The Tennessee Titans (3-0) head in to Tuesday Night’s matchup against the Buffalo Bills (4-0) after one of the strangest hiatuses the NFL has ever seen from a team. The Titans last took to the gridiron on September 27 as they squeaked past the Minnesota Vikings by the score of 31-30 behind Stephen Gostkowski’s six field goals. There is an infinite amount of questions that Titans fans have for a team with as dubious of an aura as any 3-0 team in league history.
Last year’s matchup between the two teams was any fantasy owner’s nightmare. The Bills edged out the Titans 14-7 in a tight contest in which the teams combined for just over 550 yards of total offense. Week Five is likely to be a much different story with a Titans defense that has struggled to contain Gardner Minshew and Kirk Cousins in its last two showings.
Unlike last year for the Titans, Marcus Mariota will not be under center when Tuesday Night rolls around, so expect more output from a passing game that yielded just 150 yards through the air in 2019’s defensive struggle.
The Titans are coming off a bye week, albeit unplanned, and the team is expected to get A.J. Brown back after battling a bone bruise in his knee as a result of Week One’s game in Denver. Corey Davis has been the benefactor of receptions since Brown’s absence, totaling 15 catches for 206 yards and one touchdown. Unfortunately for the Titans, Davis was placed on the COVID-19/reserve list on Wednesday, putting his availability in serious doubt.
Titans added WR Corey Davis to team's Reserve/COVID-19 list today.
Titans now on Reserve/COVID-19 list: Davis, Adam Humphries, Jefferey Simmons, DaQuan Jones, Kristian Fulton, Kamalei Correa, Beau Brinkley, Isaiah Wilson, plus PS players Cameron Batson, Greg Mabin, Tommy Hudson.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) October 7, 2020
However, there is only one reference point to pull from in regards to how the Titans’ offense plays coming off of a bye week in the Ryan Tannehill era. That came last year in Week 12 when the Titans dominated the Jacksonville Jaguars, per usual, winning by the count of 42-20. Derrick Henry rushed for 159 yards on 19 carries, finding the endzone on two occasions. Tannehill was surgical on 14-of-18 passing, throwing for 259 yards with two touchdowns, in addition to two rushing touchdowns.
While the Titans have offensive potential, the Bills’ defense is not to be overlooked. Many around the league consider the Bills to have a vaunted defense that features one of the top cornerbacks in the business in Tre’Davious White. White is coming off First-Team All-Pro honors, but his status for Tuesday night is very much in question as he has missed practice all week with a back injury.
— Jim Wyatt (@jwyattsports) October 9, 2020
White was a big reason the Bills held Titans wide receivers Davis and Brown to just four catches and 55 yards combined in their last meeting. His absence could potentially be a monster hit to this 4-0 Bills team, which will also be missing its other starting corner, Levi Wallace.
Injuries and illness are wreaking havoc with many teams this year, but especially Tennessee. Not only is the Titans’ offense missing Davis, but fellow wideout Adam Humphries is also on the COVID-19/reserve list. If Brown is to return, as most think he will, Tannehill and the second-year receiver are set up to have a field day. And with over 20 percent of the team in limbo dealing with coronavirus, that still might not be enough to move to 4-0.
Featured image courtesy of AP Photo/Mark Zaleski