The Buffalo Bills and Tennessee Titans will face off on Monday night, and at the risk of overreacting to Week 1 outcomes, these two teams seem to be heading in different directions. The Titans lost to the lowly New York Giants while the Bills beat the defending Super Bowl champs in their own building.
Three big questions
What is it going to take to stop Derrick Henry?
Henry took one 74 yards to the house against the Bills a year ago as part of a 20-carry, 143-yard performance. Buffalo was largely able to bottle him up, but one play can change a game and that long Henry run did just that. Historically, Henry is a slow starter, and averages just four yards per carry in the month of September. He’s on the wrong side of the age line for running backs and didn’t look great against the Giants. It’s going to be a big game for Buffalo’s backup defensive tackles subbing in for an injured Ed Oliver and limited Tim Settle, as well as a prove-it game of sorts for Tremaine Edmunds.
How big of a deal is a limited Gabe Davis?
Davis tweaked his ankle in the final day of practice getting ready for the Titans and we don’t know the severity. Some media reports indicate it could keep him very limited on Monday night, so what’s the next plan? Rookie Khalil Shakir worked in at boundary receiver during camp but was inactive in the season opener. Jamison Crowder has played outside, as well, and could be in line for more time. The biggest concern here is lack of preparation—since the injury happened during the last practice, there won’t be many live reps to get ready. This is also going to do change things for Stefon Diggs; he won’t be able to line up in the slot as he did in Week 1 and he’s going to have to play more than the rotational snaps he took in the opener. Diggs is likely back in the 90% range for snap counts this week.
Who will cut down mistakes?
We can recall the final offensive play against Tennessee last year when Dion Dawkins and the left side of the OL got smashed while Josh Allen slipped, costing Buffalo a chance to win the game—but that wasn’t the only mistake. The long Henry run clearly impacted the final score and Allen threw an interception, as well. On the flip side, Jordan Poyer had a pick. With the Titans’ pass rush hurting and a banged up secondary, the Bills’ offense should have the time and space to get their offense moving. Contrast that with a Tennessee team coming off a sloppy performance in their opener, and Buffalo should be able to just play their game and let mistakes come to them.
The Titans only lost two games by more than ten points in 2021 (New England Patriots and Arizona Cardinals). They tend to keep games lower-scoring and close. The point spread made it to 10.5 before being bet back down to 9.5. So I would tend to lean toward Tennessee +9.5.
The last time Buffalo scored fewer than 27 points (without hurricane-force winds in play) was November 2021. Nine straight games, excluding the wind game against NE. No Harold Landry. The Titans haven’t given up 27 points since November 2021, but Buffalo is a juggernaut so they get to 27+ points.
The over/under was 48.5 when I submitted this pick, so if the Bills score 27 and the Titans keep it close and low-scoring, it’s like a 27-21 game to hit the under. I’m not buying that.
The two teams both got to 30 points last year. If the Bills hit 30 and the Titans get to 20, they’re going to hit the over on 48.5 points. If the Bills smother the Titans like they did the Los Angeles Rams, I’ll start betting more unders.
- Buffalo Bills to win
- Bills/Titans to combine for more than 48.5 points
Every week this season we’ll be cooking up our own parlay that our good friends at DraftKings will put right on their home page, for all of you, our loyal fans to follow.
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