Detroit Lions (1-1SU,0-2ATS) vs.Tennessee Titans(0-2SU,0-2ATS)
Date/Time:Sunday, September 23rd, 2012/1:00 p.m. EST
Where:LP Field, Nashville, Tenn.
byBadger,Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread:Det. -3/Tenn. +3
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The Tennessee Titans are running the extreme risk of letting the 2012 season slip away, but saving it wont be an easy task this Sunday when they welcome the Detroit Lions into LP Field in Nashville for an early-season must-win NFC-AFC clash on Fox.
For the second week in a row the Titans were crushed under the weight of their own slow start, falling behind 17-0 early and never really recovering in a, 38-10, loss to the San Diego Chargers. After trailing by 18 points in their opener against New England, the Titans offense and new QB Jake Locker havent been given a fair chance as they try and reload and rebuild.
But Detroit wont show the Titans any sympathy after having a rough two weeks of their own, including their first loss of the season to San Francisco in week two, 27-17. The story for the Lions versus the 49ers was their inability to punch it in the endzone, as in they were forced to settle for four field goals in their five trips in the red zone last week and ran out of time before they could make another late comeback attempt.
It looks like the oddsmakers out in Las Vegas were spot on in this game when they set the opening point spread with Detroit as 3-point favorites on the road, because the number hasnt moved an inch since it opened. Although the lack of movement may also be due to a lack of early interest in a lackluster Lions-Titans matchup with better options on the table on Sunday.
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The over/under total opened at 47 and it hasnt moved in either direction either.
Based on what weve seen so far out of the Titans defense, its safe to think the Lions should be able to move the ball on offense this Sunday. Tennessee has allowed an average of 395 yards a game this year, although in their defense they have faced two pretty strong offenses (NE and SD). Detroit is still searching for a running game to complement Matt Stafford at QB, and finding one might help them in the red zone, but I expect the Lions to pick apart the secondary with Stafford to try and get an early lead. The Lions do get Mikel Leshoure back this week off suspension, but its hard to imagine his presence alone is the answer to the weak run game.
Tennessee also needs to get its running game going, especially since after two weeks they have only 58 yards rushing as a team. Worse yet, that meager output has come on just 26 carries (because theyve been behind so much so fast) and theres no way the Titans will survive the entire season until they figure out a way to even things out.
Locker is not a pocket passer, so the Titans have yet to have him play to his strengths since theyve been so bad on defense. Both of the Lions defensive ends, Kyle Vanden Bosch and Cliff Avril, are upfield rushers, so it will be their job to keep Locker in the pocket and force him to make throws down the field to win it.
Tennessee absolutely destroyed the Lions the last time these two teams met back in 2008, when Chris Johnson and LenDale White both had over 100 yards rushing and two scores in a 47-10 victory. Tennessee has actually won three straight and five of the last six (going back to 1989), but those are different teams in different eras.
At the betting window the six-game series since 1986 is tied 3-3 ATS, but the Titans have covered the number in the last two in 2005 and 08.
The betting trends for this game might not help much either. Detroit has been terrible on the road going 0-5-1 ATS in their last six road games, but Tennessee is 1-4 ATS in their last five at home so flip a coin. The under has been solid at LP Field, going 5-0-1 in the Titans last six home games.
Badger’sPick to Cover the Point Spread:Tennessee is not as bad as theyve played thus far this season. Detroit is a different team on the road, and without a strong running game I dont think theyll be able to put away the Titans quickly like everyone else has done. The Titans hang around and maybe even score a late straight up win, in a 24-21 or 23-20 type of game. Im not wagering much, but Im betting the Titans to cover. Take the home dog Tennesseeplus the 3-points.
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