Originally posted on Football Nation  |  Last updated 9/20/12

This week, the Detroit Lions head to Nashville to take on the 0-2 Titans. The Lions are coming off a tough loss to the 49ers, and Matthew Stafford needs to step up his performance against a Titans team ranked 20th against the pass.

The Titans, however, have had more than one tough game. Their first two weeks have been a struggle, as the offense has failed to move the ball and the defense has allowed more than 400 yards per game.

I've got three bold predictions for what we'll see in this game.

 Mikel Leshoure Becomes A Top Fantasy Pickup

Mike Leshoure entered the league to excessive hype. I'll admit to stashing him on my bench in several fantasy leagues last year, so my sleeper hopes were dashed when he was lost for the year to a blown Achilles tendon. Now back and healthy (we presume), Leshoure has finished his two-game suspension and is ready to roll. Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press wrote that "Leshoure is expected to play a significant role in the game."

Leshoure took the second handoff in practice Wednesday, so my guess is that he'll be splitting time with Kevin Smith in the Lions' backfield. Even if Leshoure and Smith swap carries Sunday, expect the coaching staff to get Leshoure involved. Smith isn't a team favorite (having once been cut by the team, and only brought back because of injuries), and he's only gained 57.5 yards per game so far.

Reports have said the Lions are looking into free agent running backs including Ryan Grant, which suggests the team isn't thrilled with their options. Here's my first bold prediction: this week the Lions find a stud in Mikel Leshoure, who becomes a top fantasy waiver pickup after Sunday's game, and the team stops looking at free agent running backs.

Jake Locker Gives Way to Matt Hasselbeck

Second-year quarterback Jake Locker hasn't looked good so far. (He's not alone, as the entire Titans offense has struggled to move the ball.) The Lions' defense hasn't recorded an interception yet, but they have sacked the quarterback seven times in two games. Locker will be pressured early and often, and the Lions will give the young quarterback all he can handle.

This year, Locker has struggled in the first half, completing 57.9% of his passes and throwing zero touchdowns and two interceptions. Although Locker's been better in the second half, I predict that the Lions won't let him get that far. Either Locker's injured left shoulder will act up or Locker will get pulled in favor of the veteran Matt Hasselbeck.

Chris Johnson Has His Season-Defining Game

Guess who leads the Titans in rushing yards. Just guess. No, it's not Chris Johnson. It's not even his backup, Javon Ringer. No, Jake Locker leads the team in rushing. He leads the team with 32 yards. Yes, you read that right. Thirty-two yards in two games, and he leads the team.

Chris Johnson has 21 yards on 19 carries, without a run longer than seven yards. By now Mike Munchak, the Titans' coach, has to be tired of telling the media that he will give Johnson another chance. The Lions are allowing 112.5 yards per game and 4.2 yards per carry, hardly a top-caliber squad. This is likely Johnson's last chance. This game will define Chris Johnson's season, one way or another.



MORE FROM YARDBARKER:
One Gotta Go: NFL Legends (and Jose Canseco!) Have No Love For Captain America
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

U.S. Soccer hands Solo six month suspension for Olympic comments

Report: Josh Gordon will be restricted free agent after 2016

Chargers release statement on Joey Bosa situation

Yoenis Cespedes says he will not opt out of Mets contract

Zach Johnson unloads on Olympic golf

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Drew Brees says players do not trust league office, Goodell

Lawsuit over Hall of Fame Game refiled after McAfee comments

Report: Griffin plans to re-sign with Clippers, won't be traded

Report: Wentz unlikely to see any playing time this season

Minnesota Wild names Prince’s ‘Let’s Go Crazy’ official goal song

Gabby Douglas joining judges for Miss America pageant

One Gotta Go: NFL legends bring the hate for our favorite football movies

Hard not to be cynical about LeBron's 'Cleveland Hustles'

Familiar faces that won't be seen in the NFL this year

24 quintessential moments of Kobe Bryant's career

Revisiting the 10 biggest mistakes of the NFL offseason

One Gotta Go: NFL legends (and Jose Canseco!) have no love for Captain America

Four WNBA teams to pay attention to post-Olympic break

Madden 17 shows how vital a fresh coat of paint can be

Why people just can't get behind the Washington Nationals

Washington's Josh Norman speaks candidly about multiple NFL talking points

Derrick Rose: Knicks have chance to win every game

Ranking the MLB divisional races

All Sports News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

One Gotta Go: NFL legends bring the hate for our favorite football movies

Hard not to be cynical about LeBron James' 'Cleveland Hustles'

Ranking the uniforms of the NFL from worst to best

Familiar faces that won't be seen in the NFL this year

24 quintessential moments of Kobe Bryant's career

One Gotta Go: NFL legends (and Jose Canseco!) have no love for Captain America

Four WNBA teams to pay attention to post-Olympic break

Madden 17 shows how vital a fresh coat of paint can be

Why people just can't get behind the Washington Nationals

QUIZ: Name every player to win a championship with Kobe Bryant

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker