After a disappointing loss last weekend against the San Francisco 49ers, the Detroit Lions head to Music City looking to rebound against a struggling Tennessee Titans team.
The Titans who enter the game sitting at 0-2 are certainly not anywhere close talent wise to what the San Francisco 49ers are especially on the defensive side of the ball. Tennessee is a mess right now however that doesn’t mean they aren’t a potentially dangerous team that could give the Lions some trouble as they look for their first win of the season.
Still the Lions are a very talented team on the offense and if key pieces can get going for Detroit they should have no trouble taking care of business and getting back above the .500 mark.
Detroit Lions Player to Watch: Mikel Leshoure (RB)
After missing all of last season with an Achilles injury and having to sit out the first two weeks due to a suspension, Lions fans are finally going to get their chance to see second round pick Mikel Leshoure in regular season action.
The second year running back, Leshoure will enter the equation this week looking to improve a Lions rushing attack that has accumulated only 165 yards in two weeks and has failed to adequately support the passing game.
Now don’t expect Leshoure to come in and completely turn around the Lions running game his first week of action. However if Leshoure is able to come into today’s game, get a decent amount of work and show some potential at anchoring the Lions backfield in the absence of Jahvid Best, the Lions coaches and fans would certainly feel better about their team going forward this season.
Tennessee Titans Player to Watch: Chris Johnson (RB)
It seems almost cliche to name Chris Johnson here however despite his tough year last season and the relative ineffectiveness he’s had this year (so far), Johnson is still a guy you need to specifically game plan for each week.
This could also be the perfect week for Johnson to take advantage of a still weak Lions run defense and give Jake Locker some much needed support in the pocket.
Keys to the Lions Offense: Mix up the play calling
Last week against the 49ers, the offensive play calling seemed to predictable. Run, run, pass… punt… run, run, pass, punt, etc.
I’d like to see that change this week.
There’s two vital things that the Lions need to get done on offense this week. First they need to take advantage of a weak Titans secondary that let Philip Rivers pretty much do what he wanted through the air in week 2. Even though the Lions don’t have a great offensive line, it’s been very serviceable in terms of pass protection giving Stafford plenty of time to take advantage of his weapons in Calvin Johnson, Brandon Pettigrew and Titus Young.
Secondly the Lions need to get Leshoure’s feet wet.
Like previously mentioned, Detroit doesn’t need to go crazy in overloading Leshoure with work however it will be important for them to draw up a solid game plan for him in his first week. This could especially be good for Leshoure and the Lions’ offense as a whole considering the Titans are just as bad at stopping the run as they are the pass.
Keys to the Lions offense: Pressure Jake Locker
Locker has been awful so far this season and the talk is he could be benched in favor of veteran Matt Hasselbeck. Either way the Lions need to put plenty of pressure on Locker who has the tendency to throw jump balls when under fire which could potentially turn into turnovers for the Lions.
To further support that Lions pass rush, the secondary needs to be physical in disrupting the Tennessee passing routes and forcing Locker into making bad decisions. The Detroit defensive backfield will also get a boost with the return of Chris Houston.
I don’t want to say this a slam dunk game for the Lions because I still don’t think the Lions are good enough to warrant that type of confidence. However when you consider just how bad Tennessee is on the offensive and defensive side of the ball this is a game that the Lions should have no real problems winning.
Lions 32, Titans 16