Mandatory Credit: Photo by Julio Cortez/AP/Shutterstock (12623570iw) Monday Night Football logo is seen on a television camera prior to an NFL football game
Tennessee Titans (0-1) vs Buffalo Bills (1-0)
Game Time: 6:15pm CT
The Buffalo Bills opened the Week 1 schedule with a statement win, blowing out the defending Super Bowl Champion Los Angeles Rams 31-10 on the road at SoFi Stadium. Expectations were high in western New York before the season began, but they’ve reached a fever pitch after the Bills’ showing in their opener. Buffalo’s home opener comes on Monday night when they’ll welcome the Tennessee Titans to town.
Tennessee led the New York Giants all afternoon in their opener but fell apart late in a losing effort, 21-20. Last season’s #1 seed in the AFC, Tennessee is desperate to avoid an 0-2 start and showcase that they’re still capable of being the team they were a year ago. If any team knows how to beat these Bills, it’s the Tennessee Titans. The two teams have battled each of the last two seasons, with the Titans winning both at home in Nashville. This time, a raucous crowd will meet the Titans as they travel to Highmark Stadium.
Buffalo’s defense wreaked havoc on the Los Angeles Rams’ offensive line all night last Thursday but may have a tougher time against a Titans unit that only allowed one sack in their opener against New York. Titans’ Derrick Henry rumbled for 143 yards on the ground last season against the Bills, a trend Buffalo will need to shore up if they want to avoid a third straight loss to Tennessee. Buffalo didn’t let the Rams run the ball much at all in Week 1 and may be able to force Tannehill to throw all night if they can jump out to an early lead – leaving opportunities for their pass-rushers to go to work while Pro Bowl safeties Jordan Poyer and Micah Hyde patrol the deeper portions of the field.
Minnesota Vikings (1-0) at Philadelphia Eagles (1-0)
Game Time: 7:30pm CT
If there was one thing we learned watching the Minnesota Vikings dismantle the Green Bay Packers last week, it is that Justin Jefferson will absolutely destroy a defense that doesn’t account for him correctly. Philadelphia’s defense will need to improve dramatically after allowing 35-points in their win a week ago if they want to avoid a similar fate as the Packers experienced last Sunday. The Eagles’ secondary is certainly talented enough, especially after the offseason addition of James Bradberry.
Philadelphia is strongest on both the offensive and defensive lines, which could create issues for a Vikings team that doesn’t rank particularly high in either of those areas. Minnesota will want to create matchups for their skill position players like Dalvin Cook and Justin Jefferson in space, quickly getting the ball out of Kirk Cousins’ hands if they want to create big plays. On the other side of the ball, Minnesota will have to deal with a stable of running backs running behind a big offensive line, with an athletic quarterback throwing to big targets like AJ Brown and Dallas Goedert. The Vikings’ defense was stout last week against Green Bay, but is running into a completely different style in the Eagles – it’ll certainly be interesting to see if they can make their success from last week translate into this one.
Both teams have an opportunity to maintain the top position in their divisions with a win, a huge leg up in the early going. For Minnesota specifically, a win here would open up an opportunity for a potential 4-1 or 5-0 start, as two of their next three are home games against theoretical non-playoff contenders.