Week 16: Bills vs. Titans
Dick Jauron said it best, it seems like every week the Bills play one of the hottest teams in football. What makes it entertaining is the Bills are also among the hottest teams in the league. The case can be made that this week the two hottest teams will be meeting at Ralph Wilson Stadium with faint playoff hopes on the line. The Bills and Titans are both at the .500 mark and got there with solid second halves of the season. The Bills have won two straight, four of five, and five of seven since their bye. The Titans have won five in a row and seven of nine after an 0-5 start. For the second week in a row the Bills face an ex-player at running back as Travis Henry comes in with presumably a big chip on his shoulder after the way he was forced out of Buffalo. They also have to contend with perhaps the most explosive and entertaining player in the game in rookie QB Vince Young.
FACTS AND FIGURES
||Buffalo (7-7) vs. Tennessee (7-7)
||Ralph Wilson Stadium
||Gus Johnson and Steve Tasker
||Bills by 4½
||Titans lead 24-16 (Bills 2-1 in playoffs)
||Titans Won 1
||Titans 28-26 in Tennessee (2003)
||Rush (7th); Pass (30th); overall (27th)
||Rush (30th); Pass (25th); overall (32nd)
||Rush (26th); Pass (29th); overall (31st)
||Rush (27th); Pass (8th); overall (14th)
The Bills are healthier then they have been in recent weeks. The only injury of note suffered against Miami was to Daimon Shelton. He suffered a head injury and missed the second half. He will be questionable for this week's game. Terrence McGee, Willis McGahee, and Takeo Spikes are banged up, but all three finished the game against the Dolphins. McGahee has a variety of injuries including ribs, ankle, and the latest injury being a head injury. Spikes has a knee and ankle problem while McGee is also battling an ankle sprain. John DiGiorgio has missed the last two games with a high ankle sprain.
The Titans are also pretty healthy with four players that will be listed as questionable. TE Bo Scaife has an ankle injury, LB Peter Sirmon a knee problem, LB Ken Amato has a neck sprain and LB Colby Bockwoldt a shoulder injury.
Bills Daily Injury Page
RB Willis McGahee vs. RB Travis Henry:
Ok, we know this isn't a direct matchup but everyone will be watching to see who will perform better. The presence of McGahee pushed Henry out of Buffalo. After some struggles, including a drug suspension, Henry is now back at the top of his game. Both players should have success as both defenses are near the bottom in run defense. McGahee will have to watch out for Keith Bulluck who is the leading tackler for the Titans.
LB London Fletcher vs. QB Vince Young:
It isn't Young's arm that the Bills have to worry about as much as his legs. They will need to put a spy on him and that likely will be Fletcher who is the heart and soul of the middle of the Bills defense.
RT Terrence Pennington vs. LDE Kyle Vanden Bosch:
Pennington has a big battle this week against Vanden Bosch. While the veteran isn't as dominant a pass rusher as he once was, he still leads the team in sacks with 5½.
WR Lee Evans vs. CB Pacman Jones:
Evans is the biggest playmaker on the Bills offense and goes up against the electrifying Jones. J.P. Losman will have to be careful when he puts the ball up for grabs for Evans because Jones can make a game changing play very easily.
DE Aaron Schobel vs. LT Michael Roos:
Schobel is having an all-pro year and leads the league with 13½ sacks. He needs to get pressure on Young but more importantly he needs to watch his containment or else Young will run for big yardage.
CB Terrence McGee vs. WR Drew Bennett:
McGee will be lined up against the Titans top receiving threat in Bennett. If he can shut him down it will severely curtail the passing game of the Titans.
When The Bills Have The Ball: The Titans are not strong defensively and the Bills should be able to attack them on the ground and through the air. Look for them to use more of a ball control attack, mixing in the ground game with the short passing game instead of the deep ball. This will keep the dangerous Young off the field.
When The Titans Have The Ball: Henry will be very hungry to do some damage back where he had his early career success. For that reason look for them to give him the ball all day long. They will also try to use the Bills quick, aggressive pass rush against them by opening up running lanes for Young. Look for little from the passing game especially if the weather is ugly.
BILLS DAILY PREDICTION
Both teams are obviously red hot and confident with everything to play for so emotions will run hot. The Bills should have a slight advantage because they are at home, albeit in a one-third empty stadium. I don't like this matchup from a Bills standpoint however as Henry will be out for blood and with the Bills poor run defense he can have an absolutely huge day. Young can also have a great deal of success running the ball through open holes that the aggressive defensive line will leave when pass rushing. I just think the matchups favor the Titans and they will end the Bills late playoff run:
Titans 28, Bills 17
Season Prediction Record: (9-5)
Season Record Against The Spread: (7-7)
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