MNF Preview: Tennessee at Buffalo

Josh Allen produced four TDs in last week's season-opening win over the Rams in L.A.

Buffalo Bills vs. Tennessee Titans

Line: Bills -10

Total: 47.5

Where: Highmark Stadium, Orchard Park, New York

When: Monday, 9/19 at 7:15 p.m. ET

TV: ESPN

The Tennessee Titans used a 34-31 win over Buffalo last October to propel them to the No. 1 seed in the AFC.

They will try to use Monday night’s game against the Bills to silence critics following their 21-20 loss to the Giants at home last week. Tennessee was a 5.5-point favorite against New York, but the Giants used a late touchdown, 2-point conversion and missed Titans field goal to spring the upset.

Buffalo looked like a well-oiled machine in its season opener, blowing out the Rams on the road in a 31-10 final. The Bills have had some extra rest since playing that game last Thursday night.

Oddsmakers opened Buffalo as a 7-point home favorite for this game, but the early betting action has pushed that number to -10. There has not been much movement on the total, as it has dropped from 48.5 to 47.5 as of Friday night.

The Bills have shifted in the futures market following their win over the Rams, and they are now the +450 ‘chalk’ to win the Super Bowl at DraftKings. Tennessee has dropped to a 50-1 longshot and has now covered the spread three times in its last nine games. The Titans have covered the spread in six of their last nine games against the Bills, though.

They will be tasked with slowing down Buffalo quarterback Josh Allen on Monday night. Allen threw for 297 yards and three touchdowns against the Rams, while rushing for 56 yards and another score—he is the +425 ‘chalk’ to win the MVP this season.

Running back Devin Singletary had eight carries for 48 yards, while wide receiver Stefon Diggs caught eight passes for 122 yards and a touchdown. Wide receiver Gabe Davis got off to a strong start as well, turning four receptions into 88 yards and a score. They are facing a Tennessee defense that ranked second against the run last season and No. 25 against the pass (245.2).

The Titans only allowed 100-plus rushing yards in two games last season, but they gave up 238 to the Giants last week. It was the most rushing yards they have allowed since giving up 281 to Houston in 2018.

Tennessee’s Derrick Henry was unable to match that output, averaging just 3.9 yards per carry on 21 attempts. Quarterback Ryan Tannehill completed 20 of 33 passes for 266 yards and two touchdowns.

“We left a lot of meat on the bone running the football,” Titans coach Mike Vrabel said.

Buffalo led the NFL in defensive yards allowed per game in 2021 (272.8), but Henry rushed 20 times for 143 yards and three touchdowns in that contest. His fourth-quarter score turned out to be the game winner.

The Titans have gone ‘under’ the total in five of their last six games, but they have cashed the ‘over’ in 12 of their last 15 road games. Buffalo has gone ‘over’ in five of its last seven games and is 14-3 in its last 17 home games.

The pick: Bills -10

I am generally looking to buy back on the other side after significant line movement that goes from one key number to another, but I can’t get myself to back the Titans at +10 on Monday night. I was confident that Buffalo was by far the best team in the NFL heading into the season, and the performance against the Rams only strengthened that opinion. Tennessee made some offseason moves that I thought would be beneficial in the long run (here’s my Titans season preview), but those moves are going to cost them this season. Buffalo has too much firepower for Tennessee to keep pace with on Monday night.

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