Tennessee Titans quarterback Jake Locker (10) hands the ball to running back Chris Johnson (28) during the first quarter against the San Diego Chargers.
The Detroit Lions are once again on the road this week, although Sunday's matchup with the Tennessee Titans is quite a bit different than last week's game. The only notable non-game storyline is Schwartz returning to Tennessee to face his former team, and even that hasn't garnered a whole lot of attention. Also different this week is that the Lions aren't in primetime and they aren't playing the team considered to be the best in the NFL right now. Needless to say, there is an expectation that the end result will also be quite a bit different this week, as the Lions are favored to win.
Here's a look at some things to watch for during the Lions' game on Sunday:
- Mikel Leshoure makes his actual NFL debut. Finally, after more than a year of waiting, we will get to see Leshoure play in a regular season NFL game. It has been a long road back from his torn Achilles, and that road back was made even longer with his two-game suspension. Now, Leshoure is finally ready to see regular season action, and I'm hoping he puts on an Andre Brown-like performance. Brown, who suffered an Achilles injury of his own a few years ago, has been outstanding as of late for the New York Giants, and he is proof that running backs can overcome an Achilles injury and have success in this league.
- Can the Lions' passing offense go off? The passing offense hasn't been terrible for the Lions so far this season, but it is not coming anywhere close to living up to its potential. Matthew Stafford's accuracy struggles have been a big reason for this, but let's not forget that there have been a good number of drops as well. Everybody involved in the passing offense needs to play better, and as Calvin Johnson hinted at on Thursday, this should be the week where they break out and have a big game.
- The secondary gets healthier. Cornerbacks Chris Houston and Bill Bentley are both on track to return this week. Houston has been out since the end of the preseason with an ankle injury, while Bentley missed last week's game with a concussion. The two corners have been full participants in practice this week, meaning they should play on Sunday. While the Lions still will be without Louis Delmas, it will at the very least be nice to see how this secondary performs with their starting corners back in the lineup.
- Can the run defense keep performing at this level? To be honest, I'm not quite sure what "this" level even is just yet. The Lions shut down Steven Jackson in Week 1, holding him to 53 yards on 21 carries. Last week, the Lions did give up 89 yards on 17 carries to Frank Gore, but that was far better than what Gore did to them in 2011 (141 yards on 15 carries). As a team, the 49ers ran for 5.5 yards per carry, but in general I thought the run defense was more than good enough for the Lions to win. Considering how bad Chris Johnson has been so far this season, a repeat performance of Week 1 would be ideal.
- How about a comfortable win this week? The Lions escaped an upset in Week 1 thanks to a last-second touchdown. This week, the Lions are favored to win, and this game seems like one they should win by at least a couple touchdowns. Yes, it is on the road, and the Titans are probably desperate at 0-2, but this is a game the Lions should win and win comfortably. Here's to hoping there isn't any drama on Sunday afternoon.