Detroit Lions vs. Tennessee Titans: Scouting Report
Not so fast.
The Titans have a few areas that they could possibly expose Detroit. The problem is those areas depend on other areas to be effective, in order to take advantage.
That's where the Titans are struggling.
Let's take a deeper look.
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There's nothing to cheer about when it comes to ranking the Tennessee Titans this season.
On offense, they've been forced to be one-dimensional. On Defense, they've looked lost.
Tennessee Offensive Ranking:
Points per Game: 11.5 (32nd)
Tennessee Defensive Ranks:
Points per Game: 36.5 (32nd)
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Chris Johnson is always a threat.
Even with only 21 yards on 19 carries, the Lions have to play him like he's the same explosive rusher of two years ago.
Johnson doesn't believe he's the problem in the run game, and he's partially right.
Steve Hutchinson at left guard, Fernando Velasco at center and Leroy Harris at right guard are all new faces on the offensive line. It takes awhile to get some continuity, and having the entire interior of your offensive line changed out could cause some confusion.
But the problem goes deeper than the new faces, as new offensive coordinator Chris Palmer's scheming has been brought into question.
Every problem needs a scapegoat.
The issues with the offensive line extend beyond the running game, though. Jake Locker needs time to throw and more importantly, he needs time to develop. He's raw, and he might have been rushed into the starting lineup too soon.
Mobile quarterbacks always give the Lions issues. Well, except Tebow, but we won't count him under quarterbacks.
Kenny Brit played limited snaps last week, and he could give a boost to Locker if the offensive line can give him time to let plays develop.
The Titans have the tools to compete. The question is can they put it all together?
If the offensive line can't execute in at least one phase of the offense, it's going to be a long day for Tennessee fans.
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This isn't a good matchup for the Titans, as Detroit brings a bevy of weapons, and Mikel Leshoure makes his debut against a weak run defense.
The secondary has been even more worrisome than Detroit's—the safety play is the biggest area of concern as they've been unable to cover tight ends.
How much Stickum Brandon Pettigrew brings with him to Tennessee could be the difference between a close game and a blowout.
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No matter how many different ways I look at this game, the Detroit Lions come away with a win.
If Tennessee mimics San Francisco's defensive scheme and play deep to take away Calvin Johnson, they're not strong enough defensively to stop the run without dropping more into the box.
If Tennessee drops more into the box, it will open things up for Johnson, Pettigrew and the rest of the receivers.
Look for Mikel Leshoure to have a big game, both rushing and receiving.
Tennessee will have its chances if they figure out their offensive line woes.
Chris Johnson will gain more yards than he has so far this season, but not by much. With Chris Houston and Bill Bentley returning to the starting lineup, expect Eric Coleman or John Wendling to support the run defense on every play.
Kenny Brit is a gifted receiver who will make plays.
If the Lions defensive line can't get pressure, he'll get his chances, but because he's the only real threat, expect him to see constant double-coverage.
I see this as a much closer game than most expect, but only because I believe the Lions will continue to try to establish the run. Establishing the run will open up the play-action passing game, which is a big part of Scott Linehan's game plans.
Lions 24 - Tennessee 13