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. INDIANAPOLIS, IN - NOVEMBER 20:  Andrew Luck #12 of the Indianapolis Colts runs with the ball during the second half of the game against the Tennessee Titans at Lucas Oil Stadium on November 20, 2016 in Indianapolis, Indiana.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images) EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - NOVEMBER 27:  Ryan Fitzpatrick #14 of the New York Jets looks to throw a pass against the New England Patriots in the game at MetLife Stadium on November 27, 2016 in East Rutherford, New Jersey.  (Photo by Justin Heiman/Getty Images)
    Week 13 Tale Of The Tape: Indianapolis Colts at New York Jets

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  2. OAKLAND, CA - NOVEMBER 27:  Cam Newton #1 of the Carolina Panthers looks to pass against the Oakland Raiders during their NFL game on November 27, 2016 in Oakland, California.  (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images) TAMPA, FL - NOVEMBER 27:  Quarterback Russell Wilson #3 of the Seattle Seahawks runs for several yards on the quarterback keeper during the second quarter of an NFL game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on November 27, 2016 at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Brian Blanco/Getty Images)
    Week 13 Tale Of The Tape: Carolina Panthers at Seattle Seahawks

    The Panthers travel to Seattle for a date with the Seahawks.

  3. TAMPA, FL - NOVEMBER 27:  Quarterback Jameis Winston #3 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers looks for a receiver during the third quarter of an NFL game against the Seattle Seahawks on November 27, 2016 at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Brian Blanco/Getty Images) SAN DIEGO, CA - NOVEMBER 13:  Philip Rivers #17 of the San Diego Chargers passes the ball during a game against the Miami Dolphins at Qualcomm Stadium on November 13, 2016 in San Diego, California.  (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
    Week 13 Tale Of The Tape: Tampa Bay Buccaneers at San Diego Chargers

    The Bucs are in second place in the NFC South and look to keep pace with the Falcons as they match-up with a tough Chargers team.

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