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Titans vs. Bills: Tennessee's Biggest Winners and Losers from NFL Week 7

Chad MintonCorrespondent IOctober 21, 2012

Titans vs. Bills: Tennessee's Biggest Winners and Losers from NFL Week 7

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    After winning what was arguably a battle between the NFL's two worst defenses, the Tennessee Titans are suddenly riding a modest two-game winning streak.

    The Titans defeated the Buffalo Bills 35-34 to get to a 3-4 record on the season.

    Just two weeks ago, the Titans looked to already be throwing in the towel after an embarrassing loss to the Minnesota Vikings.

    There are still plenty of losers in this sloppy win, but the Titans have to be feeling confident as they plan for another winnable game next week.

Winner: Chris Johnson

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    If Chris Johnson could go up against the Bills every week, he'd probably be the NFL's all-time leading rusher by now.

    Johnson now has 480 rushing yards and six touchdowns over three career games against the Bills.

    Put the 195 rushing yards in today's game aside for a moment. Johnson is finally running with confidence and determination, something that was lacking early in the season.

    The offensive line has definitely made improvements as well, but Johnson illustrated today what we've been dying to see him do for a while now.

    He was running north and south instead of straight to the sideline. He used the sideline when it was there, but he also made decisive cuts between the tackles.

    This is a great sign for the Titans moving forward. We knew the Titans were going to have to win some shootouts this season, and the Titans need Johnson to play well if they're going to do that.

Loser: Michael Griffin

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    Michael Griffin has looked disengaged this entire season, and we saw more of that against the Bills.

    He missed tackles and missed an assignment that led to a Bills touchdown from Ryan Fitzpatrick.

    The Titans just got done paying Griffin a ton of money, so they could be stuck with him for a while. Hopefully, Griffin picks it up because the Titans can't afford to keep giving up 30-plus points every week.

Winner: Matt Hasselbeck

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    Matt Hasselbeck muddied the waters even more for head coach Mike Munchak after leading another fourth-quarter comeback against the Bills.

    Hasselbeck has become the ultimate game manager for this young Titans offense, and Munchak has a tough decision on his hands when Locker returns.

    As for Hasselbeck, he's a winner for keeping this Titans ship from sinking for another week. He's done his job as a backup quarterback the best you could ask for.

    The way Hasselbeck handled the 4th-and-9 game-winning touchdown throw to Nate Washington proved how valuable he still is at age 37.

Loser: Titans Linebackers/Defensive Line

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    Even though the Titans ultimately made a play on defense to win this game, the tackling was as horrendous as you could've expected from this defense.

    Both C.J. Spiller and Fred Jackson had their way with the Titans defense up until late in the fourth quarter.

    Spiller was breaking tackles like he was the size of Brandon Jacobs.

    Chris Johnson's big day bailed this defense out from having to answer to yet another blowout loss for the Titans.

    The worst part about the defense on this particular day actually wasn't the secondary. It was the linebackers and defensive line on run defense.

    Akeem Ayers had just four tackles, while Will Witherspoon managed just two.

Winner: Nate Washington

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    Just call Nate Washington "Mr. Efficient" or "Mr. Reliable." Whichever one suits you better.

    The truth is, Washington has become one of the more underrated wide receivers in the NFL. His numbers aren't as flashy as a player like Calvin Johnson's, but he makes the most out of the opportunities he gets.

    Washington had eight targets against the Bills and turned that into six receptions for 43 yards, including the game-winning touchdown.

    Every week, you can count on Washington showing up and making a positive impact on this offense. He's become a true veteran leader for a receiving corps that is filled with youth and inexperience.

Loser: Jake Locker

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    I'm sure Jake Locker is thrilled that the Titans have won two straight, but it's still tough luck that it came at a time while he was out with an injury.

    He was making steady improvements before his injury, and we'll never know how well he might have played against the Houston Texans.

    Locker may indeed still be the hands-down starter like Mike Munchak said earlier this week, but his leash is much shorter now that the Titans have won two straight.

    If Locker struggles upon his return to the field, then Munchak will most likely be forced to put Hasselbeck back in.

    This wouldn't be the case if the Titans were still losing despite Hasselbeck's solid numbers. It's all about winning in the NFL, and Hasselbeck has this team winning.

    It will be very interesting to see how Locker does when he returns and how much patience Munchak shows to his young quarterback.

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