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Scouting Report Week 5 - Bills vs. Titans


Top 3 Individual Matchups

1 – Vladimir Ducasse vs. Jurrell Casey
Buffalo's left guard will need some assistance handling the Titans three-time Pro Bowl defensive tackle inside. Casey leads the Tennessee defense in sacks.

2 – Trent Murphy vs. Jack Conklin
The former first team All-Pro is back on the right side of Tennessee's offensive line. This is a blue-collar matchup that old school football fans will want to watch.

3 – Tre'Davious White vs. Corey Davis
A couple of first-round picks from 2016 are expected to do battle for the balance of the game. White has been solid in coverage and Davis has emerged as the Titans most dangerous passing weapon as he's coming off a career-high nine catches for 161 yards and a touchdown.

Bills Top 2 Advantages
Good advantage – Run defense
Buffalo has quietly moved just outside the top 10 in run defense. They're facing a Titans run game whose leading rusher is their quarterback Marcus Mariota. Derrick Henry managed just 24 yards on eight carries last week and Dion Lewis has four carries for zero yards. Neither are averaging more than 3.3 per carry.

Best advantage – Kick return
While the Titans have the best kick return average in the league at just over 60 yards, it's due mainly to a 94-yard return for a touchdown. Buffalo's kick return unit ranks fifth in the league and more importantly they're facing Tennessee's 31st ranked kick coverage unit that's giving up almost 29 yards a return.

Bills Number 1 Must
Win on third down
Buffalo has to boost their third down conversion percentage in this matchup on offense. Josh Allen and company have to be between 35 and 40 percent to stay on the field longer and give their defense a break. Buffalo's defense in turn has to contain Marcus Mariota in the pocket and either hurry throws or take the Titans QB down on third downs.

Scouting Eye

Tale of two quarters
It's somewhat of an anomaly, but The Titans have been dominant coming out of the chute at the start of their games. In fact, they've shut out their opponents in the first quarter through their first four games 23-0. Come the second quarter however, Tennessee's opponents have flipped the script on them shutting them out in quarter number two. The Titans have been outscored 27-0 in the second quarter.

Mariota's a closer
They're calling him the comeback kid in Nashville. Mariota has pulled a rabbit out of the hat more than once in his Titans career. Last week was the latest example when he and the Titans overcame a touchdown deficit in the fourth quarter to score 10 unanswered points to take the lead only to see the Eagles tied it at the end of regulation.

The Titans were down a field goal in overtime when Mariota staged a 16-play 75-yard drive on the team's final possession to throw a game-winning touchdown pass to Corey Davis with five seconds left in overtime.

Mariota currently leads the AFC, and is fourth in the league, in fourth quarter passer rating with a completion percentage of over 93 percent (93.3) while averaging almost nine yards per attempt (8.67) and a rating of 125. He now has seven game-winning drives since the start of the 2017 season.

Red zone stalwarts
Granted it's still early in the season, but to this point no other NFL defense has been more effective than Tennessee's when it's come to defending the red zone. The Titans are tops in the league in keeping opponents out of the end zone once they crack Tennessee's 20-yard line. Mike Vrabel's defensive unit has allowed just two touchdowns to their opponents on 10 red zone possessions, and just six touchdowns all season. That's good for second fewest in the league.

Bookend tackles back together
Since suffering a torn ACL in the Titans playoff game last January, it's been a long road back for Titans RT Jack Conklin. He wasn't quite ready for the start of the regular season and missed the team's first three games. But he was back in the lineup last week for the overtime win over Philadelphia, giving Tennessee their strong bookend tackle combination of Conklin and Taylor Lewan.

The two former first-round picks have been the anchors of the Titans line and they've done well to protect Tennessee QBs this season. Through four games the team has given up just seven sacks, good for a respectable 12th in the league.

Taking the close ones
All four of Tennessee's game this season have been decided by seven points or less. Currently on a three-game winning streak, the Titans have won each of their last three games by three points. Their only loss was in the opener in a seven-point decision to Miami (27-20).

Buffalo Chips
Quote of the week
"I want to run the ball. We know we have to. We just have to minimize the small mistakes and get some running downs, second and six, second and fives, regular first downs. Let's get things going. We do the small things, we block, we run, we catch and get first downs and convert, we don't get too many penalties, that's a winning formula."_ --RB LeSean McCoy_

Stat of the week
The Bills are tied for third in the league for most sacks or turnovers on third or fourth down with seven so far this season.

Milestones in reach
Josh Allen, with one rushing touchdown, will set a new Bills QB rookie/first-year record for rushing TDs in a season with three.

Jerry Hughes can move into sole possession of seventh place in franchise history in sacks with two sacks.

Chris Ivory needs 82 rushing yards to reach 5,000 for his career.

Final note
After having a 300-yard passing game, Marcus Mariota has a career completion percentage of 57.7 percent, with five touchdowns and four interceptions and a passer rating of 77.

The Buffalo Bills will return to New Era Field Week 5 to take on the Tennessee Titans. In anticipation for the matchup, we take a look at the opponents through the years.

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