The Detroit Lions will travel to Nissan Stadium on Sunday to take on the Tennessee Titans in week 15 of the 2020 NFL regular season.
Game: Detroit Lions (5-8) v.s. Tennessee Titans (9-4)
Date: Sunday, December 20, 2020
TV: FOX and CBS
Location: Nissan Stadium in Nashville, TN
Odds/Point Spread: Tennessee -10.5
Just one week after the Detroit Lions’ loss to their division rivals, the Green Bay Packers, the team packs up and heads from the Motor City to the Music City to face off with the Titans, who are currently pushing for their first AFC South title since 2008.
At the time of writing, the Titans are listed as 10.5 favorites; however, it is likely that number may increase as the week goes on.
Keys to the Game:
(1) Matthew Stafford Injury
According to a tweet from Ian Rapoport, the Detroit Lions are “not overly optimistic” on Matthew Stafford‘s chances of playing Sunday following a hit late in the Lions’ defeat to the Packers last week.
The hit occurred on a six-yard scramble late in the fourth quarter. Stafford remained in for the following Kerryon Johnson touchdown run but did not return for the final drive. It is being reported as a rib cartilage injury. X-rays were negative.
Stafford’s replacement, Chase Daniel, wound up going 3-6 for 29 yards. His last NFL start came in week five of the 2019 season for the Chicago Bears.
It will be important to keep an eye on Stafford’s condition as the week progresses. The up-hill battle Detroit was already going to be facing this week will get considerably steeper with Daniel under center.
In the two career games that Stafford has played against the Titans, he is winless with a stat line of 55-for-82, 539 yards, two touchdowns, and one interception. As Fowler mentioned, the Lions have not totally ruled out Stafford, given his track record of toughing out injuries. Either way, the Lions have to play it smart as Stafford’s health is vital to some upcoming decisions.
(2) Detroit v.s. Derrick Henry
Perhaps it should read Derrick Henry v.s. Everybody? Yeah, that sounds better.
Henry is looking to be headed for his second straight NFL rushing title in 2020. The man is simply unstoppable, going for 215-yards and two scores against the Jacksonville Jaguars in week 14. Heading to week 15, it looks as if Henry will be able to feast again, going up against a Lions defense that has allowed more rushing yards than any other NFL team so far this season.
"“Right now, the Lions have one of the worst run defenses in the NFL. As it so happens, the Titans have one of the best run offenses in the NFL. I don’t know about you, but that seems like an ideal opportunity for Derrick Henry to pad his league lead in rushing yards and moving one step closer to being the league’s back-to-back rushing champion.”"
The Lions allow an average of 4.4 yards per attempt on the ground and 132.8 yards rushing per game during this 2020 season. Detroit looks to be outmatched, with or without Stafford against the Titans, but it will be interesting to see how the team responds in its third game with the interim head coach, Derrell Bevell.
As Sunday gets closer, the Lions continue to prepare for their week 15 matchup with the Titans wondering if Stafford will tough it out even though that seems highly unlikely and Daniel will be under center.