Week 2 Titans vs. Lions: NFL picks & Predictions September 18 2016

Titans team gathered around

Wednesday, September 14, 2016 9:08 PM GMT

The Detroit Lions are off to a positive start with an upset at Lucas Oil Stadium in week 1. Can they make it two wins to start 2016? We preview the Titans vs. Lions and serve up NFL picks to spot.

Detroit Lions Kickoff 2016 with a Bang!
Last term, the Detroit Lions got off to an abysmal start. Laboring out of the gates they went on a run of poor form that saw them lose their first five games before finally snapping the negative streak in week 6 behind a 37-34 overtime win at the expense of the Chicago Bears. It wasn't to be the belated turnaround though as the Lions reverted back to their losing ways a week later, succumbing to defeat in their ensuing dates with the Vikings and Chiefs before a week 9 bye.

A firing spree ensued, which was to be expected. Through seven weeks, the Lions were 29th in the NFL for points scored and last in rushing. Overall, the Lions offense ranked 20th in the NFL. Contrary to popular calls for Jim Caldwell's job, the Lions decided to sack three offensive coaches instead and promoted quarterback coach Bob Cooter. It paid off

From weeks 10 to 16, the Lions effected a complete and utter turnaround under Bob Cooter's offensive tutelage. They not only went 6-2 SU but also improved to 18th in the NFL for points scored (a jump of 11 spots). Overall, the offense finished ranked 18th in the league largely down to their passing offense, which ranked 15th in the league when all was said and done (rushing offense finished dead last).

Fast forward to 2016 and that form spills forth and extends the Lions' record to 7-2 SU in their last nine games. The victory over the highly fancied Indianapolis Colts at Lucas Oil in week 1 saw the Lions defy the NFL odds as the +4 road underdogs.

Granted it was a nervy affair towards the end and the momentum seemed to be with Andrew Luck and the Colts as they were mounting the comeback. But Matthew Stafford was up for the task and seemingly determined to spoil his counterpart's belated return and he carried the Lions to the 39-35 win.

It's just one game and a brand, spanking new season. Things can look very different in a few weeks as teams settle into their campaigns, naturally. But, what a difference it is to start the season at the top of the offensive rankings, no?

On the strength of their first game, Detroit is ranked fourth overall in total offense but the top of the pile in points scored. Rushing offense is also up there in 11th spot having put up 116 yards of the total 448 yards gained in Indy. That's the bright side.

On the negative side – not to ruffle too many feathers in Detroit but there's always a downside – the defense left much to be desired. Andrew Luck is an elite quarterback – why else would he get such a hefty contract – and he had a hand in upstaging Detroit's defense to be sure. Some of the stats, therefore, reflect the quality of the Colts opposition rather than the quality of the defense.

Still, sat 29th in the league in total defense with 450 yards conceded and 28th in points conceded (35) is a bit of a worry. They are 11th against the rush, which is a glimmer of a bright spot but the rushing offense of the Colts isn't exactly a strength either.

Tennessee Titans vs. Detroit Lions Betting Preview
The important question is how much importance should we give to the outcome of week 1 as far as their upcoming clash with the Tennessee Titans is concerned? It's debatable. On one hand, the Lions have won more games since the second half of last season up to this point than the Titans have in two seasons. That points to confidence, form and a winning mentality.

The Titans are coming off a disappointing loss to the Vikings at home, a 25-16 defeat in which they failed to capitalize on questionable quarterbacking from Shaun Hill. That said the Vikings defense is nothing to sniff at and, in fact, it proved to be the difference as the Titans turned over the ball three times, two of which were taken back for touchdowns.

Where the Titans can gain optimism is on the defensive side of the ball. They did manage to keep the Vikings offense from scoring and held them to 301 yards and four field goals. They rattled Shaun Hill and held him to 54.5% completion and stifled Adrian Peterson to just 31 yards on 19 carries.

Such numbers could give the Titans a reasonable shot at Ford Field but, to be fair, the Lions have more offensive weapons than the defensive-minded Vikings. So it'll be interesting to see whether the Titans can produce similar such gaudy numbers in Detroit. Then there's the turnover rate, which arguably cost them the game last week. They simply won't win games if they don't tidy things up on the field on both sides of the ball.

NFL Betting Verdict
As it is, the game hangs on a -5.5 to -6 spread with the Lions to the good at home. It's easy to understand why the Lions are nearly touchdown favorites at home. The way they blitzed Andrew Luck and the Colts on the road was no mean feat and down to the solid play of Matthew Stafford. Indeed, since Bob Cooter took over Stafford has been a revelation, playing the kind of football many wished he'd play but didn't over his career in Detroit. It's not a one-off that they are 7-2 SU since coming out of the bye last season.

However, the Titans defense could give Stafford a bit more headaches than the Colts defense, which everybody knows is the huge weakness for Indianapolis. And if the Titans tidy up on the offensive side of the ball – offer up fewer cheap points through turnovers, which is possible seeing as Detroit's defense is nowhere near the formidable Vikings defense – then we might have a close ball game than the NFL odds would suggest. That makes laying the points with the Lions worth a rethink.

Push comes to shove, we're backing the Lions to win straight up at -235 for one of NFL week 2 predictions , which is the best current price available with Pinnacle, and, at the same time, backing the Titans to cover as the +6 (-115) road underdogs, which is a price available at Bookmaker.

Free NFL Picks: Lions -235 & Titans +6 -115
Best Line Offered: Lions -235 at Pinnacle & Titans +6 -115 at Bookmaker

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