Can the Buffalo Bills Contain Chris Johnson and the Tennessee Titans?
The Buffalo Bills are entering Week 10 coming off of a bye week, which has allowed their injured players time to heal. Trend Edwards is expected to start after missing the previous two games due to a concussion.
Tennessee has looked strong since they gave Vince Young the starting job, mostly due to the astounding play of second year running back Chris Johnson.
Hopefully the Bills have used the bye week to get Trent Edwards back in sync with his receivers, as well as the offensive line working together to give him time in the pocket, as they have allowed 23 sacks this season, 19 of which to Edwards.
Keys Matchups of the Game
RB Chris Johnson vs. Buffalo's Run Defense
Coming into this week, Buffalo has the worst run defense in the NFL, while Tennessee has the second best. In the last seven games, six running backs have achieved 100 or more rush yards against the Bills, most recently being back up Ryan Moats of the Texans rushing for 126 yards and scoring three touchdowns.
Defensive Tackles Marcus Stroud and Kyle Williams will have to close the holes in order to keep Johnson from running all over them.
Buffalo cannot miss tackles, and the banged up linebacking corps will need to give it their all to contain the explosive Chris Johnson, who already has 959 yards and six touchdowns on the year, averaging an astonishing 6.7 yards-per-carry.
Buffalo's Pass Defense vs. QB Vince Young
Buffalo's pass defense has been the only high point of the season. The secondary, which has 15 interceptions already this season, led by the astonishing play of rookie FS Jairus Byrd, is ranked 10th in the NFL. Expect Vince Young to attempt 15-20 passes, so Buffalo's defense needs to capitalize when he drops back.
Chris Johnson has been utilized in the backfield as well, so Buffalo needs to play great coverage to contain Tennessee's passing attack, featuring receivers Nate Washington, who has four touchdown receptions, and Justin Gage, who is also a speedy weapon downfield.
CB Cortland Finnegan, Roderick Hood vs. WR Lee Evans, Terrell Owens
Tennessee has the worst ranked pass defense in the NFL, which is a bright note for the sub-par Buffalo pass attack.
The Titan's defense has recorded nine interceptions on the season, so if Trent can continue to be accurate, expect Buffalo's wideouts to perform sucessfully.
Trent Edwards is under a great deal of scrutiny due to the recent Michael Vick rumors, which will hopefully motivate him to get the ball to his receivers consistently.
Tennesse's Pass Rush vs. Buffalo O-Line
Tennessee has 19 sacks on the year, and forced nine fumbles. Buffalo's offensive front needs to step up this week to prevent Trent from getting hit, as he is coming off the second concussion in two years.
With Tennessee looking strong the past two weeks, the offensive line really needs to contain the pocket, and allow plays to develop. If they can be successful in this, Buffalo has a shot at winning this game.
RB Marshawn Lynch, Fred Jackson
It is time for Marshawn Lynch to go into "Beast Mode." Since returning from his three-game suspension, he has only rushed for 217 yards, scoring one unimpressive touchdown against Carolina on the goal line.
Since Marshawn's return, Fred Jackson has not had the opportunity to perform as he had the first three games of the season. Hopefully Dick Jauron used the bye week to establish a game plan in which he can utilize both of his under-performing running backs.
Buffalo Defensive Line vs. Tennessee Offensive Line
Buffalo has been consistent in sacking the quarterback throughout the year, yet Tennessee has only allowed the quarterback to be sacked nine times. Rookie Aaron Maybin has been spending extra time in practice working on getting to the quarterback, and being the force he has the potential to be.
Aaron Schobel and Chris Kelsay have eight sacks combined, and they need to put pressure on Vince Young throughout the entire game, hopefully causing bad decisions resulting in turnovers.
Overall, I believe Buffalo has a chance to win this game if they can execute without suffering any injuries. Both injured safeties Donte Whitner and Bryan Scott are returning, and Bryan Scott has been taking reps at linebacker, so Jairus Byrd can continue his exceptional play.
Buffalo really needs to contain Chris Johnson, as he will be the main weapon used by the Titans. The defense has to make their tackles, and not allow Johnson to run away with the game.
My prediction: Buffalo 21, Tennessee 19
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