Rams offense. Tennessee doesn’t have the name recognition at wideout that the Rams do, but they have some good players who could pose unique challenges. Another issue is that Tennessee is a physical run team, and I’m positive that Benford has never seen anyone like Derrick Henry in the Colonial Athletic Association before. If the Titans try to run to the outside, Benford is going to be challenged as a tackler just as much as he will be challenged in coverage.