TALE OF THE TAPE

Week 3: Detroit Lions At Tennessee Titans

Lions
Titans
Detroit Lions v Oakland Raiders
(credit: Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)
(credit: Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)
Quarterback
Winner The Lions are depending on Matthew Stafford to not only give them a quarterback with enough arm strength to get the ball downfield, but they also need him to be accurate on his short passes and read defenses consistently. He still makes a few errors, but Stafford is a plus quarterback.
The Titans are hoping that Jake Locker will develop into an accurate thrower who can also make big plays. Locker has the size and arm strength to get the job done, but he is not the most experienced quarterback and he makes too many mistakes at this point.
Offense
Winner The Lions have the best big-play wideout in the league in Calvin Johnson. However, there’s no surprise in that assessment and Johnson regularly faces double coverage. The running game is ordinary with Kevin Smith but tight end Tony Scheffler can make the tough catches on third down.
The Titans like to think they can run the ball well with Chris Johnson, but despite his explosive speed, he has started the year with two subpar efforts against the Patriots and Chargers. Wide receiver Damian Williams caught a team-high four passes against the Chargers and has decent hands.
Defense
The Lions play a very physical and hard-hitting brand of defense, but they are so aggressive that they often over pursue and leave open rushing lanes for opposing running backs. Defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh needs to show he can play under control and not lose his discipline.
Winner The Titans have struggled against big-play receivers as San Diego’s Malcolm Floyd caught six passes for 109 yards. Johnson may be able to roam with freedom against the Titan secondary. However, free safety Michael Griffin is coming off a stellar 18-tackle game in which he also forced a fumble.
Special Teams
The Lions continue to look to Jason Hanson for their placekicking chores. He is one of the most dependable kickers in the history of the league. Punter Ben Graham has excellent leg strength and can kick the Lions out of trouble.
Winner Rob Bironas may not get the notoriety, but he has one of the strongest legs in the league and is quite dependable. Brett Kern averaged 51.6 yards on seven punts against the Chargers. Lavelle Hawkins had a 71-yard kickoff return against the Chargers and that play should give him confidence.

The Winner Is

Detroit Lions v Oakland Raiders
Winner Lions
2 out of 4

The Lions have far superior offensive weapons and that’s going to make it tough for the Titans to stay with the visitors over the course of 60 minutes. However, if the Lions take this game for granted because they see an inexperienced Jake Locker at quarterback, they could find themselves on the wrong end of the upset.

MORE TALES OF THE TAPE

  1. EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - SEPTEMBER 25:  Odell Beckham #13 of the New York Giants breaks a tackle by Josh Norman #24 of the Washington Redskins in the second half at MetLife Stadium on September 25, 2016 in East Rutherford, New Jersey.  (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) CHARLOTTE, NC - SEPTEMBER 25:   Cam Newton #1 of the Carolina Panthers runs the ball against Everson Griffen #97 and Tom Johnson #92 of the Minnesota Vikings in the 1st half during their game at Bank of America Stadium on September 25, 2016 in Charlotte, North Carolina.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
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  2. KANSAS CITY, MO - SEPTEMBER 25: Center Mitch Morse #61 of the Kansas City Chiefs prepares to snap the ball to Alex Smith #11 at Arrowhead Stadium during the second quarter of the game against the New York Jets on September 25, 2016 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Peter Aiken/Getty Images) PHILADELPHIA, PA - SEPTEMBER 25: Quarterback  Ben Roethlisberger #7 of the Pittsburgh Steelers passes against  Bennie Logan #96 of the Philadelphia Eagles in the fourth quarter at Lincoln Financial Field on September 25, 2016 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Alex Goodlett/Getty Images)
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  3. ARLINGTON, TX - SEPTEMBER 25:  Dak Prescott #4 of the Dallas Cowboys throws against the Chicago Bears in the fourth quarter at AT&T Stadium on September 25, 2016 in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images) SEATTLE, WA - SEPTEMBER 25:  Running back Carlos Hyde #28 of the San Francisco 49ers rushes for a touchdown in the fourth quarter against the Seattle Seahawks at CenturyLink Field on September 25, 2016 in Seattle, Washington. The Seahawks defeated the 49ers 37-18.  (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
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