After last week’s 30-22 loss at San Francisco, the Detroit Lions (1-1) look to bounce back and earn their first win away from home in 2012. To do that, they will have to defeat a Tennessee Titans squad looking for the first win of the season.
Coming off a sloppy 27-23 win over the St. Louis Rams in the opener and the loss against the 49ers, the Lions are looking for some stability as they travel to Nashville. With its first playoff appearance in over a decade coming in 2011, certainly, the team has goals of advancing further in the playoffs and making a Super Bowl run.
Look for them to earn a comfortable win against the crumbling Titans, who have possess the form of one of the league’s bottom teams through two games.
Only four teams have allowed more points than the Titans’ 72 so far. Tennessee also has the dubious honor of scoring the fewest points through two games in the league with 23, and consequently, has the league’s worst scoring margin with a deficit of 49 points in the early going.
Quarterback Matthew Stafford will be firing early and often in this one. After throwing for 41 touchdowns and over 5000 yards in 2011, Stafford has begun the 2012 season with two touchdown passes in comparison with four interceptions.
Against a team that allowed San Diego Charger’s quarterback Philip Rivers to throw for 284 yards on 24 of 32 passing with three touchdowns, expect Stafford to light up the scoreboard.
He will certainly look to have star wide receiver Calvin Johnson find the end zone for the first team this season. Johnson has contributed 19 catches for 204 yards without finding pay dirt. Despite being limited on the injury report with a sore ankle, he is expected to play at full speed against the Titans.
Also, Detroit will try to establish a true second receiving threat behind Johnson. Certainly, it is going to be a near impossible task for opposing defense to stop “Megatron” at any point this season. However, both the Rams and 49ers have been successful at containing the NFL’s best wideout and have prevented the big play. Expect Stafford to try and assert either tight end Brandon Pettigrew or wide receivers Nate Burleson and Titus Young to draw some attention away from Johnson as the season progresses.
Against the Titans, the weakness of their secondary will not be as exposed this week. Although safety Louis Delmas remains out, cornerback Chris Houston is expected to make his 2012 debut after suffering a high ankle sprain in the third week of the preseason against the Raiders. It won’t matter too much against a Titans’s passing attack that ranks in the bottom half of the league with just 219 yards per game. Quarterback Jake Locker has yet to find a rhythm in 2012 and was just 15 of 30 for 174 yards with a touchdown and an interception in last week’s loss against the Chargers. For one week, at least, the Lions will get away with having one of the league’s worst secondaries.
And we have yet to mention the demise of running back Chris Johnson. “CJ0K” (in response to his 2009 nickname of CJ2k), as he may be known by the end of this year, has just 19 carries for 24 yards so far. The Titans have just 58 rushing yards as entire team through two games and rank last in the league. Not only has Johnson yet to show the burst and quickness that he had shown a few years back, but their run blocking scheme has been utterly horrific. Left guard Steve Huchinson, signed in the offseason to a three-year deal, has not shown the promise that once made him one of the league’s best lineman.
Considering the urge for the Lions to get going their passing attack going at full strength and the all around weakness of what may be the league’s worst team in the Titans, this one will be over early. Running back Mikel LeShoure will also play for the first team in his NFL career after being injured throughout the 2011 season and serving a two-game suspension in 2012, trying to help the Lions establish a dependable ground attack as the season goes on.
Prediction: Lions 38, Titans 17
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Written by Matt Austin