The NFL has begun releasing little scheduling nuggets ahead of Thursday night’s full-blown schedule release. On Monday, the league announced one of its early-season marquee matchups. The Buffalo Bills will host the Tennessee Titans at Highmark Stadium in Orchard Park, Buffalo on Monday Night Football in Week 2. The contest is set to serve as the first of a special edition Monday night doubleheader that will feature a late-night NFC bout between the Philadelphia Eagles and Minnesota Vikings.
The Titans-Bills showdown marks the second consecutive year that these two AFC playoff contenders will meet on Monday Night Football. The Titans won an absolute thriller last season in front of a national audience, prevailing 34-31 on the backs of a three-touchdown performance by superstar running back Derrick Henry. Titans defensive tackle Jeffery Simmons stuffed Bills quarterback Josh Allen on a late 4th-and-inches quarterback sneak attempt to confirm Tennessee’s victory.
2022 will also mark the fifth consecutive year the franchises will face each other. In 2020, the two sides met in a rare Tuesday night affair as a result of a COVID-19 breakout within Tennessee’s organization. Despite facing that adversity, the Titans won that game 42-16.
The contest represents a measuring stick for both parties, albeit ones who are seemingly headed in different directions. The Titans should remain a competitive postseason team in 2022 in an attempt to capture their third consecutive AFC South title. Titans General Manager Jon Robinson is starting to ponder the team’s future, however. The Titans feature an aging group of offensive starters, including 34-year-old starting quarterback Ryan Tannehill.
The Titans used six-of-nine selections in the 2022 NFL Draft to select offensive playmakers, including former Arkansas wide receiver Treylon Burks, who is being counted on to replace A.J. Brown. The Titans also drafted an offensive lineman (Nicholas Petit-Frere), a running back (Hassan Haskins), a tight end (Chigoziem Okonkwo), and doubled-down at receiver by drafting future-slot-playmaker Kyle Philips. Tennessee’s future outlook may be decided by their third-round selection of quarterback Malik Willis.
Tennessee’s competitive rebuild is slowly in motion, but how Mike Vrabel’s Titans fare against a Super Bowl contending Bills team in Week 2 may reveal a ton about their 2022 status. The Titans surprisingly earned the No. 1 seed in the AFC in 2021 despite suffering a plethora of injuries, but the AFC has gone through a startling makeover this offseason. The Indianapolis Colts, Los Angeles Chargers, Denver Broncos, and Cleveland Browns represent four teams that missed the postseason in 2021 that experienced extremely aggressive offseasons. The group of quarterbacks in the AFC arguably features the most talent a single conference has possessed at the signal-caller position in NFL history, and the Titans meanwhile have questions regarding Tannehill, have a developing offensive line, lost their No. 1 receiver, and cut an underperforming Julio Jones.
This impending Monday night contest also carries an underrated amount of importance for a Bills franchise that has struggled against the Titans in recent meetings. The Bills have been defeated by the Titans in back-to-back contests, including that embarrassing Tuesday night blowout loss in 2020 that saw Josh Allen throw two interceptions. Bills General Manager Brandon Beane has taken some offseason steps necessary in hopes of witnessing his Allen-led Bills get over the hump and qualify for a Super Bowl in 2022. The Bills have been defeated in each round of the AFC playoffs over the past three seasons (wild card, divisional, AFC Championship game). Defeating the Titans in comfortable fashion would exercise some recent demons while making an example of a fellow playoff contender. It’s an excellent early-season opportunity for the Bills to make a statement.
The Titans and Bills have developed a bit of a rivalry as of late as a result of meeting on an annual basis for five consecutive seasons, and the 2022 iteration promises to be an extremely physical contest. It will mark the first time new Bills offensive linemen Rodger Saffold and David Quessenberry will play against their former Titans team. Saffold and Quessenberry were starters on Tennessee’s offensive line in 2021, and the Titans decided to part ways with both players earlier this offseason. A hard-nosed battle will ensue in the trenches.
With so much exciting player-related movement having occurred throughout what’s undoubtedly been the wildest and most unpredictable offseason in NFL history, the 2022 NFL schedule promises to deliver an abundance of must-watch contests. As we await the rest of the schedule release later this week, a Titans-Bills primetime showdown that will preach physicality in Week 2 gives us plenty to look forward to.
- May 25, 2022
- May 25, 2022