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Know Thy Enemy: Detroit Lions

Photo by Stan Szeto, USA Today Sports

Written by: Joseph Yun

The severely wounded and tamed Detroit Lions return the favor as the guests of Broadway’s honky-tonks three years after the Titans visited Ford Field. Can the not so static Lions mount a fight against the denizens of Nashville with a roster full of backups turned emergency starters? Tennessee is in a dogfight with the Colts for the AFC South crown and needs every win it can get to maintain its playoff positioning.

The last time these two teams played, they had entirely different uniforms. The battle to decide which blue is better. Two-toned blue or Honolulu blue?

This article and future weekly articles were written with the assistance of the Blitzalytics Prospect Encyclopedia, which you can buy a PDF or hard cover copy here. The Encyclopedia has many features such as prospects, top team stars, and other countless data points to expand your knowledge of the game.

Note: all numbers courtesy of

Key Numbers + Info (2020 season)

Record: 5-8 (0-4 NFC North)

Points scored: 310

PPG: 23.84

Points allowed: 389

PPGa: 29.92

Avg. yards per rush: 3.9

Avg. yards per rush allowed: 4.4

Avg. rush yards per game: 90.3

Avg. rush yards per game allowed: 132.8

Rushing TDs: 13 for, 21 against

Avg. pass yards per game: 261.2

Avg. pass yards per game allowed: 263.8

Passing TDs: 23 for, 26 against

Pass Completion Rate: 63%

Pass Completion Rate Against: 68%

Top Rusher: Adrian Peterson (139 attempts for 508 yards and six touchdowns)

Top Receiver: TJ Hockenson (58 receptions for 657 yards and six touchdowns)

Top Tackler: Jamie Collins (97 tackles, five tackles for loss, six passes defensed, 1.0 sack)

Key Additions: S Duron Harmon, LB Reggie Ragland, QB Chase Daniel, CB Darryl Roberts, RB D’Andre Swift (rookie), OL Jonah Jackson (rookie), OL Logan Stenberg (rookie), WR Quintez Cephus (rookie), WR Mohamed Sanu

Key Losses: EDGE Trey Flowers (injury), CB Desmond Trufant (injury), DL Danny Shelton (injury), EDGE Everson Griffen (COVID19), EDGE Julian Okwara (injury), CB Jeff Okudah (injury), OT Halapoulivaati Vaitai (injury)

Series History

Tennessee leads the all-time series 9-3-0.

What Happened In The Last Game?

The Titans were locked in a defensive struggle on the road and staged a 16-15 comeback victory in the fourth quarter after mustering all of three points in the first three quarters.

Keys to a Titans Victory

- ESTABLISH THE RUN - The Lions are abjectly horrendous at stopping the run and the Titans have one of the most uniquely talented running backs in the entire league. Not much more to say than that. Tennessee needs to feed the King and his junior partners as per their usual custom. Even though perennially underrated Matthew Stafford is a game-time decision and it’s very likely that Chase Daniel will play, the Lions have a potent passing attack. Run the ball and control the clock to force Daniel to beat you armed with a still-shaky secondary.

- Mental Toughness - The Lions are a mere shadow of what they could have been due to a litany of injuries and ineffectiveness of the coaching staff much like a previous opponent in Cincy. Tennessee would do well to heed the lessons of that surprising upset loss and come out full bore against this wounded Lions squad and put them away early. With the rival Colts still giving a frenetic chase, the Titans cannot afford to look past Detroit and squander a good opportunity to close out the AFC South further. Tennessee will once again face a patchwork offensive line with both Frank Ragnow and Tyrell Crosby ruled out on Friday.

Keys to a Lions Victory

- Attack the secondary - To put it charitably, the Titans’ secondary has been a bear market for the majority of the season to date. Detroit may not have the services of one Kenny Golladay but they still have the wily veteran presence of Mo Sanu and Danny Amendola, not to mention tight end and leading receiver TJ Hockenson. Interim head coach Darrell Bevell could choose to mitigate his receiving losses by using Swift and Kerryon Johnson in the passing game against a Titans LB room lacking proven coverage linebackers.

- Roster Management - Even with all the injuries, the Lions do have some talent on defense to put up a decent fight. Guys like leading sacker Romeo Okwara, Jamie Collins, Jahlani Tavai, and Christian Jones dot the roster as names. Can DC Corey Undin piece together a somewhat effective stop unit on the fly? Is Stafford going to play on Sunday? Future hall of fame running back Adrian Peterson is in an endless match with the timeless Frank Gore to become the last of a generation. Can the team still continue to project improved continuity after removing the notorious firebrand Matt Patricia not all that long ago?

Blitzalytics Prospect Encyclopedia Prospects of the Week

2. TE T.J. Hockenson

- The former first-round pick has established himself as a top target for Stafford and other Lions quarterbacks when they need a play. He’s a reliable safety valve and a dangerous weapon if he isn’t given the respect that he deserves from the defense. Hockenson is quietly emerging as one of the upper-tier tight end prospects in the league. Hopefully, with a better coaching situation in the near future, he can unlock his full potential.

5. LB Jahlani Tavai

- Tavai has emerged as a starter alongside Collins, displacing the once hailed prospect Jarrad Davis as the key man in the middle. The former Rainbow Warrior isn’t the best in the game but he is consistent and effective at what he does.

Injury Report

What are the odds?

(all odds are courtesy of

DraftKings has the Titans as 11.5 point favorites at -670 while the Lions are +500 dogs. The over/under has been set at 51.5.

The WestGate Superbook has the Titans as 11.5 point favorites at -750 while the Lions are +525 dogs. The over/under has been set at 51.5



Detroit 17



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