1. A 5-0 start?
There's potential for the Bills to start the season 5-0 for the first time since 1991. It would mark just the second time in franchise history the Bills would start the season with five straight wins. Buffalo has already accumulated several impressive stats through four weeks of play, going undefeated into a Thursday Night Football against the Chiefs would be the icing on the cake to start the season.
The Bills recorded their third-straight game of at least 30 points after a win against the Raiders making it the most consecutive 30-point games for a Bills team since 2011. They have also scored at least 27 points in all games so far this season, the highest point total in four-straight games since 2004. The Titans also enter this contest undefeated with three wins and lead the AFC South. Only one of these teams will leave Nashville undefeated on Sunday.
Bills head coach Sean McDermott thinks his team has started the season strong, but doesn't want the hard work ahead to get lost in enjoying being undefeated.
"There's been a lot of good," McDermott said. "I certainly appreciate how hard our players work and how hard they play, how hard the staff is working, in all areas of our staff. Good to be 4-0. We acknowledge that also with an eye on our growth and the future. We have to continue to grow and build our football team so we can complement one another. The offense, defense and special teams all working hand-in-hand complementing one another."
2. Titans attempt to recover from COVID-19 outbreak
With all the NFL COVID-19 protocols and testing in place, we saw how quickly the virus can still spread with the Titans experiencing a COVID-19 outbreak before their Week 4 game. The Titans got news that they had a first positive test come out of their facility on Thursday, September 24. They closed up shop on Tuesday, September 29 and sent everyone home to begin virtual meetings until the positive results stopped popping up.
After several more players and personnel tested positive, the NFL postponed Week 4's Steelers vs. Titans game on Wednesday, September 30. The game was going to be moved to Monday or Tuesday, but it had to rescheduled to later in the season after receiving more positive results. However on Wednesday morning, new reports confirmed multiple players testing positive.
On Monday, Sean McDermott acknowledged players and coaches are aware of the on-going situation in Tennessee but they remain concentrated on the upcoming game.
"I think our guys are focused," McDermott said on Monday afternoon. "This is a focused football team. They're aware of certainly the situation down there, but I think they are confident in the processes that are in place, both at the league level and what we're doing here. That's not to say that we won't have a positive at some point, we're just going to do the best we can and continue to be diligent in our approach. It's an uphill battle. It's a challenge to this point, our team has handled it extremely well."
3. Sean McDermott is undefeated against the Titans as the Bills head coach
Sean McDermott has faced the Titans twice already since becoming Buffalo's head coach. McDermott beat the Titans in both games and has the chance to make it three-straight wins against Tennessee. The first two wins weren't an easy feat, both games were decided by one score. In 2018, the Bills beat the Titans 13-12. In 2019, Buffalo beat Tennessee 14-7.
The two teams matchup similarly in a lot of categories. They both have top 10 offenses. Buffalo ranks fourth averaging 409.5 total yards per game, and Tennessee ranks 10th averaging 391.7 total yards per game. And, both quarterbacks rank in the top 10 in passer rating. Bills quarterback Josh Allen is second in the NFL averaging a 122.7 rating, and Titans quarterback Ryan Tannehil is ninth averaging a 105.8 passer rating.
With these two teams both having success on offense, McDermott expects another tough test on Sunday.
"When you look at it honestly they've got a lot of rest probably over the last x amount of days, so they should be fresh," McDermott said. "But just focusing on our team, this is a good football team we are going to face. Like I said earlier, they went to the AFC Championship game last year and were up on the Chiefs into the game there. We know the talent they have on that roster, and we're playing at their place so all those things are reasons why we need to have our focus in the right spot."
4. Why run defense is key to Bills success
The Bills run defense got a taste of what to expect against the Titans when they were tasked with stopping running back Josh Jacobs on the Raiders. Going into the game, Jacobs ranked fifth in the league with 252 rushing yards. Per PFF, he also had the most broken tackles out of any player to start the season with 18. Buffalo's run defense successfully slowed Jacobs' rushing attack by allowing just 48 yards on 15 attempts. Bills defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier thinks their outing against the Raiders is a great way to prepare for Titans running back Derrick Henry.
"We felt like we had our work cut out for us, defending the run game and not allowing them to be a balanced offense and fortunately for us," Frazier explained. "We did a really good job of neutralizing the run game. I think, like I said, Josh [Jacobs] finish with 48 yards total for the day and that's a big accomplishment. And so now you put into quarterbacks hand and you live with what happens there but you don't let them become balanced and so just appreciate our guys for getting the job done in that area and that really helped us to be successful."
The Bills defense will try to neutralize Henry on Sunday who led the league with 319 rushing yards through the first three weeks. The defensive line will work to stop Henry up front because he ranks fourth with 18 rushing first downs.
5. Tennessee hosts first game with fans
Several Bills players and coaches spoke to how different a stadium feels with fans after the Miami Dolphins game. They'll get another chance to play in front of fans on Sunday in Nashville. The Titans will host their first game with fans allowing for 10% capacity, which is roughly 6,900 people.
We are also seeing several teams score plenty of points through the first four weeks of play this season. In Week 3, 15 teams scored at least 30 points. That's the second most in a single week since 1960. Defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier thinks one reason for this may be due to the fact that several stadiums are without fans. Defenses are missing the energy that comes from fans after big stops.
"I got to believe it's a factor, to what degree is hard to say," Frazier explained. "But you do miss the energy of the fans when you make a big play on defense, especially when you're at home and the noise that it can create so offenses can't just operate like it's practice. You do miss that, but this is where we are in 2020. It's just the difference, so you don't have that energy. You do have to bring it, but you still miss the noise factor that you would get from your fans when a big play would occur, and that makes a difference."
Last year, Bills Mafia took over Nashville making Nissan Stadium look like Bills Stadium. We will see how much blue and red are scattered throughout the stadium on Sunday.
Bills fans traveled near and far to support the team during their Week 5 game against the Titans. Scroll through to see photos of the faithful.