Week 15 sends Detroit Lions to Tennessee to face Titans

LEFT: Matthew Stafford #9 of the Detroit Lions looks to pass against the Green Bay Packers during the second half at Ford Field on December 13, 2020 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Nic Antaya/Getty Images) RIGHT: Derrick Henry #22 of the Tennessee Ti

It is the time of the year when all of the aches and pains seem to be amplified by a team’s place in the standings.For the Detroit Lions, their 5-8 record and faded playoff hopes to amplify every little ding feel a lot more painful. For the Tennessee Titans, the momentum of chasing down the AFC South title makes some of the injuries take a back seat.

Two teams going in opposite directions will square up on Sunday at Nissan Stadium (1 p.m., CBS) as Tennessee tries to close in on the division crown while Detroit looks to play spoiler as they play out the string.

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The sports betting information

On FoxBet.com Sportsbook, the Titans are 11 point favorites on Sunday with a money line of minus-550. (A $550 bet is needed to win $100.) The Lions are at +425 on the money line. (A $100 bet would win you $425.) The over/under number is 51 1/2 points.

Both the Lions and Titans are 6-7 against the spread. Both teams are good bets on going over- the Titans are 9-3-1 on the over, tied with Las Vegas for best in the league heading into Week 15. The Lions are 8-5 going over the number.

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The history

The series isn’t steeped in history because of the cross conference nature, but the Titans have dominated the matchup. Tennessee is 9-3 all time against Detroit, including games when the franchise was in Houston. Detroit hasn’t won a game between the two dating back to 1995 when the Titans were known as the Houston Oilers.

The last matchup between the two teams was in 2016, which saw the Titans score twice in the fourth quarter on Marcus Mariota touchdown passes to post a 16-15 victory over Detroit at Ford Field. Matt Stafford was sacked four times that day.

The storylines to watch

Tennessee continues to be that sneaky good team that nobody really wants to play in the post-season. They can clinch a third playoff berth in four seasons with a win and some outside help. Derrick Henry’s quest continues to become the non-quarterback MVP since Minnesota’s Adrian Peterson – now the Lions running back – did it back in 2012. Henry rushed for 215 yards last week in a 31-10 victory over Jacksonville and now has 1,532 yards on the season – putting him within striking distance of the magical 2,000 yard mark for the season. The Titans’ 30.0 points a game is fourth best in the league behind Green Bay (31.5), Kansas City (31.0) and Seattle (30.2).

The Lions could be without Stafford this week. The veteran quarterback suffered a rib injury in the fourth quarter of a 31-24 loss to the Packers last Sunday. If Stafford can’t go- and he couldn't practice on Wednesday- Chase Daniel will end up getting the nod at quarterback for Detroit, who also could be without starting center Frank Ragnow after he fractured his throat during Sunday’s game. The worst news is the Lions defense is Detroit’s run defense is the fourth worst in the league, averaging 132.8 yards per game yielded on the ground. The only teams behind Detroit against the run are bottom feeders Jacksonville, Houston and Dallas.

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