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Scouting Report - Bills-Titans - Week 5


Top 3 Individual Matchups
1 – Charles Clay vs. Michael Griffin –
Buffalo's leading receiver should have a good opportunity to be productive against the veteran safety, who plays a good deal of off coverage against tight ends who are receiving threats.

2 – Richie Incognito vs. Jurrell Casey –Casey is an emerging star on Tennessee's defensive line. He makes it difficult for opposing offensive lines to gain a foothold in the line of scrimmage battle, and offers above average pass rush ability for an interior player.

3 - Mario Williams vs. Jeremiah Poutasi –Tennessee's rookie right tackle is going to have his hands full with Buffalo's top power rusher. Williams hasn't put together a big game yet this season, but that could change this weekend.

Bills Top 2 Advantages
Good advantage – Big play ability
Even without Sammy Watkins and LeSean McCoy, Buffalo's passing game still has big play threats with Charles Clay and Percy Harvin. The Bills lead the league in plays of 20 yards or more with 22 in four games.

Best advantage - Pass rushIt hasn't shown itself much to this point, but Buffalo's pass rush should have good success against a Tennessee offensive front that has had trouble protecting their rookie quarterback. Marcus Mariota has been sacked 12 times in three games. The Bills need to get to Mariota early to force negative plays.


Bills Number 1 Must
Red zone conversions **Buffalo's red zone efficiency took a hit last week when they went 0-for-3. They need a bounce back performance against a Titans defense that allows touchdowns inside their 20 at a rate of better than 70 percent (71.4%). Knowing Tennessee's offense has been productive on their red zone trips, Buffalo has to be as good or better to post a victory.

Scouting Eye
Mariota rolling
Tennessee's top draft pick has performed very well in his first three career NFL starts before the Titans bye this past Sunday. In fact it's among the best in NFL history for rookie quarterbacks. He's tied former Washington QB Mark Rypien (1988) for the most touchdown passes in league annals through the first three games of a career. Mariota currently ranks fifth in passer rating (110.3), fifth in yards per attempt (8.6) and is tied for fifth in TD passes (8) even though he's only played in three games.

Pittsburgh principlesIt's not quite the Steelers defense, but Titans assistant head coach Dick LeBeau and defensive coordinator Ray Horton previously worked together in Pittsburgh. So there are a great deal of Steelers fingerprints on Tennessee's defensive scheme. From the three-man front, to talented pass rushing outside linebackers to zone blitz concepts, the Titans defense has strong resemblances to the units that LeBeau ran in Pittsburgh.

Popular targetsThere aren't too many game breaking talents in Tennessee's receiving corps, but there are a couple of reliable ones. WR Kendall Wright and TE Delanie Walker are the two primary weapons that Mariota relies in the Titans passing attack. Through the first three games the two have combined for more than a third of the team's total pass targets (34%). Not surprisingly, the pair are one and two on the team in receptions and have combined for three touchdown catches.

Possession hogsIn each of their first three games this season the Titans have won the time of possession battle. It doesn't always translate to wins, but their almost 35 minutes of possession time against the Colts almost got them an upset win two weeks ago. Their average time of possession of 33:54 ranks third in the league.

Cover upTennessee has been without their best cover corner in Jason McCourty the first three games of the season. McCourty was dealing with a groin injury, which has not allowed him to play at all in 2015. That is expected to change Sunday as he practiced fully all week. McCourty led the Titans in interceptions, pass breakups and forced fumbles last season.

Plenty inside the 20The Titans have only one win in three games, but you can't fault their red zone touchdown efficiency. Tennessee ranks second in the league scoring touchdowns in the red zone better than three quarters of the time (76.9%). That's tied with Pittsburgh for best in the AFC as they've made good on 10 of their 13 trips. Seven of those 10 touchdowns have come via the pass with three on the ground.

Buffalo Chips
Quote of the week
"You've got to physical in all aspects of pass protection. These guys are 6-2, 250 or 260 and I have to bring something to the table. I can't come knocking on the door with Girl Scout cookies, I've got to bring a hammer. So I put it in my mind that I'm the biggest dude out there. I'm bigger than Marcell (Dareus). I'm bigger than Mario (Williams) when it comes to this pass protection game so you've just got to have that mentality."
RB Cierre Wood

Stat of the weekThe Titans defense is allowing an average of 6.36 yards per play on first down, which ranks 31st in the NFL. More than half the time (52.4%) opposing rushers gain four yards or more on first down.

Milestones in reachDan Carpenter needs one field goal to have made 200 in his career.

Ronald Darby needs two pass breakups to have the most passes defensed through the first five weeks of a season in NFL history.

Percy Harvin needs 63 yards from scrimmage for 5,000 in his career.

Final noteTyrod Taylor's completion percentage of 71.7 percent is the highest through four games for a Bills quarterback in team annals.

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