Skip to main content

Bills-Titans game preview

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -The Buffalo Bills are hoping to follow Tennessee's example in how to bounce back into the win column coming off a bye.

The Titans (2-6) have won two straight since their bye, a much-needed break from six straight losses to open the season. Buffalo coach Dick Jauron can't remember having a bye this late and his Bills (3-5) could use another break to heal up a bit more. But they do get Trent Edwards back at quarterback.

If this team wants to go where we want to go, we're going to need to come out strong and come out and play the way we need to play,'' Edwards said.We've had two weeks to prepare for it, and it's going to be a big test for us.''

Tennessee is trying to streak in a new direction, and the Titans feel they are back to playing the way they did a year ago in putting up the NFL's best record at 13-3. The 0-6 start? The bye week helped them make a clean break.

As far as we're concerned, we're just moving on,'' Titans linebacker Keith Bulluck said.We have two now. It takes two to get three.''

While Tennessee is trying to salvage this season, Buffalo arguably hasn't been the same since the Music City Miracle playoff loss here in January 2000. The Titans have been to the playoffs five times since. The Bills? Well, the AFC's winningest team of the 1990s now threatens to finish off the first decade of this century shut out of the postseason.

The offseason signing of receiver Terrell Owens hasn't provided the offensive boost they wanted, and he is having his worst season since his rookie year with 23 catches for 281 yards and one touchdown. A hip strain that surfaced Tuesday could limit or keep Owens out Sunday.

Lee Evans, who hasn't benefited much from Owens' presence, thinks the Bills have corrected their mistakes.

``We're at a point in the season now where every game is that much bigger, and mistakes are going to cost you a lot more, so it'll be a bigger sense of urgency,'' Evans said.

Edwards missed the last two games after being knocked out by a concussion in a 16-13 overtime win at the New York Jets on Oct. 18, but had thrown for only one TD with five interceptions before being hurt. The offense hasn't produced 300 yards in a game over the past six games. The Bills have only five TDs in that stretch, including their 31-10 home loss to Houston on Nov. 1.

``We're looking forward to giving Trent a shot, and we've done some different things with our offense starting just when he got hurt, starting in that game, so hopefully those will help him and help us be more productive,'' Jauron said.

The Titans' winning streak coincides with Vince Young back as the starting quarterback. But Tennessee's success is due to Chris Johnson, the NFL's leading rusher with 959 yards, and a defense that has eight sacks and six turnovers in those two wins, including last week's 34-27 victory at San Francisco.

Young has not turned over the ball since returning to the starting job. But the Titans have limited his throws, choosing to run more with Johnson and Young even against defenses piling eight and nine players near the line of scrimmage. Buffalo is giving up an NFL-worst 173.6 yards rushing per game.

``What makes C.J.'s effort thus far so impressive is people are committed to stop him, and yet he's still able to do it,'' Titans coach Jeff Fisher said.

Bills defensive tackle Marcus Stroud hopes the Titans take the Bills for granted.

``It is the second half of the season and we are looking at it like we have a chance to go out and do some different things. This would definitely be a chance to go out and make a statement if we are able to go out there and play well and stop the run,'' he said.

The Bills could be without four starters Sunday on defense, with safety Bryan Scott likely moving to linebacker to cover for Keith Ellison. It could be worse depending on how limited end Aaron Schobel is after hurting his groin against Houston.

That defense has kept Buffalo close by forcing turnovers. The Bills are tied for second in the NFL with 15 interceptions and have 13 takeaways in the past three games. Rookie safety Jairus Byrd is trying for a fourth straight game with two interceptions.

Fisher has been cautioning his team against overlooking this defense based on rankings. He notes the Bills have faced about 60 more running plays than other NFL teams this season, tilting those numbers.

Center Kevin Mawae agrees.

On paper, we looked really good at the beginning of the season, too,'' Mawae said.We're just going to go out there and do what we do. I know what they're ranked. We've just got to focus on ourselves. We can't focus on what their rankings are. This is the NFL, and anything can happen on any Sunday.''

This article has been reproduced in a new format and may be missing content or contain faulty links. Please use the Contact Us link in our site footer to report an issue.