The Titans come into the game riding high off an upset victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers last week. Tough to watch for most of the season, Mike Munchak's crew still has an outside shot at the playoffs in a shockingly mediocre AFC.
Also still in the mix playoffs-wise is a Bills team that sits atop the AFC East—along with every other team in the division. With all four teams vying for top billing, getting a home win on Sunday is imperative.
With that in mind, here's a look at everything you need to know about Titans-Bills.
Where: Ralph Wilson Stadium in Buffalo, N.Y.
When: Sunday, Oct. 21 at 1 p.m. ET
Live Streaming: NFL Sunday Ticket
Betting Line: Bills (-3), according to Bovada.
Over/Under: 46.5, according to Bovada.
What's at Stake?
Even though the Bills have looked like the worst team in the NFL at certain points in the season, the 3-3 logjam atop the AFC East puts them in a position to stay atop the division with a victory.
For the Titans, it seems likely that they're playing for draft position already, barring an unforeseen resurgence.
With starting quarterback Jake Locker still out on Sunday and Matt Hasselbeck performing poorly in his stead, Tennessee simply does not have enough offensive firepower to make up for its defensive deficiencies.
Both of these teams seem unlikely to make the playoffs at this point, but this game means far more for Buffalo.
DB Tommie Campbell, Ankle, Left Week 6
LB Patrick Bailey, Hand, Missed Week 6
QB Jake Locker, Shoulder, Out
RB Javon Ringer, Knee, Out
DE Mario Williams, Wrist, Probable
LB Shawne Merriman, Achilles, Probable
DB Da'Norris Searcy, Ankle, Left Week 6
DL Mark Anderson, Knee, Out
DL Spencer Johnson, Ankle, Missed Week 6
Fantasy Player to Watch: RB C.J. Spiller
After seemingly soaring to the top of running back rankings with Fred Jackson out of the lineup, Spiller has come way back to earth lately.
Though he ran for 88 yards and a touchdown last week against the Arizona Cardinals, it was the first time he had gone over 33 yards or hit the 10-carry mark since Week 2.
If Spiller's uptick in touches continues on Sunday, it should mean big things for the third-year running back. Tennessee comes into Week 7 with perhaps the worst defense in football, ranking 29th against the pass and 23rd against the run.
Considering Spiller's ability to make big plays in both facets of the offense, it stands to reason that he'll break out for at least one big gain.
With six teams on bye this week, the Bills leading rusher should make a solid RB2 on Sunday.
What They're Saying
Fresh off their critical upset of the Steelers, the Titans hope the worst is behind them and it's going to be all greener pastures from here on out. Speaking on what last week's win could do for his team, head coach Mike Munchak said it should give his team a ton of confidence heading into Week 7.
“Anything is possible,” Munchak said (via The Tennessean's Jim Wyatt and John Glennon). “Does that mean because we won this game we are going to beat Buffalo? No. But I think it gives you that kind of confidence.”
While the Bills were also victorious as an underdog last week, winning hasn't cured all the criticism in Buffalo. While some scorn has been placed on head coach Chan Gailey's play-calling, his players have come to his defense.
Here is what linebacker Bryan Scott told the Buffalo News' Jay Skurski:
I respect coach Gailey so much, first as a man, even before a football coach. His outlook on life, how dedicated he is, he did a great job. Everyone has counted us out, and he’s the one who put things back in perspective. He’s like, ‘Look, this is where we stand. The season is far from over for us. There’s so much football left to be played. Don’t let the naysayers get in our heads.’ Seeing a leader like that, how can you not stand behind that?
Titans Key Player: RB Chris Johnson
Though the situation is certainly bleak, Johnson has been good enough in two of the past three weeks to give the Titans some hope for a resurgence.
Facing off against top-tier run defenses in the Steelers and Houston Texans, the Tennessee back combined for 232 yards on 44 carries.
Unfortunately, those two weeks also represent 77.1 of Johnson's rushing output this season as he's been dreadful in the other four games.
Luckily for Tennessee, Johnson should be in store for a third good performance on Sunday. The Bills come into Week 7 as easily the worst run defense in football, giving up an astounding 173.5 yards per game.
With Hasselbeck unreliable at best, the Titans have absolutely no chance if CJ2K gives has another CJ2K disappointment this week.
Bills Key Player: QB Ryan Fitzpatrick
The former Harvard signal-caller has been a Jekyll-Hyde quarterback all season, looking brilliant one moment and then absolutely abhorrent the next.
Much of that has to do with what the opposing defenses give Fitzpatrick.
Though no one would accuse him of being the league's most accurate passer, he's actually quite adept at throwing underneath. On passes traveling 10 or fewer yards through the air, Fitzpatrick is nearly a 71 percent passer and has thrown six touchdowns against just one pick.
Where Fitzpatrick gets himself in trouble is when he tries stretching the field. On passes traveling 11 yards or greater, the Bills quarterback completes just 36.8 percent of his attempts and has thrown seven of his eight interceptions.
If the Titans are able to bring the safeties in and corral the short pass, this game could be close. However, recent history seems to favor Fitzpatrick and the Bills on this front.
It seems pretty apparent who the Bills are in 2012: a mediocre team that defeats bottom-tier teams with regularity and gets destroyed by the upper crust.
Well, the Titans are nowhere near even the middle of the league.
Look for the Bills to comfortably take this contest at home.
Score Prediction: Bills 27, Titans 14
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