Of the 19 seasons of the AFC South’s existence, the Tennessee Titans won just three division titles.
They were the division’s first champions in 2002 and repeated the feat in 2008.
It took 12 years to repeat the feat due to a tiebreaker that lifted them above the Indianapolis Colts.
Aside from winning the division, 2020 was a memorable year for the Titans because Derrick Henry became the eighth member of the 2,000-yard rushing club.
So Derrick Henry is on pace for 2176 yards rushing this season
Does he go back to back 2000+ seasons and does he break the rushing yards record of 2105?#NFL
— Daniel O'Connell (@Beard_82) October 12, 2021
He was also the second Titan to achieve the feat, the first being Chris Johnson in 2009.
Henry’s domination of the ground game won him Offensive Player of the Year last season and made him an MVP candidate as well.
Fast forward to 2021, and Henry is amidst an up-and-down season.
It’s important to highlight his production because it dictated the Titans’ fate through the first five games.
Tennessee won whenever he scored multiple touchdowns.
When Derrick Henry is moving this fast…
It's a @Titans touchdown!
— NFL (@NFL) October 10, 2021
In contrast, they lost if he finished the game below with zero to one touchdown.
Worst, they dropped a game against the struggling New York Jets.
He scored once during the two matches they lost.
Meanwhile, he had three touchdowns in each of their wins against the Colts and the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Though it’s still early in the season, the Titans are the frontrunners to win their second consecutive division title.
— Tennessee Titans (@Titans) October 16, 2021
It’s not that they were consistently good through the first five weeks.
Instead, their division rivals are terrible.
The Texans struggled without Tyrod Taylor, and the Colts cannot close out games.
The Jaguars are pathetic, and they have trust issues with head coach Urban Meyer.
Urban Meyer seeing there’s a new Gruden email drop pic.twitter.com/GHMxAMQplB
— Big Cat (@BarstoolBigCat) October 12, 2021
Therefore, the Titans have a chance to win the division via a Week 6 victory.
However, the challenge won’t be a walk in the park.
When Air and Ground Collide
It was hard to forget Henry’s highlight last year, wherein his stiff arm caused Josh Norman to fall.
The Titans dominated that game, 42-16, and Henry scored two touchdowns.
But he will be facing an improved Bills squad in 2021.
Through five games, Buffalo is third in run defense, allowing just 78.4 yards per game.
They’ve allowed the fewest points at 12.8 per game, thanks to shutouts against the Texans and the Miami Dolphins.
The highest-scoring team in the NFL is the Buffalo Bills (34.4 ppg)
The best scoring defense in the NFL is the Buffalo Bills (12.8 ppg)
— Rodger Sherman (@rodger) October 11, 2021
On the flip side, the Tennessee defense will also have their hands full against Josh Allen and the Buffalo offense.
While the Titans have the third-best run game at 167.8 yards per game, the Bills are not far behind at fifth with 140.4 per contest.
But the real discrepancy is in the passing game because of Buffalo’s talented receiving corps.
FANTASY FOOTBALL RANKS 🔥
— PFF Fantasy Football (@PFF_Fantasy) October 17, 2021
Don’t forget Dawson Knox as well, who is becoming a steady short-yardage and red zone target.
These players contribute to Buffalo’s high-scoring offense, averaging 34.4 points per game.
Sean McDermott’s crew also ranks ninth in passing offense, gaining 270 yards each contest.
— TURRON DAVENPORT (@TDavenport_NFL) October 15, 2021
On paper, the 2021 edition of the Bills-Titans showdown looks like a one-sided affair.
However, Tennessee can pull off the upset by shortening the game.
They have Henry, who can establish the run and consume as much game clock as possible to lessen Buffalo’s scoring opportunities.