The Tennessee Titans have a very winnable matchup this Sunday versus the Detroit Lions.
Although the Detroit Lions aren’t necessarily a bad team, they are not as good as the Titans. This is another game the Titans should win by halftime.
Of course, it’s any given Sunday. And the Titans will have to do their part well in order to make sure that happens.
Let’s take a look at where these teams stand and what needs to happen for a Titans win.
THE TITANS OWN THE LIONS
The Tennessee Titans and Detroit Lions have met just 12 times since 1971. A good chunk of those years being those Houston Oiler days.
The last time the Lions came away with a victory over this franchise was in 1995. They won 24-17.
That’s just one of the three total wins the Lions have over this franchise. They all came versus the Oilers. The Lions won the first meeting in 1971, then another in 1986, and their last one in the aforementioned 1995.
That means the Titans have not suffered a defeat versus the Lions in the Titans era.
They’ve met five times in the Titans era. All being fairly close games except for the 47-10 Thanksgiving beatdown the Titans delivered to the Lions in 2008.
If history continues, the Titans should come out on top. However, the Lions may not make it easy for them.
DAVID VS GOLIATH
The Tennessee Titans are in a great position offensively. The efficiency of this offense is starting to show through their players.
They have a total of 2,000 yards rushing on the ground and a 3,000-yard passer. They have two receivers flirting with 1,000 yards and a running back flirting with 2,000.
The offense is 3rd overall, the franchise’s highest mark since 1993. They are 2nd in the NFL in rushing and 4th in points per game. Tennessee has one of the most efficient offenses you’ll find in the NFL.
That isn’t great news for their opponent. Here’s why.
The Detroit Lions’ numbers aren’t flattering. We can take a look at the defensive side of the ball and see they are 29th in the NFL in rushing yards allowed per game.
They are heading into a game versus the NFL’s leading rusher in a month he dominates.
Their pass defense isn’t all that better coming in at 27th. They allow 29.9 points per game and boast the 29th overall defense in the NFL.
The best thing about the Lions is they are a top ten passing offense, coming in at 9th in the NFL. That is because of a pretty efficient-at-times Matthew Stafford-led offense with some very talented receivers.
Unfortunately for them though, Stafford could miss this Sunday with a rib injury, and they will likely be without their star receiver Kenny Golladay.
#Lions QB Matthew Stafford was listed as a limited participant today and is officially questionable.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) December 18, 2020
The rest of their offense comes in at the bottom half of the league. They score 23.8 points per game (18th), put up 90.3 rushing yards per game (30th), and have the 20th overall offense.
KEYS TO THE GAME
In the NFL, you should never just chalk up wins. Although this is one the Tennessee Titans most definitely should win, they could easily get caught off guard and lose.
Sometimes, a team that just fired their coach and are desperate can be very dangerous. Remember when the Titans got walloped by a Dolphins team that had just fired their coach? It happens.
Here are some keys to the game for the Titans to make sure they come away with their 10th win of the season.
DEFENSIVELY: BEWARE OF THE DEEP GAME
The Lions love to throw downfield. It is part of the reason why they are ranked 9th in passing offense. They average 6.7 yards per throw before a receiver even touches the ball. That’s good for 8th in the NFL.
For reference, the Titans are 4th in that statistical category.
The Titans need to avoid getting beat deep. They could potentially send blitzes because that type of offense requires the quarterback to hold the ball a little longer.
OFFENSIVELY: LET IT LOOSE
This is a game where the Titans can pick their fruit. The Lions defense is exploitable in every category. They can choose to let Tannehill have a field day or let Henry run loose.
The Lions don’t send blitzes often. They blitz just 21.4% of the time which ranks 29th in the NFL. That means the Titans’ play-action and the deep passing game should be open for business.
This should be a day the Titans’ offense show why they are elite. Let them have fun, Arthur Smith.
The Tennessee Titans have not experienced a double-digit winning season in 12 years. The window is wide open to get there. They just have to make sure they aren’t blindsided by the Detroit Lions.
Featured image by Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports