Titans at Lions: Six Things to Watch


NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Titans travel to Detroit to face the Lions on Sunday.

Here's a look at six things to watch:


Bounce back**

Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota has been a road warrior since entering the NFL. In six road games last year, Mariota completed 108 of 171 passes for 1,274 yards with 10 touchdowns and just one interception. His road passer rating of 105.3 ranked fourth in the league a year ago. Mariota played well during long stretches in the season opener against the Vikings, but he was involved in two turnovers, including an interception that was returned for a touchdown. Mariota aims to bounce back on Sunday against the Lions.

Running game

The Titans want to run the football, there's no secret about that. In the season opener, running backs DeMarco Murray (13-42) and Derrick Henry (5-3) carried the ball just 18 times between them. The Titans would like to keep the football for extended drives, and running the ball with success would surely help the cause. What will the run-pass ratio look like this week? It's one to watch.


Defensive pressure**

The Titans defense didn't allow a touchdown against the Vikings, and the team shut down running back Adrian Peterson. But the Titans weren't able to get in the face of Vikings quarterback Shaun Hill on a consistent basis. They didn't sack Hill once, in fact. The Titans can't let Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford to get comfortable. If he does, he'll sit back with that cannon for an arm and pick them apart.

Detroit's backs

No, Barry Sanders isn't coming out of retirement. But the Lions have a pretty talented tandem in the backfield in running backs Ameer Abdullah and Theo Riddick. In their win over the Colts last week, Abdullah and Riddick accounted for 100 yards of offense apiece, along with two touchdowns. The Titans will have to be stout again up front, but tackling well in the open field will be especially important when they catch the ball on the run.


Delanie Walker**

Fantasy football owners want to know if Walker's going to be a part of the offense like last season, when he caught 94 passes for 1,088 yards. In Week 1, Walker caught just three passes for 42 yards. Coach Mike Mularkey fielded questions about Walker's role all week, from his press conferences to his weekly radio show. He said the Titans tried to get Walker the ball more in Week 1, but the Vikings focused on shutting him down. It sounds like Walker will be a top target this week.

Kevin Dodd, OLBs

The Titans eased rookie linebacker Kevin Dodd back into the mix while he recovered from foot surgery. With Derrick Morgan out with a hamstring injury, it appears the team is now ready to turn him loose. Dodd, a second-round pick out of Clemson, had a good week of practice after playing sparingly against the Vikings. The Titans will be counting on him, along with David Bass and fellow rookie Aaron Wallace.

TitansOnline.com looks back at the all-time series between the Tennessee Titans and Detroit Lions. (Photos: Donn Jones, AP)

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