Buffalo Bills (4-1) at Tennessee Titans (3-2)
The Bills went into Kansas City last week and won a nationally televised game against two-time defending AFC Champion Chiefs. That came after the Bills outscored their previous three opponents by score of 118-21 and, with their 38-20 win over the Chiefs, the Bills have the league’s best point differential by a wide margin at +108 (next closest is +62). Between that point differential and their nationally televised win over the previous de facto Super Bowl favorite, the Bills have become the league’s new de facto Super Bowl favorite. That can be seen in this line, which now favors the Bills by 6 points in Tennessee over a decent at worst Titans team, a week after the Bills were just -3 in this game on the early line.
The Bills may be the best team in the league, but I do think they are a little overrated right now. Even if we completely discount their week one home loss to the underwhelming Steelers, the Bills faced a very easy schedule during their streak of blowout wins, while their win over the Chiefs was aided by a +4 turnover margin, which is something that is not predictive week-to-week. In terms of first down rate, which is more predictive, the game was a lot closer, with the Bills winning the first down rate battle by just 1.84%.
Overall on the season, the Bills have benefitted from a +11 turnover margin, which is the best in the league by a wide margin (no one else is better than +7), but also something that is highly unlikely to continue going forward, given the unpredictability of turnover margins. No team in the NFL had a turnover margin better than +11 on the season last year, so the Bills could play turnover neutral football going forward and still wide up as the league’s best turnover margin team when all is said and done.
The Titans haven’t been great this season, but they are getting healthier, most notably with both star wide receivers AJ Brown and Julio Jones expected to suit up this week, for the first time since both went down in week 3. My calculated line still has the Titans as field goal home underdogs, with the Bills 5.5 points higher in my roster rankings, so we’re getting line value with the Titans at +6. This isn’t a big play, but this should be a competitive game and the Titans will have the motivation edge to make a statement in this nationally televised game, with the Bills having already done so last week.
Buffalo Bills 30 Tennessee Titans 27
Pick against the spread: Tennessee +6