1. What the Bills need to do offensively to win on Sunday
Stephen Hauschka nailed a 46-yard field goal as time expired to lift Buffalo to a 13-12 victory over the Titans the last time the two teams played in Week 5 of 2018. The Bills leaned on the strength of their defense as Josh Allen completed 10 passes for 82 yards and Zay Jones had three catches for 20 yards.
Just a year later, Jones and Allen are two of the last remaining pieces from that offense. With Allen’s status uncertain for Sunday, Jones has stressed the importance of execution when they meet the Titans again.
“I’m positive that if the group just executes and stays ahead of the chains and doesn’t put ourselves in bad situations we will be able to be efficient,” Jones said. “The thing is, this is a really good defense we’re facing so we don’t want to play from behind. It’s not just the game plan we’re focused on, it’s more mentally and the execution aspect of it.”
What could ruin Buffalo’s execution on Sunday will be the weather. Nashville is projected for scattered thunderstorms throughout the day that will leave the field wet and ball slick. The Bills have yet to play in adverse weather this season.
“Playing in Buffalo you understand every game won’t be sunny and clear but you need to take extra steps to watch your footing, getting in and out of your breaks, and most importantly securing the football in those conditions,” Jones said.
Of course the opponent doesn’t help either. Much like Buffalo the Titans lean on the strength of their secondary. Tennessee has a diverse group back there says Jones and Buffalo will need to take advantage of any opportunity it might get.
2. Defensive line won’t change approach in Week 5
It doesn’t matter who’s lining up against Jordan Phillips on Sunday, he’s attacking them the same way.
“It doesn’t matter who is out there, we’re going to do our thing and dictate what happens,” Phillips said.
Phillips recorded his first sack as a Bill during Week 3 against the Bengals and finally felt a relief being able to get the home crowd riled up the way he did. It’s his only sack of the year and one of just seven for Buffalo this season.
Phillips has seen an increased role since the season-ending injury to Harrison Phillips.
“These last couple of weeks there’s more plays that have come my way,” Phillips said. “We’re not a team that is focused on making plays, when they come to us, we execute and go on about our day.”
He has a better grasp on the defense and his role this season and credits it as a reason why he’s playing faster. That quick decision-making will come in handy when playing the Titans offensive line.
Although he lines up on the interior, Phillips might encounter some offensive tackles this week with the way Tennessee likes to pull its linemen around. Phillips and the entire defensive line won’t change their approach with who’s lining up against them.
“No, not at all,” Phillips said when asked about Taylor Lewan’s return to the Titans offensive line. “Taylor [Lewan] is a player and he does what he does but it’s not going to change anything that we do.”
3. Two Bills named to Pro Football Focus All-Pro team at the quarter mark
With the first four weeks of the NFL season over, Pro Football Focusput together their first-quarter All-Pro team to highlight the best players at every position heading into Week 5.
Safety Micah Hyde earned one nod.
Perhaps the most underrated safety in the NFL, Buffalo Bills’ Micah Hyde leads all qualifiers at his position in overall grade through four weeks (89.6). He’s also logged an impressive 88.9 coverage grade, zero penalties, three defensive stops and just one missed tackles on the year.
Wide receiver Andre Roberts was named to the list as a kick returner. Roberts has appeared in two games for the Bills this season and is coming off an All-Pro season with the New York Jets in 2018. Roberts has returned nine punts for 52 yards and three kickoffs for 94 yards so far this season.