Prior to the season, the Week 15 matchup between the Tennessee Titans and Detroit Lions looked vastly different than it will when the two teams hit the gridiron for Sunday’s game. The Titans, who enter the matchup as nine-point favorites, will be facing a battered and beaten Lions squad.
Before the season started, Covers.com reports that the look ahead line to this game was originally Titans (-6) hosting the Lions. However, much can change over the span of 14 weeks in the NFL’s wacky pandemic-coated season.
While the Lions will be without a handful of key starters, there is a glaring uncertainty revolving around the team’s quarterback, Matthew Stafford. Stafford is dealing with injuries to his ribs and thumb that forced him out of last week’s contest against the Green Bay Packers, giving way to backup QB, Chase Daniel.
Stafford’s toughness is unquestioned, but his availability will not only have a significant impact on the spread, but also the total, which currently sits at 52.5. If Stafford can give it a go, then this matchup sets up beautifully for over bettors.
— Mike Archambeau #OnePride DETROITLIONSvsEVERYBODY (@archambeaum3) July 30, 2018
POINTS, POINTS, POINTS
Both the Lions and Titans have proven to be OVER teams this season with the over going 8-5 in Detroit’s games and 9-3-1 in games involving the Titans. A contributing factor to those numbers happens to be what occurs when opposing offenses reach red zone territory. The Titans and Lions are tied for 31st in red zone defense while allowing opponents to find the end zone on 70.6% of the time while in the red area.
I remember when the Titans had a decent defense and awful offense, I was begging for exciting offensive production. I wish it didn’t have to come at the expense of having a good defense because watching teams just waltz down the field constantly sucks almost as bad.
— Two Tone Fanatics (@twotonefanatics) December 7, 2020
Not only do the red zone defenses provide an edge to the total, but the two teams both happen to be among the top third of the NFL in red zone efficiency on the offensive end. The Titans are the league’s third-best red zone offense while the Lions sit at 12th in the NFL. These two teams do not leave many points on the field when they find themselves inside the opponents’ 20-yard line.
Contract Corey & Obi Juan Kenobi
Corey Davis and A.J. Brown are big reasons why the Titans have had so much success through the air this season. Davis is having his breakout year at the perfect time and Brown continues to drop jaws on Sunday afternoons with his acrobatic catches in near-impossible circumstances.
Juan hand necessary 👋 pic.twitter.com/TAzuMT7mPX
— Titan Up Podcast (@TitanUpPod) December 14, 2020
While there is not much to like in this game due to swirling uncertainty in the injury department on both sides, there is one trend that I expect to continue this weekend.
Over the last five games, the Lions’ defense has allowed at least two opposing wide receivers to haul in a minimum of five receptions. After last week’s loss to the Packers, the Lions announced that rookie cornerback Jeff Okudah is to undergo season-ending surgery on his groin. Okudah, the third overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, had started six games on the outside for Detroit, a team that who already struggles against the pass, checking in as the 27th rated pass defense in the NFL.
Lions interim coach Darrell Bevell is holding out hope Matthew Stafford can play with banged-up ribs vs Titans and says rookie Jeff Okudah is having (groin) surgery Tuesday.
— Larry Lage (@LarryLage) December 14, 2020
The Lions will also be down cornerback Desmond Trufant on Sunday, putting what has already been a poor unit at an even bigger disadvantage.
It is worth looking at both Davis’ and Brown’s receptions totals this week. The number of catches for each wideout is set at five, but Davis has more value with his odds set at +120 compared to Brown’s -140.