Tonight, we close out Week 6 of the 2021 season with a bang as the Buffalo Bills travel to Music City to battle the Tennessee Titans. In this prime-time matchup, let’s dive into the Bills vs. Titans game, determine the best side for this NFL betting prediction, and pick the winner for Monday Night Football in Week 6.
NFL Week 6 Monday Night Football: Bills vs. Titans prediction
Talk about déjà vu. Almost one year ago from today’s date, the Bills and Titans faced off in Nashville, and Tennessee throttled Buffalo. A year later, and it’s the same storyline, as the Titans look to end the Bills’ four-game winning streak to start the season.
We all know the unpredictable nature of prime-time games, and a matchup with this history to go along with it may make for a fascinating story. More context in making tonight’s Monday Night Football pick: Tennessee needs to secure a victory to remain in control of the AFC South while the AFC East is essentially Buffalo’s to lose.
The Bills are on top of the food chain
Buffalo started the season on a low, losing to the Pittsburgh Steelers. However, they have dominated every facet of the game since. The Bills have the No. 1 defense in DVOA and rank first against the run and the pass. The Bills are limiting opposing quarterbacks to a 57.7% completion percentage and only 173.4 yards per game through the air.
They are the best defense in the NFL with a -0.26 EPA/play and 38.4% opponent success rate. Their defensive EPA/play is twice as good as the second-place team, the Arizona Cardinals. The strongest unit on their defense is their front seven, as they allow a -0.35 rush EPA/play which beats out both the Indianapolis Colts and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Those other two front sevens mentioned are considered the best in the league.
On offense, they are no slouch either. The Bills rank just outside the top 10 in offensive DVOA and are sixth in EPA/play at 0.13. Much of this success comes from their balanced offensive approach. They are the fifth-best rushing team in the league, notching 140 yards per game at a 4.5-yards-per-carry clip. Their dual-headed monster of Zack Moss and Devin Singletary allows them to lessen the workload of each back and keep them fresh throughout the entirety of the contest.
Regarding the passing game, not much needs to be said at this point about quarterback Josh Allen. He is tied for ninth in passing touchdowns with 12 on the year and has a 102.5 QB rating. Allen could improve on his 62.3% completion percentage, however, as he ranks 27th overall in that category. He has only taken 5 sacks on the year and averages 37.6 rushing yards per game on the ground.
With an elite signal-caller in Allen, a brutal running attack that doesn’t lose steam throughout the game, and the best defense in the league, it is hard to bet against the Bills with our NFL Week 6 Monday Night Football pick.
Music City Miracle
What a difference a year makes. After arriving in Tennessee, quarterback Ryan Tannehill was all the rave. He won the 2019 Comeback Player of the Year, led the league in passer rating, and was named to his first Pro Bowl all in the same year. The Titans looked unstoppable offensively in 2019 and through to last season, where Tannehill threw for a career-best 33 touchdowns on 3,819 yards and only gave up 7 interceptions.
Fast forward to 2021, and things are pretty different for the Titans. They come into this game with a 3-2 record, while Tannehill ranks 25th in passing touchdowns (6). His completion percentage has plummeted from that Pro Bowl year, falling from 70.3% to his current 63.6%. Tannehill’s QB rating has also dipped dramatically from 117.5 in 2019 to 89.5 this season. Furthermore, he is leading the league in sacks with 20, which has plagued him since his Miami Dolphins days.
Surely some of this regression is due to his lack of weapons, as both A.J. Brown and Julio Jones have missed significant time already this season. Regardless of circumstance and previous accolades, the Titans will be facing the best defense in the league in tonight’s Monday Night Football bout. Tennessee’s offense ranks 21st in DVOA, but the disparity between rushing (10th) and passing (26th) will be the aspect to focus on.
David vs. Goliath
The only way to keep up with these 2021 Bills is to either play incredible defense, which the Titans can’t (26th in defense DVOA), or consistently put points on the board. Buffalo will move the ball against Tennessee’s defense at will. They allow the 10th-most passing yards per game at 264.6 and only generate 2 sacks per game (19th overall).
The only method that may work to Tennessee’s benefit would be to control the clock and limit Buffalo’s offensive drives. They will need a healthy dose of Derrick Henry and the offensive line to overcome the Bills’ top-ranked run defense. If the Titans can impose their will against Buffalo’s defense, they might have a chance to keep this game close. With that in mind, it isn’t enough for me to back the Titans for this Monday Night Football prediction.
NFL Week 6 Pick: Bills vs. Titans
On paper, this matchup is straightforward, and sometimes overthinking these leads to poor results. The strongest offensive unit for the Titans is their running game, and everything they do flows through Henry. With an elite front seven that can shut down the rushing attack without extra men in the box, Buffalo can force Tannehill to throw against their stout secondary. He has struggled to begin the season, and the Bills can capitalize on this one-dimensional approach.
The Titans struggle to generate pressure on opposing quarterbacks. Even if they do get to Allen, he is one of the best at extending plays. He will give his elite receiving corps more time to get open and expose secondaries. Tennessee’s secondary is poor, and Allen should have no issues putting up 30+ points against them.
With a prediction of a 33-24 victory for the Bills according to the model, I’ll gladly lay the -5.5 points. Take the No. 1 team in the NFL for this NFL Week 6 Monday Night Football prediction and pick.