The Tennessee Titans will be looking to extend their three-game winning streak when they travel to play the Buffalo Bills in Week 5. Game time is set for 1:00 EST on Sunday, October 7 at New Era Field in Buffalo, New York. The game can be seen on CBS in local markets.
Oddsmakers list the Titans as 3.5-point favorites on the road with an over/under of 39 points. Click here to see a full list of this Week 5 NFL betting odds.
As mentioned, the Titans have won three straight games to get themselves to 3-1 on the season. The most impressive aspect of that winning streak is that they’ve found different ways to win every week. Against the Texans, they took a lead, let it go, and then got it back late. Against the Jags, they won a 9-6 defensive slugfest. Last week against the Eagles, they overcame a deficit in the 2nd half and then made some bold plays to win in overtime.
Of course, that 3-1 record is only good enough to put them into a tie with Jacksonville atop the AFC South. Those two teams have clearly established themselves as the class of the division. However, much like last year, the fight for the division title figures to be a tight one, so the Titans can’t afford to let up amidst a three-game winning streak.
The Bills, meanwhile, ended the first month of the season at 1-3. Buffalo’s shocking upset over the Vikings a couple of weeks ago was quickly forgotten when they were shutout against the Packers last week. Rookie quarterback Josh Allen has shown some flashes of brilliance, but the consistency isn’t there yet. The Bills currently have the fewest passing yards in the NFL and the second-fewest points, which is obviously making it difficult to win.
The silver lining for the Bills is that they’ve only played one of their four games at home. If Allen can continue to get better and the Bills can flex some muscle at home, they may be able to salvage a season that appears to be heading in the wrong direction after last year’s playoff appearance.
Leaning with a road favorite in this game should be a no-brainer. Last week’s loss showed that Buffalo’s win over the Vikings was an aberration and not a sign of things to come. Meanwhile, the Titans have won three in a row, including two games against teams in conference title games last season. There’s no reason why Tennessee shouldn’t be able to make it four games in a row and cover the spread against the Bills.
The Bills have played exactly one good half of football in four games this season. Against the Vikings, they forced a few turnovers early in the game and took advantage of good field position, but that’s it. Remember, they didn’t score at all in the 2nd half of that game. Allen was efficient in that game but he didn’t exactly carry the team on his back. With a dreadful offensive line and a lack of playmakers around him, Allen doesn’t have nearly enough help around him.
Against the Tennessee defense, a lot of Buffalo’s flaws are likely to get exposed. The Titans have one of the best past rushes in football over the first month of the season. There isn’t one or two standouts; rather, the Titans have 12 total sacks from eight different players. With several weak points along the Buffalo offensive line, the Titans are bound to find one and take advantage against a team that’s already allowed 21 sacks on the season.
Meanwhile, the Tennessee offense also appears to be making positive strides. Marcus Mariota struggled through the first few weeks of the season with nerve irritation in his elbow. But he started to look much better last week, throwing for over 300 yards and his first two touchdowns of the season. More importantly, he made some clutch and decisive throws on 4th down against a strong Philadelphia defense. If he can build off that performance, the Titans should be in good shape against the Bills, especially if Corey Davis can continue to break out as the team’s no. 1 receiver.
Another thing to look for is the Tennessee running game. The tandem of Derrick Henry and Dion Lewis isn’t exactly lighting up the world. However, the Titans are second in the NFL in rushing attempts. If they get a lead, they’ll have no problem pounding the ball on the ground and controlling the clock. With fewer possessions, there’s less of a chance for Allen and the Buffalo offense to get their act together and keep the game close.
Obviously, there’s always a reason to pause before taking a road favorite to cover. At home, the Bills defense is likely to play well and keep the game competitive. However, unless they can create multiple turnovers as they did against Minnesota, Buffalo’s path to victory is quite narrow. Swallowing the points and taking the Titans is actually the safer pick.