The question for the Tennessee Titans is, how long are they going to say they are going to commit to the run, while throwing an overwhelming number of passes? This was not the original plan, although it would be to their benefit if they can demonstrate a potent passing attack. They head into their game this weekend against the Detroit Lions as underdogs, but with an encouraging defensive performance behind them. However, they know at the same time that facing off against a journeymen like Shaun Hill is not the same experience as going up against Matthew Stafford. The kickoff for Sunday’s game at Ford Field in Detroit is scheduled for 1 PM ET, and BetAnySports customers will have the opportunity to place wagers even after the game is underway, as they avail themselves of the state-of-the-art software provided by Live Betting Ultra.
The Tennessee defense is now being steered by Dick LeBeau, who is in his second season there after being shown the door in Pittsburgh. LeBeau is known for throwing a lot of creative blitzes and exotic coverages at the opposition, and they had the Minnesota Vikings flustered last week, holding them scoreless in the first half, and without an offensive touchdown for the entire game. Hill, who was filling in for Teddy Bridgewater, who is out for the season, completed just 18 out of his 33 passes, and Adrian Peterson was held to only 31 yards on the ground. So the Titans are not rolling over the way they used to.
Detroit has had to move forward without fabled wide receiver Calvin Johnson, who announced his retirement. But they had 448 yards of total offense nonetheless against the Indianapolis Colts, getting out to a big early lead, then weathering a furious comeback and finally coming away with a 39-35 victory. Stafford completed 31 out of his 39 passes with three touchdowns.
In the NFL betting odds posted on this game by the people at BetAnySports, the Lions are laying some points in their indoor home:
Ultimately the Titans are going to have to run the football with some consistency. That is the reason they acquired former NFL rushing champion DeMarco Murray and Heisman Trophy winner Derrick Henry. But the two of them combined for only 45 yards on 18 carries against the very tough Minnesota defense. We can’t really say that Detroit poses that stiff a level of resistance, but execution is still a key, and for a team to say they have committed to the run, it is highly unusual for them to pass the ball 41 times and run it only 22 times.
Still, it is a bit encouraging for Marcus Mariota, another Heisman Trophy winner, to be able to make connections with one of the lower-round draft choices. Tajae Sharpe, who was overlooked by a lot of NFL teams and last until the fifth round, caught seven of his passes for 73 yards. Certainly Tennessee needs something out of its wideouts to prevent the opposition from stacking up on the line of scrimmage to stuff the run.
The Lions did a great job of utilizing their running backs in the passing game last week. Ameer Abdullah and Theo Riddick had 120 receiving yards between them. BetAnySports patrons who have followed the Detroit situation closely are well aware that this became a different team in the second half of last season, after Jim Bob Cooder took over as the coordinator. Cooter is a young guy – only 32 years of age – and he has brought some fresh ideas to the table, including doing things a little up-tempo, and Detroit plans to spread the ball around to a number of different receivers, including Marvin Jones and Antoine Boldin, who joined the wide receiver corps this season.
Mariota showed some flashes of brilliance last season, although he was hampered by injuries. Truth be told, however, if Tennessee is going to challenge for a playoff spot, they are going to have to do it largely with a great defensive effort, and in some ways it was a shame that after yielding only 4.9 yards per play to Minnesota, they could not have had a better result. But the Vikings scored on an interception return and a fumble return, which spoiled what otherwise would have been a very good day for LeBeau and his charges.
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