Titans vs. Bills: 10 Keys to the Game for Tennessee

Quinn Cretton@@QuinnCrettonCorrespondent IOctober 18, 2012

NASHVILLE, TN - OCTOBER 11:  Brett Kern #6 of the Tennessee Titans holds the ball during a field goal attempt for teammate kicker Rob Bironas #2 during a at LP Field on October 11, 2012 in Nashville, Tennessee.  (Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images)
Frederick Breedon/Getty Images

Coming off of a much-needed victory against the Pittsburgh Steelers, the Titans will travel to Buffalo to take on a Bills team that handed Arizona its second loss of the season last Sunday.

In order to build on last week's win and start a potential move towards a wild card spot, the Titans will need to do the following 10 things.

1. Keep C.J. Spiller Out of Space

Over the last year and a half, teams have begun to defend C.J. Spiller in a similar way to as they used to attempt to contain Chris Johnson.

With Colin McCarthy still playing and the linebackers adding more speed with Zach Brown moving into the starting weakside spot, the Titans defense will need to prevent Spiller—and Fred Jackson for that matter—from getting to the edge.

Spiller has game-breaking ability as a runner and a pass-catcher, the Titans will need to limit his ability to get in to open space if they hope to contain a very potent Bills running game.

2. Target Jared Cook Early

Despite having arguably the biggest catch of the game in the win against the Steelers, Cook once again was fairly quiet early on.

With Kenny Britt still not 100-percent, Cook is possibly the Titans most skilled pass-catcher and needs to be allowed to build momentum throughout the course of the game on Sunday.

Cook can cause matchup problems for any defense, and against one of the weaker units in the league, he has the potential to take over the game for the Titans.

3. Run the Football Consistently

After two quality games in the last three weeks, Titans fans have begun to rediscover their optimism for Chris Johnson.

Facing one of the worst run defenses in the NFL, it is likely that Tennessee will call upon Johnson early and often against the Bills.

If the Titans are able to get Johnson into space and gain four or more yards on the ground consistently, it will open things up for the receivers and give the Titans a chance to put points on the board.

4. Work Kenny Britt into the Gameplan

Much like Jared Cook, Kenny Britt is simply too talented to ignore.

Against the Steelers, Matt Hasselbeck made a clear effort to throw the ball to Britt throughout the game, forcing the safeties to respect the deep pass throughout the game.

With another full week of practice and an extra three days of rest, Britt's timing should be improving and that should only mean good things for the Titans offense.

5. Get off the Field on the Third Down

Against the Steelers, the Titans managed to have its best success of the season on third down.

Facing an offense that is not quite as potent as Pittsburgh, the Titans defense will need to force Buffalo into long third down situations and limit the Bills time of possession throughout the contest.

6. Score Touchdowns Instead of Field Goals

The Titans have struggled to take advantage of its red zone opportunities this season and,as a result, has failed to stay in games in the second half in four of its first six games.

With two big targets in Cook and Britt as well as more of a power running back in Jamie Harper, the Titans offense is in the best shape it has been all year when it comes to putting the ball in the end zone once it gets into goal-to-go situations.

In a game that could potentially be high scoring, nearly every red zone opportunity will need to end in six points for Tennessee.

7. Avoid Turning the Ball Over

Over the course of his last three games Matt Hasselbeck has made more than his fair share of bad decisions that have ended in interceptions or dropped potential interceptions.

If the Titans hope to use this game to build momentum, they will need to win the time of possession and field position battle throughout.

By securing the ball and making the decisions, the Titans playmakers should be able to put enough points on the board to come away with the win.

8. Build on Last Week's Pass Rush

For the first time all year, the Titans were able to establish a consistent pass rush and force the quarterback out of the pocket throughout much of the game against the Steelers.

Facing a much stronger offensive line than Pittsburgh was able to present, the Titans will need its defensive ends to continue to get up field and force Ryan Fitzpatrick to make plays on the run.

Being aggressive against the pass will force the Bills into longer third down situations and make them more predictable on offense.

9. Win the Time of Possession Battle

Against a team that likes to run the football, it will be important for the Titans to stay on the field as long as possible to give its defense time to rest and remain aggressive throughout the game.

With Chris Johnson running the football better than he has most of the year and healthy targets across the offense, the Tennessee offense should be able to sustain long drives and wear down an opposing defense that has struggled to contain anyone this year.

10. Get Off to a Fast Start

The Titans have found themselves trailing early far too often this season and have been forced to abandon its gameplan early on as it tried to make a comeback throughout the second half.

Similar to its win against Pittsburgh, Titans need to score early and get a few defensive stops in order to build momentum and keep the Buffalo crowd out of the game.

Forcing a team with an already questionable defense to play from behind will only put more pressure on the Fitzpatrick-led passing game to attempt to be perfect, which can often lead to turnovers, poor decisions and three-and-outs.


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