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The Cheat Sheet: Stopping Derek Henry is the simple formula to beat the Titans

Detroit Lions vs. Tennessee Titans game preview and prediction.

Tennessee Titans v Jacksonville Jaguars Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

It could be a long day for the Lions on Sunday. I was way wrong in my prediction last week for the Jaguars to pull an upset over the Titans.

And you better believe I’m not looking over the Titans this week.

Derrick Henry made me eat my lousy prediction – putting up 215 yards, two touchdowns, and average a ridiculous 8.3 yards per carry.

The Lions have been one of the worst teams in the NFL against the run and I don’t expect them to suddenly turn it on against one of the NFL’s best rushing offenses. They’ve given up over 100 yards rushing in nine of thirteen games and have given up over 200 yards on the ground twice.

It could be back-to-back 200-yard games for Henry if the Lions aren’t careful.

NFL: DEC 13 Titans at Jaguars Photo by David Rosenblum/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Opponent snapshot

The Titans are essentially building the team of Matt Patricia’s dreams.

A ground and pound attack that does enough on defense to win games. But that also leaves them vulnerable. Even with a 9-4 record, the Titans have struggled on defense, giving up 30 plus points in six of their games this season.

Tennessee Titans v Baltimore Ravens Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images

Titans’ biggest threat

Derrick Henry

This team literally and figuratively runs through Henry. The Titans do a great job of wearing opposing defenses down throughout the game.

Henry is chasing Eric Dickerson for the NFL single-season rushing title at 2,105 yards.

He’s going to come into Sunday ready to add to his 1,532 total. If the Lions can somehow manage to stop Henry, they could have a shot against a Titans team that isn’t great in any other categories outside of the offense.

Pittsburgh Steelers v Tennessee Titans Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images

Titans’ weak link


For a team with nine wins, it is surprising how poorly they play on defense at times. They’re currently ranked 26th in defensive DVOA by Football Outsiders which is by far the worst of any team with a winning record.

Like last week against the Packers, the Lions will need to put up a good amount of points in order to make this close matchup.

The Titans are vulnerable on defense, but they’ve been able to make up for it with one of the NFL’s top offenses.

Bottom line

A lot of what happens in this game hinges on the health of Matthew Stafford. If Chase Daniel has to start, I don’t expect a close matchup at all. The Lions defense simply doesn’t have the talent to compete against NFL offenses at this point.


Lions 24 Titans 35

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