July 28, 2012; Allen Park, MI, USA; Detroit Lions defensive end Kyle Vanden Bosch (93) talks with head coach Jim Schwartz (left) during training camp at the Detroit Lions training facility. Mandatory Credit: Tim Fuller-US PRESSWIRE

Detroit Lions vs. Tennessee Titans: Five Things to Watch


1. Mikel Leshoure – The Lions offensive backfield regains some depth with the return of Mikel Leshoure from suspension. How much they try to use the ground game as a key offensive strategy like they did a week ago remains to be seen but having Leshoure back has to help in any regard. How heavily will the Lions depend on Leshoure in his first regular season game? How effective will he be after only seeing two preseason defenses then sitting for two weeks?

2. Titus Young – It can be argued that the Lions offense won’t take off until Titus Young starts to show up. He has just two catches through two games and has looked disengaged at times. Add in the opening week headbutt and it is obvious that questions over Titus Young’s maturity are still valid. Will a rough first two weeks set his mind straight or send him in a tailspin?

3. Titans Running Game – Chris Johnson averaged over 125 yards per game on his way to a 2,000 yard season in 2009. Since then his per game average has dropped from 85 in 2010 to 65 last season to just 10 yards per game so far this season. His declining performance is a major concern to Titans fans, as evidenced by my Q&A with Titans blogger Justin Stewart. The Titans don’t have game-changing players like they once did. Johnson was described as such at one point but that is quickly becoming a distant memory. The Titans need a bounce-back day from the former All-Pro if they are to challenge the Lions. Is he still capable of doing so?

4. Officiating – The replacement officials did a passable job in week one but took a lot of heat in week two. Whether or not they have had an impact on a game’s outcome can be debated. What can’t be debated is that they have had an impact on the way a game unfolds. Lions fans need no more examples than when game and play clocks hit zero in San Francisco without a whistle to be heard. Will the downward trend continue?

5. Happy Homecoming – Sunday marks the return to Tennessee for Jim Schwartz, Kyle Vanden Bosch and Stephen Tulloch – all of whom played key roles for the Titans organization directly before coming to Detroit. In the end, it is all about getting the win in any week but this week’s win could be all the sweeter for these three who have seen their former team and current team head in opposite directions since they made the switch. Will they get it?

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